8 of the easiest houseplants to care for

jade plant
© Barb Elkin

Looking for indoor plants that are hard to kill? These green troopers are resilient and don't demand too much from their keepers.

Some plants are finicky; they need everything just so, and any deviation from just so results in death and doom; and nobody wants to kill their houseplants. Indoor plants offer their humans many (science-backed) benefits – from cleaning the air and helping health to boosting our focus and creativity. So even if you don't have the best track record with them or are unsure about the time and commitment involved, they are worth giving a shot. Here are some of my favorites that don't ask for too much in return.

1. ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

When I was shopping for one of my first houseplants ever, I asked the plant seller for something that I couldn't kill. She recommended a ZZ plant, and she was right – what a resilient plant! The ZZ can tolerate whatever you have to throw at it, including lack of natural light, low humidity, and drought (as in, forgetting to water for a month).

2. Air plants (Tillandsia)

Houseplants that don't require soil or a pot? How easy is that? Not only are air plants adorable – they are like little creatures – but scientists found that they can even clean the air of heavy metals. While the details of their care will vary depending on location and indoor environment, they basically require little more than good light and a weekly dunk in water.

3. Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plants are gorgeous, there's no two ways about it. They have the thick leaves of the succulent they are, yet with a more traditional houseplant shape – if that makes any sense. They are also super easy to care for. They don't need a giant pot, they only need a few hours of light a day, and they don't need frequent watering.

4. Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Also known as the more-Victorian-sounding "ballroom plant," Aspidistra are known as nearly indestructible. I like how The Spruce describes this stalwart beauty: "They are fairly undemanding and will survive through neglect that would easily kill a lesser plant. They will practically grow in the dark. They're excellent for those difficult to fill areas in deep shade and pet-friendly."

5. Aloe vera

An aloe plant is great to have on hand for its gel, which provides topical relief for burns and scrapes. Plus, it looks lovely! As a succulent, it likes a lot of sunlight, but is very durable and doesn't require a lot of fussy watering.

6. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

I am not sure what S. trifasciata did to get such a bad reputation, but just look at these aliases: mother-in-law's tongue and viper's bowstring? All the while, this lovely native of tropical West Africa is an air-cleaning dynamo and easy to care for. While it likes bright light, it will endure in lower light and can live in just about any room of the house. As for watering, a little accidental neglect will not kill it.

7. Potted herbs

Basil, cilantro, rosemary, mint, chives ... there is a lot to love about potted herbs in the kitchen. While they appreciate good light, good drainage, and all have specific watering likes, here is why I find them easy: They get a lot of attention. If you have herbs that you are frequently snipping from, you don't have to remind yourself to check in on them – you can assess them whenever you use them, and you will also really get to know each one.

8. Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

Lucky bamboo isn't really bamboo, though it looks like it ... despite the fact that it doesn't require soil. The first time I received a stalk of lucky bamboo I thought it was more akin to a cut flower, since it came in a vessel of water, and I kept waiting for it to fade. It never did, it just kept growing and growing and growing. As long as they don't fry in direct sun and have water, they are very easygoing plants to keep around.

For more on houseplant care and selection, see the related stories below.

8 of the easiest houseplants to care for
Looking for indoor plants that are hard to kill? These green troopers are resilient and don't demand too much from their keepers.

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