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6 indoor plants you can't kill

Kira O'Sullivan
29 May 2020
4 minute read

Woman tending to indoor plants

Being at home more means that you have no excuse for letting your green friends go to seed. It’s a real opportunity to cultivate an indoor Shangri-la - and why not? Plants are natural mood boosters after all, which in turn is linked to increased productivity.

Although it’s unclear whether or not a few houseplants really make a difference to the quality of your indoor air, they definitely add character to a room and, quite literally, life. So, if you’re put off by memories of mouldy orchids or shrivelled ferns from years gone by - or simply want some low-maintenance company - this list is for you. We’ve carefully curated six indoor plants that are very difficult to kill.

Disclaimer: no plant is immortal. Plants are living things, so the six listed below aren’t totally risk-free (and we don’t insure them). But if you’re new to plant keeping or have a poor track record, they’re probably your best bet.

Potted aloe vera

Aloe vera

True to its medicinal use as nature’s aftersun, it’s a pretty chill plant. The aloe vera requires surprisingly little upkeep and is happy in a wide range of temperatures - between 13 and 27°C, which means that it’ll probably always feel comfortable in your home. Just be sure to put it somewhere that gets a fair amount of sunlight, or its leaves will start to droop. It only needs watering every three weeks or so, and even less often during colder months. With 400 species to choose from, you could have a different one in every room. What are you waiting for?

Potted cacti

Cacti

Not a specific plant as such, but any plant from the around 2,000-strong Cactaceae family. They come in a wonderful array of shapes, sizes and colours and if you’re someone who regularly forgets to feed themselves, a cactus might be a good plant companion. They’re native to deserts, which means they require very little water, but plenty of sunlight. However, your responsibilities don’t end here. Cacti do require some watering, particularly during their growing season which typically runs during warmer months, from Spring to Autumn, during which you will probably need to water your plant on a weekly basis - but make sure you don't drown it!

Kentia palm in living room

Kentia palm

Bring a little glamour into your home with this timelessly stylish palm. Known by botanists as Howea forsteriana, it comes from Lord Howe Island, a tiny World Heritage-listed subtropical island in the Tasman sea, 600 miles east off the coast of New South Wales. Water your Kentia weekly during summer, but be sure to provide adequate drainage - it doesn't like sitting in stagnant water. Less is more when it comes to this palm, so a few dry spells will be tolerated better than overzealous watering. The Kentia can grow up to 12 metres, but beware, it’s a slow grower. If you’re seeking a larger-than-life feature piece, it’s best to buy a large plant to start with, or you could be waiting years.

Peacock plant

Peacock plant

The first of our animal named suggestions, the Calathea Makoyana or peacock plant, is the perfect desk buddy or coffee table plant. It can grow up to about 60cm if well cared for, so you don't need to worry about it needing repotting. However, the peacock is slightly higher maintenance than the others on this list, as it has a real thirst for humidity. Unless you have a particularly humid spot in your home - perhaps a bathroom - you may need to invest in a humidifier or at least strategically place a few bowls of water around it.

Snake plant

Snake plant

Native to tropical parts of West Africa, the snake plant, or Sansevieria, comes in a range of varieties and sizes - from 20cm to over 3.5 metres tall - and features strikingly sharp, straight leaves. Its other names, ‘mother-in-law’s tongue‘ and ‘Saint George’s sword’ provide clearer visual clues. It’s a smart looking plant and is one of the lowest maintenance indoor plants you can get. It prefers indirect sunlight and is able to survive for weeks, completely neglected. Having said that, it's a good idea to give your snake plant a sprinkle of water every few weeks.

Spider plant

Spider plant

Like its eight-legged namesake, this South African export, the Chlorophytum is a true survivor. Its versatility and hardiness make it one of the most popular houseplants. You can have some fun with its presentation, as whether you decide to keep yours in a hanging basket or cascading down a bookshelf, it'll probably be happy. And as a bonus, if you do have outdoor space, you can move yours outside in summer. It likes water, and grows quickly when sporadically tended to, but probably won’t die if you forget about it for a month or so...

Tried them all, or simply want something a little more colourful and low (no) maintenance? Artificial plants are a risk-free option and don’t necessarily deserve the bad rap they often get. They’ve been around for over thousands of years, beginning with the art form of luxurious silk flowers in China and like all man-made creations, come in broad range of materials, quality and prices.

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