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5 Easy Foolproof Houseplants That Won't Die

By Edited Jul 5, 2016 6 28

Jade Plant - Easy Care Houseplant
If you are looking for some easy foolproof houseplants that won't die and a simple way to add real houseplants to your home but you don't want to work too hard, here are five great plants to start with.

In order to make this list, these houseplants had to be simple. By that I mean next to no special lighting or watering requirements and tolerable of a little abuse. Also, to keep it simple, I'll tell you their common name and skip the scientific name here. We'll leave that for the botanists.

I remember as a kid that we'd have to line up a neighbor to water the houseplants when we went on vacation because keeping up with them was a weekly chore. Most everyone likes the look of a real plant in their home, but some of us just need to be free from any real work to get it.

Have no fear. These houseplants will add beauty to your home but work on your schedule. You'll notice I left off the cactus. Unless you have a sunroom I'd skip them. While they look really cool and I do love them, they don't tend to make a room feel cozy the way a green plant can.

Snake Plant

My number one houseplant for easy care has to be the snake plant. This plant would be fine if you shut it in a closet for a week. You may have also heard the term mother-in-law's plant or mother-in-law's tongue.  That's the same thing.

Snake Plant is Hard to Kill
The snake plant is a succulent that grows upright by sending multiple very strong leaves up to the ceiling that look kind of like big swords, except they are green and often have yellow or white variegation or stripes along the edges.

This is a great looking houseplant and one of the best things about it is the growing habit. You can keep the width of this plant in check because of its upright growing habit so it will sit neatly in a corner of the room. The other great thing is that it requires very little light. I have successfully grown this in my foyer there I have a tiny window near the door as the only natural light in the area. No problem.

To care for this plant, water it only when you feel like it. Too little water is better than too much. Once it's dry as a bone throw some more water in, but not too much. Treat it like a cactus and you'll be fine. Wash the leaves once in a while to make it shine and you're good to go.

Futura Snake Plant, Mother-In-Law's Tongue - Sanseveria - 4" Pot
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There's a reason the snake plant is #1 on many lists of plants that are hard to kill. This one just keeps going.


Naturally the Philodendron has to be on the list. If you don't know this houseplant by name I'll bet you know it by appearance. It is the heart-shaped trailing plant that you will find in most any office, mall, store, or home, except yours perhaps.

Like the snake plant, this plant requires very little when it comes to habitat. Anything from low light to plenty of light and the Philodendron will be fine, though from my experience a medium amount of light will make it a little happier.

You will find the typical Philodendron in a store as a rather compact but trailing plant but, beware, it will continue to grow and grow and grow if you let it. When I was a kid I had a neighbor who had a Philodendron in the living room that circled the entire room near the ceiling all the way back to the source. I don't know how long that took, but it was cool.

To keep this plant happy, just water and feed once in a while and avoid over watering. In fact, let the soil get dry between watering and you'll have no worries. 

One note on the Philodendron - it is poisonous. That shouldn't concern you much unless you have very small children or pets who might like to eat it. If so, reconsider or put it up high where it is safe from being eaten.

Jade Plant

Tough Houseplants: Jade Plant
Now I told you I was skipping the cactus but, if you want to water about as infrequently, the jade plant may be for you. This is a succulent that is extremely forgiving when it comes to water.

Unlike a cactus, the jade plant looks like a plant and has rubbery looking "leaves" that are green and very clean looking. In fact, I bet if you've seen this plant around you've reached out and touched the leaves out of curiosity.

To keep this plant happy all you need to do is offer it plenty of light without extreme heat and water it when you feel like it. You can over water, but it's pretty hard to underwater this guy.

The shape and texture of the jade plant is a nice addition to most any room. If you have this around for several years, it can get quite big, so go ahead and get used to it.

Cast Iron Plant

The name says it all. This plant can take some neglect and really will wear like iron.

The cast iron plant is a slow grower that will fill a small space with green. If you get a small one it works on a table. Larger ones can sit on the floor, but this won't get big quick so get a size you like. I like these of medium size in a pot on the ground.

The best thing about the cast iron plant is that it is native to full shade, so it won't ask for much more in your house, although it doesn't mind some indirect light. In fact, a sunny window might be a bad idea for this plant. 

For water, it just needs water once in a while once it dries out, so you won't have to stress out about marking this on your calendar.

Peace Lily

Ah, the peace lily. You know, the one that sends up those little white cupped "flowers" that last for what seems like weeks. This is another popular plant in an office setting.

Peace Lily Easy Houseplant
I have grown these for years and, although I'd say this is the most finicky of the five houseplants that I have suggested here, it is still quite easy. The most common problem is that the leaf tips become a little brown but, if they do, just snip them off and another will be along shortly.

The peace lily likes to be watered a bit more routinely but it will tell you right away when it's thirsty which makes it a good plant in my book. If you forget for too long the plant's leaves will droop when it's time for water. Sure, it would be better to get to it before that, but it won't die.

My sister had a peace lily growing in a clear vase with a beta fish swimming around under it for years. Apparently this is rather common and it did look really decorative. The lily grew with no soil whatsoever. Instead the roots just hung in the water and the fish swam around keeping the bowl clean. If you go this route, all you need is to add a little fish food once in a while and you're set.

Now You're Ready

Well, there you have it. Pick one, or more, and add a little nature to your home. But before you do, here are just a couple of tips:

  • Don't Over Water - For most houseplants, too much water is worse than not enough. Make sure that water can drain out the bottom of your pot and that you don't water too often. Root rot can get to these plants if you water too much.
  • Feed - I know I said you can't kill these plants but you want them to look nice don't you? Just give them a little plant fertilizer once a month or so and they will be much happier with the rest of the neglect they get from you.
  • Remember Toxicity - Many tropical looking houseplants are poisonous, either mildly or more. If you have kids or critters that would make a houseplant their lunch, consider the site carefully.
  • Wash Their Faces - Imagine if you didn't take a shower for a month at a time. Yikes. Any houseplant will look better and be healthier if you give the leaves a quick wash once in a while.

Good luck! Now you know 5 different foolproof houseplants that won't die.



May 4, 2011 7:06pm
Very informative article on houseplants. I am a pretty good outdoor gardener, but I kill everything inside. I OVER WATER them. They have some items now that will help you determine when to water houseplants. I may try again. Thanks for sharing.
May 5, 2011 8:31pm
I'm like you and I've done well with these. Good luck!
May 5, 2011 6:47pm
I really needed this article...how cool to run into it today....Thank you.
May 5, 2011 8:32pm
And how cool to have it featured today. Glad you enjoyed it.
May 5, 2011 6:53pm
Now I don't have an excuse to not have a houseplant, and I kinda want one.
May 5, 2011 8:32pm
Maybe "kinda" is a key word here. Go ahead, try one out.
May 7, 2011 3:21pm
Nice tips. Congratz on the feature.
May 12, 2011 12:44pm
Good article, nice feature too by the way. Flagged the spam for you too.
May 12, 2011 2:51pm
Thanks Lynsuz.
May 12, 2011 7:16pm
Good article! I don't have much of a green thumb with house plant that flower. If I receive a flowering plant, once the blooms are gone it never blooms again. I remember my grandmother had some of the plants in your article. I will have to get a couple.

Thanks for the information!
May 12, 2011 11:07pm
Darlene, I really think you can make the peace lily re-bloom. It is the most picky of the 5 but still easy. All it needs is to be re-potted every couple years and some fertilizer once in a while and you'll get a bloom or two.
May 15, 2011 4:29am
I have a peace lilly, a gift from more than 10 years ago but it's never bloomed. It doesn't seem to grow much so I've not re-potted it. I'm going to try that and see what happens.

Great article - thanks
Sep 28, 2011 5:19pm
Do let us know how it goes. If you re-pot it either into a bigger pot or cut it down and re-pot it in the same pot with fresh soil and add just a bit of fertilizer you should get blooms.
May 15, 2011 2:17pm
I am sure if you tried hard enough you could have one of these plants die. I am the opposite of green fingered so I think it is possible.
May 15, 2011 8:15pm
Very interesting. I actually have no house plants right now, because they are ALL DEAD! If anyone can kill one of these 5 plants, it will be my wife. I'll let you know...
May 16, 2011 10:21am
Great information on houseplants that I can't kill! I'll have to pick one up and give it a try!
May 16, 2011 8:53pm
Give me something to grow, and I promise I can kill it. Maybe with these tips I can get something to grow. Thanks!
May 18, 2011 2:39pm
Nice to know there are some plants out there I can't kill easily. In the past the only plant I could get to grow was a swedish ivy.
May 19, 2011 7:56am
Never heard of most of these plants, thanks heaps! Just finished my outdoor herb garden, time to decorate inside!
May 21, 2011 8:49pm
At some point in time, I have had all of these plant with the exception of the Cast Iron Plan. I am usually very good with houseplants, but managed to off a few. :) Great article.
May 30, 2011 6:36am
Great article. All my indoor plants except for the Aloe have died. Have to find me some of these and see what happens. Thanks for the info.
May 30, 2011 12:21pm
Silk....is my way.
May 31, 2011 7:10pm
Oh boy did I need this information! I do not have a green thumb. I've even killed a cactus that my father in law brought me from AZ one year. Needless to say, I will have to try some of these plants. Thanks for an infromative article.
Sep 28, 2011 5:22pm
I have also killed a cactus so don't feel bad. I admit I neglected it completely for months. These plants are tough but they do need SOME water.
May 31, 2011 7:50pm
Thanks for the idea. I might try the peace lily. It would be nice to have a plant that flowered.
Sep 28, 2011 5:22pm
The peace lily is one of my favorites but you do have to pull out a leaf once in a while if they get brown. It's no big deal though as others will fill in quickly.
Nov 5, 2011 2:30am
Great list of forgiving house plants. I think live plants add a homey feel to a house--that is as long as they aren't brown sticks.
Nov 5, 2011 8:46am
Thanks! I agree, plants add a nice touch to a room, but I have seen a few that looked pretty sad. For me, it's easier to stick with the easy houseplants.
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