The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Sophisticated Living: 6 (Basically) Impossible-To-Kill Houseplants

I’ve never had much of a green thumb. Living in a relatively small space combined with having a giant furry baby (cat) that will jump onto truly any surface to eat truly anything alive means my apartment does not scream “plant-friendly.” But I’ve also used those things as excuses not to keep plants, thinking, Oh, I’ll make time and room for them when I live somewhere bigger. In my mind, they’ve always seemed simply too big of an undertaking to be worth the time and effort — despite the many health benefits of houseplants, from purifying the air around you to boosting productivity.

But over the years, I’ve also come to accept a rather huge truth of adulthood: you can’t wait until you have the “perfect” conditions in order to start doing something. If you do, you’ll end up putting things off for forever. For me, this has never been truer than in decorating my apartment. My space is rented (read: temporary) and small compared to homes in the rest of the country (though very comfortable by New York standards). In the past, having a small, rented living space kept me from decorating any of it. But I knew moving into this place that we’d be here for a few years at least. I decided to plan ahead and get all of our decorating and DIYing in within the first week or two of moving, and I am so glad I did. It’s always going to be a work in progress, but it still feels finished, like an actual home for actual adults.

And as I’ve recently learned, from the few plants we keep in the TFD office, keeping plants alive is…not nearly as difficult as we all think it is. It can definitely be done in a small living space, too. I feel like essentially all of my friends have come to this realization at the same time. Chelsea has given several plants homes in her dining nook and home office, for instance. I visited a friend in D.C., who has possibly the busiest working life of anyone I know, and she somehow manages to keep about 17 plants alive at one time, all in her bedroom. I’ve realized that the trick to keeping plants is to treat it like a game — and to remember that I am a grown-ass person who can keep herself fed and active, and there’s no reason I can’t keep a houseplant from dying.

I’ll be sure to update everyone as we continue expanding our little oasis in the TFD office. In the meantime, here are a few nearly impossible-to-kill houseplants, and how to take care of them.

6 Easiest Plants To Take Care Of

1. Pothos

pothos plant
Image via Flickr

We have one of these in the TFD office, and I already feel like she can make it through anything. Even after missing a few days of watering, she perked right back up just a few hours after the situation was remedied. Pothos plants don’t need as much sunlight as others, and you only need to water them once the soil has dried out completely. Read a care guide here.

2. Jade succulent

jade succulent
Image via Flickr

I kept a few succulents in our kitchen after receiving them as a gift, and they thrived almost too much — they were getting so tall despite surviving on so little, and we just didn’t know what to do with them. Eventually, we gave them away, because we didn’t really want to deal with re-potting and all of that. But succulents are generally super easy, and I kind of wish we’d held onto them. Jade plants are a beautiful type of succulent and also need a lot less watering than many plants. You can even get them to bloom under the right conditions! Read a care guide here.

3. Peace lily

peace lily
Image via Flickr

Okay one caveat here: I have been accessory to the accidental murdering of a peace lily. So these are not impossible to kill. But! We were treating her all wrong — near a drafty window and not watering enough, most likely. She’s since been replaced and is completely thriving. Plus, it’s so nice to keep a houseplant that flowers! Make sure that your peace lily stays in a relatively warm room, and keep the soil slightly moist at all times. (This might even be a good candidate for watering globes, especially if you are gone for a significant length of time.) Read a care guide here.

4. Aloe

aloe plant
Image via Flickr

These are great plants to effortlessly give your home or office a tranquil spa atmosphere. Plus, they thrive in a wide range of temperatures — anywhere from 55 to 80 degrees F. And they only need to be watered every few weeks. Definitely a good entry point to becoming a full-blown houseplant lady! Read a care guide here.

5. Spider plant

spider plant
Image via Flickr

Besides succulents, these seem to be the most common plants owned by my small sample of female friends in their 20s and 30s. They tend to have a lot of personality, and even I, as someone who is decidedly not an active member of the plant community, know of them as one of the hard to kill plants. Like a lot of “easy” plants to care for, the trick for these seems to be not to overwater the soil — “root rot” is apparently very real! Read a care guide here.

6. Barrel cactus

barrel cactus
Image via Flickr

(Pictured above next to a Jade plant!) If you want to really get in on the ground floor of maintaining houseplants, just get a cactus. I’ve been in a lot of homes with houseplants in various states of distress, and I have never seen a dead cactus. Or even a cactus anywhere near death. Plus, barrel cacti are round and somehow very cute despite being covered in sharp needles. The trick is simply to use the right cactus soil and water very infrequently. Of course, these may not be ideal if you live in a very humid climate, but if the air inside your home is dry, I say go for it! Read a care guide here.

*****

Of course, I’m not a plant expert (yet!), so all of this comes from research and my very novice-level experience. If you have any other houseplant recommendations for beginners, be sure to share them in the comments! And for a little throwback, check out this happy little DIY garden from Chelsea and Lauren about three (!!) TFD offices ago 🙂

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