I haven’t always had a green thumb. In all honesty, I still don’t. But I’m making progress.
One time, when I was still newish to Wyoming and still bacheloretting it up, one of my older and wiser friends casually asked if my hyper-ass dog Reagan tries to eat plants.
I responded: “I don’t know, I don’t have any plants.”
At which point, my friend enlightened me to the fact that I was living as some kind of plantless MONSTER (little did I know).
Ah, to be young and dumb.
But look at me now! All married, and mature, and owner of houseplants. I’m a regular old housewife. Or so I would have you think.
Not all of the plants that I’ve owned in my robust adult life have survived. BUT. Some have. They really do make a home feel more cozy, and they clean the air! So here are some of my tried-and-true, hard-to-kill favorites!
ZZ Plant (also seen as: Zeezee Plant – Full botanical name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia): This is the easiest care plant that I have. Requiring very little water and light, it actually does better if you forget about it (about the only way you will kill this plant is by over-watering). I water mine about every two weeks, but the large bulbous roots store water, allowing a ZZ to survive for a month or more with complete neglect. It’s also kind of exotic looking, making a nice statement plant. This would do well in a bathroom with low levels of natural light.
Aloe: Growing up, whenever one of us kids would get a burn or a cut, our babysitter would break off the end of a stalk on her aloe plant, and use the gel to soothe our injuries. So Aloe plants are not only medicinal, but a nice looking succulent, and super easy to take care of. There are different types of aloe plants, I have two.
I purchased the first one at Home Depot, along with several other cute little succulents. I planted them all together in a long rectangular pot inside. They weren’t doing real well (loosing leaves) after a month or so. Thinking they needed more light, we moved them outside during the summer. They scorched within a few days. The only one to survive was this aloe plant, so I re-potted it inside. It has grown a ton, and does great on our kitchen windowsill. I think it is an aloe brevifolia, which grows in a stacked column with short, thick leaves with white spines on the edges.
The second one I got at Ikea for probably two bucks, and it also does well with a little water once a week and indirect light. I’m not exactly sure what type of aloe this is, after some googling I think it might be an aloe california. Any aloe experts out there??
Golden Pothos: I am 95% sure I have a Pothos, but it is very similar to a Heartleaf Philodendron. I read here that the leaves of a Pothos feature yellow marbled accents, while Philodendron leaves are uniformly dark green. While both plants do well indoors and in low or indirect light, Pothos apparently tolerates more sun (does well and will show brighter yellow accents with a couple of hours of direct sunlight a day).
Pothos is also slightly more drought-tolerant (shout out to all the lazy ladies!) I took home my Pothos plant from my Grandma’s funeral in December of 2012. It has grown beautifully to over 5′ long in the past three years. I give it about a cup of water once a week.
Thanksgiving Cactus: This one was a gift from my Step-Mom, which I believe she started as a cutting from her own cactus. It has grown quite a bit in the year or so since I got it, with just a bit of water once a week. It hasn’t flowered, which may be because I have it in the living room where it receives too much light for ideal flowering conditions. Holiday cacti like this bloom from November to December and sometimes into Spring, but will only flower with cool temperatures and a good amount of darkness. If you want these plants to bloom, they should not receive more than 8-11 hours of light per day (including artificial light). I may just have to move mine to a darker room and see what happens.
So these are the 5 plants that have proven to be tough – even with my somewhat brown thumb over the past few years.
OH, and one more important note! All of the above, except for the Holiday Cactus, are toxic for dogs. So if you do have a pet that likes to snack on plants, you should probably keep these up out of reach.
What are your favorite low-maintenance houseplants?