Introduction: 15 Easy to Grow Houseplants: Favorites That Are in It for the Long Haul

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With our crazy and busy lives, aren’t we always looking for short cuts and ways to create more free time? Who has an hour a day to take care of their indoor plants? I’ve compiled a list of 15 houseplants which are easy to maintain and not at all hard to grow. These green beauties are my tried and true favorites which are in it for the long haul; no 6 month wonders here.

Step 1:

There are so many great houseplants on the market but many of them are fickle and not at all long lasting in our homes. Spending $100 dollars a month replacing plants isn’t something I want to do and most likely that’s the case for you too. I started my horticultural career in the field of interior plantscaping and spent 12 years both maintaining and specing out plants on commercial accounts. The plants listed below are the ones which had the best survival rates in offices, lobbies, hotels, malls, and airports. Tough environments indeed!

These hanging, tabletop and floor plants were chosen because they’re not at all fussy, don’t require any misting, are relatively pest free, easy to find, and only need fertilizing once a year. There is nothing new or ground breaking here but it’ll make your life a wee bit easier. I’ve listed plants for low, medium and high light conditions and explain a little bit about that at the end. You can also find all of them, except for the ZZ Plant (keep on meaning to add that!), in our houseplant care book Keep Your Houseplants Alive.

Step 2: Pothos or Devils Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum Is the 1 Most Commonly Sold)

Hanging or tabletop plant. Tabletop means it sits on a table, bookshelf, bureau, cabinet, shelf, etc.

Low to medium light.

For long trails, you can’t really beat this plant. Small roots appear at the leaf nodes making the Pothos easy to propagate in water or soil mix. There are many varieties on the market which run the gamut from solid green to white, silver & chartreuse variegations.

5 Things To Love About Pothos.

11 Reasons Why Pothos is The Plant For You.

Step 3: Spider Plant; Chlorophyyum Comosum

Hanging or tabletop plant.

Medium light.

This is a fun plant because of the babies produced on long, arching stems. This makes them very easy to propagate. Mine grows outdoors here in Tucson year round so you know this plant is tough. It comes in different variegations and also in solid green.

Spider Plant Care.

1 Way to Get More Spider Plant Babies.

Step 4: Hoya, Wax Plant; Hoya Is the Genus With Many Species & Varieites

Hanging or tabletop plant.

Medium to high light.

Hoyas are succulent-like plants but they’re really not succulents. They’re slower growing indoors but very tough and attractive. And yes, they do flower. The higher the light you have them in, the better the chance of flowering. They can be subject to mealybugs so just keep your eyes open and get after them quickly. I love, love these plants. You can see my handsome new Hoya obavata in the video. There are many different Hoyas to choose from so you can find a leaf shape, color and form that you’ll love.

Hoya Care & Repotting Tips.

Repotting a Large Hoya Topiary.

4 Ways to Propagate a Hoya.

Step 5: Aloe Vera, Burn Plant, Medicinal Aloe; Aloe Barbedensis

Tabletop plant.

Medium to high light.

This is truly a plant with purpose as it’s used externally and taken internally. Aloe vera is a great plant to have in the kitchen or the bathroom so it’s close at hand. This one gives a deserty feel and looks great in clay pots. This is a succulent so be very careful not to overwater it.

How to Care for Aloe Vera.

2 Ways I Made my Aloe Vera Happier.

Step 6: Jade Plant, Money Tree; Crassula Ovata

Tabletop plant.

High light.

Jade Plants are also succulents and have glossy green, plump leaves. As they get bigger they develop quite a trunk structure and also get quite heavy. If you’re into bonsai, this plant is an excellent candidate. Go easy on the watering with this one. It comes in a few variegated forms as well as a small leaved variety but those are more commonly seen in the landscape trade.

Jade Plant Care.

Step 7: Bromeliads; There Are Many Genus & Species of These.

Tabletop plants.

Medium to high light.

These colorful plants add a pop of color and a real tropical feel to your home. They’re very easy to grow but just know that the more light you give them, the more color they’ll show. There are many on the market providing a wide range of foliage colors and patterns as well as flowers. Just know that the mother plant eventually dies after flowering but the pups (the babies or offshoots) live on.

Aechmea Care.

Guzmania Care.

Pink Quill Plant Care.

Neoregelia Care.(these are my favs – the foliage is the star & they last a really long time).

Step 8: Snake Plant, Mother in Law Tongue; Sansevierias

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to high light.

Snake Plants are very versatile in that they can grow in a wide range of light levels. Just keep them out of direct, hot sun because like all these houseplants listed here, they’ll burn. Most of mine are tabletop plants but my 3’ trifasciata sits on the floor. Snake Plants are great for people who travel (they love to be ignored!) or if you’re in a dry climate like mine.

Snake Plant Care.

More on Snake Plant care here.

How to Repot Snake Plants.

3 Ways to Propagate Sansevierias.

Step 9: ZZ Plant; Zamioculcas Zamiifolia

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to medium light.

It’s billed as a low light plant, but like most in this category, does best and will grow much faster in medium light. The shiny foliage is so attractive and this plant rarely shows a brown tip. I just divided mine into 3 plants because it had grown so much in a year. Some of the stems broke off as I was doing this and they’re easily rooting in water.

ZZ Plant Care and Repotting.

Propagating a ZZ Plant by Division.

Step 10: Ags, Chinese Evergreen; Aglaonemas

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to medium light.

We speced this plant a lot in commercial accounts – it’s was the quintessential file top plant. All the varieties have lovely patterned foliage and the newer ones even have splashes of pink in them. The old standby, Chinese Evergreen, has the darkest foliage and handles low light the best. I haven’t done a post or video on this plant yet, but if you want one, just let me know!

Step 11: Ponytail Palm, Elephant’s Foot; Beaucarnea Recurvata

Tabletop or floor plant.

High light.

The Ponytail Palm is usually seen as a tabletop plant because they grow slowly (especially indoors) and the larger specimens are quite expensive. This crazy, wacky plant has twirling, cascading leaves which jazz up any home environment. This one is also good for people who travel because of it’s low water requirements. There is also a variegated form of this plant which is sold in the landscape trade.

How to Care For & Repot a Ponytail Palm.

More on Ponytail Palms.

Transplanting a Large Ponytail Palm.

Step 12: Cast Iron Plant; Aspidistra Elatior

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to medium light.

The common name says it all – this is one tough cookie. The dark green, large leaves raise up on skinny stems giving it a look similar to flames. Cast Iron Plants are good for darker corners, in hallways & even under stairways. There are a few variegated forms or this plant and some have smaller leaves.

Cast Iron Plant Care.

Step 13: Kentia Palm; Howea Forsteriana

Floor plant.

Low to medium light.

This is a graceful and elegant plant with an arching form. Kentias grow very slowly, only putting out 1 frond per year. Even though they’re more expensive than some other palms, they’re very well suited to interiors. This isn’t a narrow plant – the taller they get, the more room they take up width wise.

Kentia Palm Care.

Step 14: Dracaena Janet Craig, Dracaena Lisa; Dracaena Deremensis “Janet Craig” & “Lisa”

Floor plant.

Low to medium light.

In my days as an interior landscaper, “Janet Craig” was the only variety on the market. We put a lot of these in offices, malls, lobbies, etc. Now the variety “Lisa” has come on the scene. This one has narrower leaves but the same glossy, dark green foliage as JC. Both are sold by the cane (stem) usually with 3-5 per pot so you get the foliage heads at different levels giving a staggered look.

Dracaena Janet Craig (Lisa) Care.

Step 15: Corn Plant, Dracaena Massangeana: Dracaena Fragrans(aka Deremensis)“massangeana”

Floor plant.

Low to medium light.

The Corn Plant has wider leaves than the Janet Craig and the Lisa with a bright chartreuse stripe down the center. It resembles corn leaves hence the common name. To keep the variegation, make sure this plant is growing in medium light. Otherwise, it’ll revert to solid green which is known as Dracaena fragrans. This is usually sold in the staggered cane form just like the dracaenas above. It just depends on whether you like a dark glossy leaf, a variegated leaf or a solid medium green (the fragrans). I haven’t done a post and video on the corn Plant yet, but if you’d like one, let me know.

Now it’s time to touch briefly on light levels.

I have no experience with artificial light so what I’m referring to here is natural light. Be aware that light levels vary with the seasons so you might have to move your plants closer to a light source in the winter months. Very few houseplants can take strong, direct sun so keep them out of hot windows or else they’ll burn.

Low light – Low light isn’t no light. This is a northern exposure with no direct light.

Medium light – This is an east or west exposure with 2-4 of sun coming in the windows per day.

High light – This is a west or south exposure with at least 5 hours of sun coming in per day.

Just know that you can have a low light plant in a medium or high light room but it needs to be at least 10-15’ feet away from the windows. I use my instincts when it comes to light and houseplants. If a plant isn’t doing as well as it should, then I move it. You can find more detailed information on light and houseplants here.

I hope you’ve found this list to be helpful. If you’re new to the world of houseplants, these are great plants to get you going.

Click here for lots more on houseplants.

What are your favorite easy houseplants? Inquiring horticultural minds what to know!

Happy (indoor) gardening & thanks for stopping by,