Some houseplants only need occasional water and survive perfectly well in dark rooms. Even if you have managed to kill every plant in your home, there is still hope. These tough customers seem to thrive on neglect and are almost impossible to kill.
You can kill even hardy houseplants by leaving them in a dish of water or in a cold draught. Water your houseplants only when the top inch of their soil is completely dry. Provide enough water to thoroughly moisten all their compost and let any excess water drain away. For faster growth feed them with liquid houseplant fertilizer during the summer.
1. ZZ Plant
ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) are the toughest of all the houseplants thanks to their waxy leaves and underground tubers. They store up water in their tubers when it is available, and can last for months before needing any more. ZZ plants also grow happily in low light. Get your ZZ plant to produce new leaves by watering it every two weeks. Clean the leaves every month with a soft cloth to keep them shiny.
2. Snake Plant
The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is a succulent with erect, pointed leaves. It comes in several forms with either variegated or banded leaves. Snake plants are slow growing and happy in low light. They only need to be repotted when their roots split the pot. NASA recently discovered that snake plants filter noxious chemicals out of household air.
3. Cast Iron Plant
The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) got its name because it was the only plant that grew in dark Victorian homes full of fumes from coal fires. Some potted examples are over 100 years old. Cast iron plants produce broad, dark-green leaves from underground tubers. They only need dim light to survive and tolerate low temperatures. The Victorians used to water their cast iron plants with cold tea to encourage growth but liquid fertilizer, diluted by 50 percent, works just as well.
The pothos (Scindapsus aureus) is also known as devil’s ivy. It produces heart-shaped leaves with attractive golden or cream streaks and mottles. Pothos plants grow as a vine and thrive if they can climb up a moss pole or old branch. Water your pothos every week and it will grow for years. Climbing pothos plants grow leaves up to 3 feet across. The heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens) is another similar plant that also puts up with neglect.
5. Sword Brake Fern
The tiny sword brake fern (Pteris ensiformis) looks delicate and fragile but is the toughest of all the indoor ferns. It needs little light and is damaged by direct sunshine. The sword brake fern thrives in moist but not sodden soil and likes a humid room. Water it when the surface of its soil starts to dry out. Keep your sword brake fern on a dish of damp gravel in the bathroom and it will thrive.
There are many houseplants that don’t need a lot of care. Consider having one of the aforementioned plants to make your house more comfortable.