15 Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill

person in sunny kitchen displays three houseplants on wooden table

Treehugger / Allison Berler

Ask anyone who lives in a plant-free home and you'll hear a common refrain as to why: "Oh, I can't have plants. I'll just kill them." In some cases, it's a valid excuse, since many houseplants do require regular watering, attention, and a specific climate to thrive. But a few common plants are so easy to care for that they're nearly impossible to kill through neglect. These hardy plants can withstand drought, nearly constant shade, and weeks of inattention just fine, proving that anyone can enjoy some chlorophyll in their home. 

Here are 15 houseplants that can survive nearly anything.

Warning

Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

1
of 15

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

snake plant in squatty white pot gets watered by person with silver modern watering can

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The snake plant is a native of tropical West Africa with a striking appearance that makes it look more demanding than it is. While it prefers bright light, it can stand partial shade and doesn't require specific humidity levels. Snake plants can thrive in any part of the house. A member of the succulent family, it stores water in its thick leaves, and would rather be neglected than overwatered. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Medium, indirect light; tolerates sun and shade.
  • Water: Water regularly, allowing soil to dry well before re-watering.
  • Soil: Rich, well-draining potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
2
of 15

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

A small parlor palm growing in a pot.

lukestehr / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The parlor palm has long been a popular houseplant choice, and for good reason. This shade-tolerant native of Central and South America grows two to three feet tall at maturity, tolerates low light, and requires only infrequent watering. All this makes it a great choice for beginners or forgetful plant owners. Parlor palms are also sometimes called bamboo palms because of their bamboo-like stems, and they produce inedible fruits (though fruiting is rare indoors).

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Ideally moderate-bright indirect light, can tolerate low light; avoid direct sun.
  • Water: Important not to overwater; wait one or two weeks depending on plant location.
  • Soil: Peat-based potting mix; does not tolerate salt.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
3
of 15

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

large spider plant in metallic container in white tile bathroom

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The spider plant, also known as the ribbon plant, is a forgiving houseplant, especially when it comes to infrequent watering and artificial light. It grows well in pots or hanging baskets and is easily propagated by division, offering the option to grow more plants for the price of one. With distinctive light green stripes on its leaves and white, starlike flowers, it makes for a showy houseplant, even when it gets less attention than it deserves.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Water: When soil is dry; this is usually infrequently.
  • Soil: Well-drained, standard potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
4
of 15

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica ‘Decora')

shiny bright green rubber plant against matte white wall

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The rubber plant is a variety of fig tree that's a popular house and office plant. It's often overwatered, perhaps because its large, dark green leaves make it look like a jungle plant. It tolerates low light but is notorious for appreciating a stable location — being moved around often tends to stress the plant, which might be a blessing in disguise for less-attentive plant owners. It is worth regularly wiping down the leaves, though, as they can be a serious dust magnet. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Medium indirect light ideal.
  • Water: Allow soil to dry before watering, then soak roots thoroughly.
  • Soil: Well-draining, peat-based mix.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
5
of 15

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

A flowering Christmas cactus in a small brown pot in front of a window

Nadezhda Nesterova / Getty Images

The Christmas cactus gets its name from the showy flowers it produces in winter. Despite being a true cactus, this plant is a native of the rainforest, not the desert, and prefers more moisture than others of its kind. If you're up to the watering regimen, this is a rewarding houseplant that doesn't require much else. It prefers partial, indirect light and thrives in an average potting mix or cacti mix. To encourage more growth, plant it in a hanging container that allows its limbs to drape.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Water regularly, but allow soil to dry out somewhat in between.
  • Soil: Well-draining cacti mix.
  • Pet Safety: Non-toxic to dogs and cats.
6
of 15

Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

A close-up shot of striated yellow, pink, and green leaves
Roman_Makedonsky / Getty Images

The croton is a popular houseplant with colorful, variegated leaves that might give novice plant owners a scare when they first bring it home. Since it doesn't like to be moved, don't be surprised if it drops its leaves at first. Keep it well-watered, and they will bounce back without a problem. After that, it's easy to care for, especially if you can find a warm, sunny corner for this tropical, Southeast Asian native. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but let top soil dry out between waterings.
  • Soil: Rich, well-draining potting soil.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
7
of 15

Air Plant (Tillandsia spp.)

close up shot of mint green air plant on white marble background

Treehugger / Allison Berler

If you're looking for a real hands-off houseplant experience, look no further than the unique air plant, which requires no soil — and hardly any water. As an epiphyte, it collects the nutrients it needs from the air and can live indoors in glasses, on a bed of rocks, or even just sitting on a table. Unless you find a misty, humid place for it (like the bathroom), an air plant will still need to occasionally be misted or dunked in water to mimic its natural habitat. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Indirect light and shade.
  • Water: A humid environment and misting can replace watering.
  • Soil: Not needed.
  • Pet Safety: Nontoxic to cats and dogs.
8
of 15

Eternity Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia)

shot of single zz plant stem with shiny bright green leaves against wood floor

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The eternity plant really lives up to its name. It thrives in less than perfect conditions, outlasting poor plant care for what can seem like an eternity. It needs little water and low to medium light, and can exist happily even in rooms with mostly artificial lighting. It's still best to water it, but since it prefers its soil to dry completely between doses, this can be as little as once a month.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Indirect bright light is best; tolerates low light and direct light.
  • Water: When soil is completely dry (in some cases, as little as once monthly).
  • Soil: Well-draining potting soil.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
9
of 15

Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

A close up shot of vibrant plant leaves
Emilian Danaila / Getty Images

The corn plant is a hardy houseplant that can do well in shadier spots in your house. It tolerates inattention fairly well and is easy to monitor, as its leaf tips will start to brown if it needs more water. It's also a good choice as a large floor plant, since it can grow four to six feet tall at maturity. It grows slowly from canelike stalks that can be cut back to train the plant to the size you prefer. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Lower to medium indirect light, filtered sun.
  • Water: Keep soil moist but not soggy.
  • Soil: Rich, well draining potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
10
of 15

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos house plant with long trailing heart leaves against white tile background

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The golden pothos is a forgiving, vining plant that will happily grow in any room in your house with little input from its owner. It grows quickly, sometimes up to a foot in a single month, and can thrive even in artificial light situations. As a vine, it grows long, rather than tall, and its heart-shaped leaves can be trained onto shelves, or allowed to fall naturally. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light; can tolerate partial shade or artificial light.
  • Water: Allow to dry completely between watering; water thoroughly if leaves droop.
  • Soil: Ordinary potting mix that drains well.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
11
of 15

English Ivy (Hedera helix)

An ivy plant in front of a sunny window

Radi Bighian / Getty Images

English ivy is another popular vining species that grows easily in a variety of conditions. It prefers moist, shady conditions, and can even thrive in a bathroom. If you find that you like the look of English ivy, it's easily propagated by cutting, making it easy to multiply around the house. It's worth noting that it's also an aggressive invasive species in the United States, and shouldn't be grown outdoors or tossed in a compost pile.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Indirect light to mostly shade.
  • Water: Keep soil moist but ensure drainage. Spritz with a mister.
  • Soil: Regular, well-draining potting mix.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
12
of 15

Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)

A jade plant on a table in sunlight.

only_point_five / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

The jade plant is a large succulent with a woody stem that resembles a tree once it grows tall enough. Its thick, waxy leaves are excellent at retaining water, so it's usually easier to overwater it than leave it too dry. 

Though it can reach heights of five feet, it won't happen quickly. It grows slowly, and its heavy, fleshy leaves must be trimmed to promote vertical growth. As a bonus, trimming also reveals its unique trunk, which otherwise would be hidden by the thick foliage. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Water: Regular watering, but let top of soil dry completely between waterings.
  • Soil: Regular potting soil mixed with some sand.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
13
of 15

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

Flowering peace lily on a table in a white living room

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

The peace lily is known for being so easy to grow that it's a top recommendation as a gift for novice plant owners. It's an easy-growing plant that can grow to three feet in size and prefers partial sunlight or shady corners. If its leaves turn pale or begin to curl, it may be receiving too much sunlight. A tropical native, the peace lily does prefer high humidity. If that's an issue in your house, placing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles can help to mimic a more humid climate. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Filtered light; generally prefers shade or partial light.
  • Water: When soil is dry; roughly once a week.
  • Soil: Rich, loose potting soil with organic material.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.
14
of 15

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)

Close-up detail photo of flower wax plant or Hoya Carnosa

Elena Gureva / Getty Images

The wax plant is a slow-growing, vining species that makes an easy houseplant. It's popular for its attractive, waxy leaves and the wide range of conditions it will grow in without fuss. It produces star-shaped flowers in late spring and early summer, but must be well-tended in order to bloom — which can provide a fun challenge for a budding gardener. Ideally, it should be grown in a high-drainage potting mix with material like perlite and pumice to promote airflow. 

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full to partial indirect light.
  • Water: Medium with regular misting.
  • Soil: Prefers loose, well-draining soil that exposes the roots to some air.
  • Pet Safety: Non-toxic to dogs and cats.
15
of 15

Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)

spiky aloe plant in blue ceramic pot against white tile

Treehugger / Allison Berler

The aloe plant is a unique looking houseplant that thrives with little water. It's well known for its medicinal uses, like treating burns and cuts. A small cutting from your own aloe plant can be just as effective in this regard as a store-bought aloe gel. A member of the succulent family, it retains water in its thick leaves and prefers a sandy, dry soil. It does prefer direct sunlight, so it will likely grow best in the brightest window you can find.

Plant Care Tips

  • Light: Full sun.
  • Water: When the top two inches of soil are dry.
  • Soil: Sandy and well-drained.
  • Pet Safety: Toxic to cats and dogs.