13 Gorgeous Plants You Basically Can't Kill
Even if you're not a gifted gardener, easy-to-care-for plants can brighten up any space in an instant.
After months stuck indoors, your space could likely use some brightening up—and there's no easier way to hit the reset button on virtually any room, windowsill, or terrace than by incorporating a few plants into the mix. However, you don't have to be blessed with a green thumb to completely rejuvenate your space with some greenery. With the help of expert horticulturists, botanists, and farmers, we've rounded up 13 easy plants that'll breathe new life into your home or garden—no serious TLC required. And if you want to spruce up your outdoor space, check out The Single Best Tip for Getting a Perfect Lawn, According to a Landscaper.
Monstera deliciosa—colloquially known as "The Swiss Cheese Plant"—is beautiful, easy to grow, and can happily live in a wide variety of climates. This vibrant plant only requires watering once a week, but will grow sizably with just a bit of care, according to horticulturist and botanist Andrew Gaumond, director of content at Petal Republic.
"One of the main considerations with Monstera plants is to ensure you have sufficient space, as the plant will grow up as well as out as it matures," explains Gaumond, who notes that you may see as much as 28 inches of growth per year. Other than weekly waterings, Gaumond suggests feeding the plant with all-purpose fertilizer in spring or summer, and moving the plant periodically to ensure it's getting adequate light.
Not the outdoorsy type? Liven up your interiors with a rubber fig instead. Gaumond recommends placing your rubber fig near a south-facing window so that it gets enough sunlight. You should also water the plant every 7 to 10 days, making sure that the soil has dried completely between waterings.
However, Gaumond notes that rubber figs like humid environments, so if you don't have a greenhouse (or don't fancy growing it in your bathroom), "spray the plant liberally with a water mist every couple of weeks or use a damp cloth to gently massage the leaves."
Bright, easy to care for, and comfortable in a wide range of light conditions, the snake plant is so easy to grow you can practically pot it and forget about it. Gaumond notes that it's best suited for indirect light, and seeing as it's "somewhat drought-resistant," snake plants only require watering every few weeks—only once the soil the plant's in has dried completely.
However, Gaumond does suggest adding natural indoor plant fertilizer in spring and summer. Also, be sure to keep your snake plant far from the reach of kids or pets, as it can be somewhat toxic to humans and animals if ingested. And for more great information delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Want to bring home a stunning plant that will look like you took a ton of time to cultivate it? Look no further than the bamboo palm. Tolerant to "all manner of neglect," Gaumond says that bamboo palms can tolerate most light conditions, but notes that they tend to grow faster in direct light. Unlike the previous plants on the list, a bamboo palm "loves consistent moisture in the soil, so check once it's approximately 50 percent dry," Gaumond recommends. If you see water running into the saucer underneath the plant, you've given it enough to drink.
If you want your palm to really thrive, he also suggests adding some diluted fertilizer to your pot in the spring and summer, too.
Think all cactuses look the same? Think again. This fruit-bearing succulent can add a pop of color to any space, but won't require much maintenance in the long run—you only have to water it every few weeks, once its soil has dried completely.
"A prickly pear is perfect for the person who wishes to add a bit of green to their home with limited time to care for plants. It's easy to care for and is drought-tolerant," explains horticulture and floriculture expert Joyce Mast, who serves as Bloomscape's Plant Mom. And for the greenery best left outdoors, check out these 30 Plants You Should Never Bring into Your Home.
The philodendron brasil is a great way to infuse your home with some bright greenery. It's perfect for a room with indirect sunlight, but if you don't have a sunny spot for it, worry not. "This plant is a great option for any situation and will adapt to nearly all light conditions," says Mast. Water your philodendron once the top half of its soil has dried out, and make note of the color of its leaves—brown leaves are an indication of under-watering, while yellow ones mean that it's had too much to drink, according to Bloomscape.
Just because you travel frequently doesn't mean you need to ditch your dream of a home full of gorgeous plants. The ponytail palm grows slowly, is drought-tolerant, and is generally happy left to its own devices, says Mast. "It only needs watering every couple of weeks—its bulb-like trunk stores water—[and watered] sparingly in the winter months, and can be left alone to soak up the sunlight," she explains.
Brown Turkey Fig
Fruit-bearing plants don't always require vigilant care. Case in point: The brown turkey fig produces delicious fruit each summer, but you don't have to spend hours every week nurturing its growth. Even if you don't have a garden, you can grow one of these inside! The brown turkey fig adapts well to life in a pot—just water it twice a week until it's mature.
"It is drought-tolerant, can thrive in a variety of planting sites, and has excellent cold hardiness," explains Nikki McAtee, marketing director at My Perfect Plants. And if you want to ensure the health of your garden, check out these 9 Natural Weed Killers That Actually Work.
Whether you're just looking to grow a gorgeous windowsill garden to gaze at or want to create a self-sustaining garden for food, basil is one of the easiest plants to grow. "Herbs are weeds, so they grow amazingly well in most conditions," explains gardener Alan Vojtech of King's Garden Texas. While Vojtech notes that you can buy a fully-grown basil plant at many nurseries, it's also easy enough to grow with just few seeds. "Worst case, you can always buy a basil plant with roots at the grocery store and just plop it into soil," he says. Water it every other day and in no time, you'll have a gorgeous herb plant!
Filling your home with gorgeous flowers you grew yourself may sound like a pipe dream for anyone without much of a green thumb, but all it actually takes is planting a few zinnias in your garden. "Zinnias are a super easy flower to grow," says Vojtech. "It's a great starter flower for gardeners to get the feel of things before tackling harder flower types."
Plant your zinnias in warm weather, giving them at least a few inches of space on either side, and water them a few times each week so that their soil remains damp.
Nicotania yield pretty white flowers with a beautiful fragrance, and can brighten up any garden in a hurry. "Once you plant this, you'll find more plants around your property in no time," says Vojtech, noting that the plant's large number of seeds means it often spreads quickly. Just plant it somewhere sunny, keep its soil moist, and breathe in its beauty!
Zamioculcas zamiifolia, better known as the ZZ plant, is so easy to take care of, even a toddler could do it. "It's native to Central Africa and has evolved to survive long periods of drought so it doesn't need much watering and it doesn't even need too much daylight," explains gardener Ash Read, founder of Living Cozy.
Read explains that you only need to water a ZZ plant once the top few inches of its soil have dried out, but "if you forget, it's not the end of the world."
If you've been avoiding grocery shopping in person lately, you're not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of easy-to-care-for greens you can plant and enjoy even if you've never so much as planted a seedling before. Kale—as well as Swiss chard and collard greens—is simple to grow in virtually any garden. "We call them 'cut and come again' crops," explain Tripp and Carmen Eldridge, small-scale farming experts and farm directors at Arden, South Florida's first agrihood community.
Keep the soil damp, cut the leaves when you're ready for salad, and you're good to go. Kale might even add some aesthetic whimsy to your outdoor space. "As you keep cutting off leaves, their stalk starts showing off fun, weird shapes that look like Dr. Seuss trees," according to the Eldridges. And for gift ideas for yourself or the other gardeners in your life, check out 15 Brilliant Buys for Plant Lovers in 2020.