Want to fill your home with lovely, lush, good-mood greenery, but can’t help but kill every plant you ever get? The perfect houseplant is like the perfect boyfriend: pretty to look at, but low-maintenance – meaning it won’t throw a tanty if you forget to feed it. After all, we spend our days making money moves and working through to-do lists, so we want a plant that will forgive us if we’re lazy, not always home, or live in an apartment that doesn’t get a lot of light – or in the flipside, sears in the sun).
These plants are beautiful, and almost impossible to kill. So don your overalls (because we know you like to look the part), and potter down to the garden store to pick out your new baby. Then, do your worst!
If you love white flowers, get a peace lily. In the springtime, its dark, glossy leaves start to sprout pretty, curvy petals, so you’ll feel pretty smug about that. The plant comes in mini, medium and super sizes (all the way up to six feet tall), and it has a knack for surviving without much light or water. To keep it alive, pop it in a room that doesn’t get too warm or sunny, and touch the top of the soil with your finger every week or so. If it’s dry, water it. As a bonus, the peace lily is one of the best indoor plants for purifying air, and can even remove nasty chemicals like ammonia. Because no-one wants to be breathing in that.
Named for its slender stems, this plant doesn’t need much: just a light spritz when it gets dry, and a little fertiliser twice a year. Easy! It has clever roots that hold onto nutrients for a long time, so chances are, you’ll only have to water it once every two to six weeks. But here’s a cheat sheet for you: if the tips of the leaves are brown, it needs H20; if they’re black, you’re watering too much! Native to South Africa, the plant thrives in indirect sunlight, so it’s perfect for that room that never quite catches the sun. For Insta cred, put yours into a hanging planter – the leaves will curl nicely.
Forget low-maintenance: the award for the most brilliant name goes to the snake plant, which is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue. Burn, baby, burn. The plant is virtually indestructible: it blossoms in low-light areas, and only needs watering once a month. In fact, they can die from too much love. Seriously, if you overwater them, the roots will rot. With thick, textured, sword-shaped leaves and yellow ‘veins’, the plant is pretty striking – and those leaves hold onto water like a stage 5 clinger, so it’s great if you travel a lot or forget you own plants (#guilty). Oh, and it releases oxygen at night, so you’ll wake up breathing in squeaky-clean air. Mother-in-law’s tongue looks fab in a pot (check out this cute planter on Showpo), and we put ours on a windowsill or table.
If you have a dog or cat, steer clear of the snake plant or put it somewhere it can’t be reached. It’s toxic when ingested.
We’re obsessed with succulents. If you are too but have a raging black thumb, you’re in luck: they’re tough-as-nails, and all they ask for is a nice, sunny spot and a sprinkle of water once a week in spring and summer, and every month in autumn and winter. Besides that, you can basically abandon them. They actually prefer dry soil. Succulents come in an array of species, like cacti. They look amazing on their own, but even better in clusters, so grab a few small ones and plant them in a terrarium (or buy a pre-planted one, we won’t tell).
This lush plant is a bit of a romantic. It’s a ‘climber,’ so it trails down shelves, windowsills, hanging baskets and furniture for a really pretty effect. It’s also a super easy plant to take care of – all it needs is a bright yet cool room, and a little warm water when the soil gets dry. Beauty aside, English ivy is ace at removing toxins from the air, but at the same time, it’s poisonous if eaten by pets.
Dubbed the ‘money plant’ or ‘friendship tree,’ this succulent brings the good vibes. It almost looks like a little tree, with thick stems, glossy, oval-shaped leaves and teeny-tiny pink or white blooms. The jade plant grows slowly (we’re talking decades) and holds onto water well, so just spritz it when the soil is completely dry, and try not to over-water it. In feng shui, the jade plant is linked to good luck and prosperity. We’ll take two!
The wax plant, or hoya, is gorgeous – and you can get away with watering it every few weeks. Winning! It has rich green leaves, and as it grows, fragrant pink flowers pop up, though they may take their sweet time. If yours are taking forever to bloom, don’t give up! For the best results, put your wax plant in a sunlit spot or near a window, and somewhere high up so the leaves can trail below. We like a hanging basket.
Everyone loves a multi-tasker. Thanks to its long, pointy leaves, not only does this plant lift your interior design game, but if you get sunburnt, you can crack open one of its leaves and apply the gel to your skin. It’s also great for healing burns from, say, a straightener. You beauty! Just like us, aloe vera soaks up the sun, and only requires a spritz of water every two weeks, allowing the soil to fully dry in between. There are a few different types of aloe vera, including ones that climb to a metre tall, but we can’t go past a few individual pots dotting our windowsill.
For a jungle feel in your home, check out the rubber tree, an indoor plant that grows to a 2.5-metre tall tree. Hello, lush greenery! It does well in medium to bright light, and has shiny, big, dark green leaves that make a style statement. Pop yours in the corner of your lounge room or bedroom, water it every week or so, and wait for the compliments to roll in. If you live in a small space, that’s okay too: you can just trim it when it’s getting too unruly, and this will stop its growth.
Fittingly called the ‘dragon plant’, this tall, vibrant plant is marked by its spiky leaves with red stripes on the edges. To keep it alive, pot it and put it in a warm spot (like a sunny window), and water it when the soil starts to feel dry. And if you want to branch out, skip the standard green-and-red dracaena and get the ‘Warneckii’ variety, which has white, cream or gold stripes on its foliage.
Words by Katia Iervasi.