Home & Garden Garden 16 Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill By Stacy Tornio Writer University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee University of Oklahoma Tornio has authored more than 15 books about nature, gardening, and getting kids outside. our editorial process Stacy Tornio Updated May 21, 2020 You don't have to have a green thumb to get these plants to flourish in your home. Noom Peerapong/Shutterstock Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home & Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Insects You love plants, but you don't like a lot of maintenance and you secretly worry that you'll kill them. Does that sound about right? We have a solution. These plants are easy as can be while still providing the benefits you keep hearing about, like cleaning the air. While a study published in Nature has taken the shine off that much vaunted ability, there are still plenty of reasons to keep houseplants, including improved mental functioning. Besides, having living green things in your home is good for the soul, even if there isn't a scientific study that says so. One of the biggest mistakes people make with plants is overwatering, but that's an easy problem to solve. Just follow Tom Oder's helpful advice about houseplants, which includes watering advice, light advice and more. When buying houseplants, be sure to search by both common name (the first one on this list) and the botanical name (the second one) to make sure you're getting the right plant. We also listed the light needs for each, which is very important when it comes to houseplants. Snake Plant or Mother-In-Law's Tongue, Sansevieria trifasciata Commonly known as snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata also goes by the fun name mother-in-law's tongue. Ken Schulze/Shutterstock Light needs: Low The name alone is reason enough to grow this classic houseplant. Make sure you grow snake plant in the right size pot. Don't put it in a giant pot or confine it in something too small. Actually, that's a good rule of thumb to remember about all houseplants. Neanthe Bella Palm or Parlor Palm, Chamaedorea elegans Known as a parlor palm, Chamaedorea elegans can grow to several feet in height. lukestehr [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr Light needs: Low This is one of the most popular large houseplants, reaching a few feet tall at maturity. The leaves offer great texture and are bright green. If you're new to indoor plants but want something of a decent size, this one is the one for you. Spider Plant, Chlorophytum comosum The popular spider plant grows outdoors is some warm parts of the world. Ronnachai Palas/Shutterstock Light needs: Medium You'll see this plant growing outdoors in warmer climates, but for the rest of the country, it makes a reliable houseplant. It's native to South Africa and is very forgiving if you're the forgetful type when it comes to watering. Rubber Plant, Ficus elastica ‘Decora' The main issue people have with the ficus is watering it too much. Vasilyev/Shutterstock Light needs: Medium In its natural habitat outdoors, ficus trees can grow 50 feet high or more. One of the main issues people have with this plant is watering it too much — which causes the leaves to fall off. Start with a small rubber plant, and watch it grow several feet over the years. Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera bridgesii Pick your holiday. The Christmas cactus is also known as the Easter or Thanksgiving cactus. Hans Enderle [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr Light needs: High Also going by the name of Easter or Thanksgiving cactus, this plant is often passed down from one generation to the next. While the plant is known for having beautiful pink, orange, or white blooms around the holidays, many consider it difficult to rebloom in the following years. But don't be intimidated. The plant just needs uninterrupted dark periods (about 12 hours each night). If you start this treatment in fall, you'll have blooms just in time for Christmas. Even if you can't get the blooms going, it still offers great foliage. Croton, Codiaeum variegatum The croton's foliage is strikingly colorful. Paul Latham/Shutterstock Light needs: High You can't find a houseplant with more awesome foliage than this one. The leaves can be a combination of lime green, bright orange, fluorescent red and deep purple. When you first bring this plant home, it will likely drop lots of leaves. Don't fret. This is normal behavior. Continue giving your croton love, and it'll recover and have a long life. Air Plant, Tillandsia The lovely air plant doesn't need any soil. Piti Tan/Shutterstock Light needs: High If you've never heard of air plant before, get ready to be amazed. This plant is an epiphyte, which means it doesn't need soil at all — seriously! These are the plants you'll see in those floating glass containers or just sitting on top of a bed of feng shui rocks. You can even find them as a necklace! Care is simple: Just mist a couple of times a week. ZZ Plant (Eternity Plant), Zamioculcas Zamifolia The relatively new ZZ plant is hard to find but easy to grow. dugwy39/Shutterstock Light needs: Medium This plant is relatively new for the houseplant market and only came on the scene in the 1990s. If you can find the plant (it is starting to become more relatively available), you'll love it because it's so easy to care for. Dracaena, Dracaena With good drainage, the dracaena is easy to grow. Shebeko/Shutterstock Light needs: Medium If you've ever had houseplants, then there's a good chance you've grown a dracaena. You might not have even known that's what you were growing! These plants with strappy foliage need to have good drainage, but other than that, it's easy. Pothos, Epipremnum aureum The vining pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is easy to grow pretty much anywhere. Chayatorn Laorattanavech/Shutterstock Light needs: Medium This is a vining plant that truly grows anywhere. It's been around for a while and often gets overlooked, but it's so versatile. Plus, you don't have to worry about it getting diseases or having to repot it often. English Ivy, Hedera helix English ivy is easy to grow from just a small clipping. Cristina [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr Light needs: High Here's another vine that is a staple in the houseplant world. If you have a friend with an English ivy plant, you could take a cutting and try to root it in a pot. Be careful, though, since English ivy is an aggressive invasive species known for killing a variety of native trees and other plants when it escapes into the wild. So don't toss it outside into the compost pile when you are done. Jade Plant, Crassula argentea Also known as the money plant, the jade plant supposedly brings luck and fortune. fisher/Shutterstock Light needs: High This plant has been around for decades and is also known by its common name, money plant. This shouldn't be confused with the money tree houseplant, which goes by the botanical name of Pachira aquatica. The jade plant has thick leaves, and it's great for beginners. It also makes a great gift — many people say the money plant will bring you luck and wealth. Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum wallisii This popular houseplant is known for its white bloom-like bracts. kaidevil/Shutterstock Light needs: Low This is one of the most popular plants to give as a gift, and it's also one of the easiest houseplants to grow. It is known for the white "blooms." (They aren't actually blooms at all. They are called bracts, and they look like flowers.) The most common mistake with this plant is watering too much, so take it easy. Wax Plant, Hoya carnosa The wax plant produces cute, tiny flower blooms. Chad Zuber/Shutterstock Light needs: High This easy-to-grow plant is technically a vine, though it grows really slowly. It also produces adorable little star-shaped flowers. Both the flowers and the leaves are waxy. You can't go wrong with this one if you're just getting started. You'll have it for years! Boston Fern, Nephrolepsis exaltata The Boston fern needs low light, a cool place and high humidity. Stephen Orsillo/Shutterstock Light needs: Low The Boston fern has a reputation for being difficult, but that's not actually true. You just have to grow it in the right conditions. These ferns need a cool place, high humidity and indirect light. If you can meet these needs, then you'll definitely have success. Aloe, Aloe barbadensis Aloe plants may never flower, but they're fun and easy to grow. successo images/Shutterstock Light needs: High The aloe plant is part of the succulent family, and it's a lot of fun to grow. It can take years for aloe plants to mature and even longer to flower (if they ever do), but they sure are easy. This is also a fabulous plant to give as a gift.