There’s nothing like having some beautiful greenery to liven up your living space and purify your air. Every house has to have at least a few plants… and you can never have too many! Tee-hee! In my experience, plants aren’t the easiest to take care of, and some are extremely picky about their living conditions. I’ve killed plants that my mother has kept alive for years (sorry, mom…), but I managed to keep a few alive. 😉 Here’s a list of eight plants that are super easy to take care of. I have most of these beauties, but a few are on my to-buy list!
These bad boys are tolerant of pretty much anything. They handle low light well, and can be left alone for weeks at a time. When you water your snake plant, let the soil dry out completely before re-watering (every 2-3 weeks). Snake plants are easily susceptible to root rot, so they need to be planted in well draining soil. However, they love being cramped and squished in their pot. When the leaves are tall enough to get top heavy and the pot has a hard time staying upright, it’s time to transplant it into a slightly bigger pot. They also do a great job at absorbing harmful chemicals in your indoor air, and eliminating them. Here is a Wiki article on the NASA clean air study, which also includes a list of plants and which chemicals they cleanse. 😍 Definitely need to pick up a snake plant for myself. Toxicity: mildly toxic to your fur babies. Typically causes gastrointestinal unhappiness.
Bamboos can be planted in either soil or in rocks/sand, like mine is shown above. Bamboos prefer lots of natural sunlight, and thrive well on windowsills or other well-lit areas. Super strong direct sunlight can be bad, though, and turn the leaves yellow (other reasons for yellow leaves: too much fertilizer, too much soil, too much water, or too many chemicals in your water). If your bamboo is in soil, don’t let the soil get too dry (or too wet). If your bamboo lives in water, just make sure that the water level never lets any roots show! That’s it! I replace as much water as I can every few weeks (like a fish tank), and will occasionally give it a little fertilizer as a snack. It’s also super easy to grow new plants from the sprouts. Gently pluck the sprout off the mother plant (I grab the ones from lower down… it helps the mother plant grow into more of a tree), and put it in a little jar of water. It’ll grow roots within a few days! Leave it in the water until the roots are a bit more established, then transplant to it’s own pot. Toxicity: Lucky bamboo plants are mildly toxic to your fur babies, however, most other species of bamboo is cat, dog, and horse safe. On the other hand, bamboo is extremely toxic to humans. Long story short, raw bamboo produces cyanide when consumed. This is a great blog post for the extra details on how to safely eat bamboo.
Aloe Barbadensis is the medically beneficial Aloe. There’s several different species of Aloe, so if you want to use it as medicine or a beauty product, make sure you’re buying the right kind of plant. As you can imagine, Aloe is succulent-like, and doesn’t need a lot of water to survive. Over-watering is actually the #1 killer of Aloe Vera plants! Make sure that you plant yours in well-draining cactus/succulent soil with some gravel at the bottom of the pot for optimal drainage. These suckers store water in their leaves, so they tend to like to be watered every 2-3 weeks. They also thrive on sun, but be careful! Their delicate little leaves CAN get a sunburn in direct, outdoor sunlight. As you can see, my Aloe is in a teensy-tiny succulent pot. Aloes don’t mind being crowded, but if you transplant them in a bigger pot, they’ll send out little pups to fill out the extra space! These little guys can easily be propagated into their own little pots (wait about a week to water your newly planted pups). I’ll be transplanting my pup into a bigger pot soon. I can’t wait to watch her grow! Toxicity: Very harmful to cats specifically, should be kept out of reach of dogs and children, too. Especially nibble-y ones.
I feel like succulents are a pretty obvious choice… They’re known for their hardiness and desire to be left alone. Plus, there’s so many different colors, shapes, and sizes of these beauties! Some are VERY dramatic in appearance, and they are so easy to take care of! Obviously, they need to be planted in succulent soil in order to thrive well. This ensures that any water that you give your plant will drain right through, and avoids your plant getting root rot! Most succulents only need to be watered when their soil is completely dry, but can stand going longer periods without water. It’ll let you know if you’re watering it too much – soft, yellowing leaves are a good first indicator. Succulents do love sunlight, but too much hot, direct sunlight can kill your plants just as fast as over-watering. They prefer to have a few hours of partial shade per day.
As long as you can tend to the few basic needs of a succulent, these hardy boys are perfect for people who have a tendency to kill plants (me). Toxicity: most succulents are considered non-toxic. However there are a few species that are, in fact, toxic to your fur babies. Do some research on the different kinds of succulents if you’re an animal parent.
Chinese Money Tree
Money trees are so freakin’ cool. 😍 Not only are they symbols of good luck, but they’re super easy to take care of once you get the hang of their specific needs. Money trees like a lot of water, so these guys are good for people that tend to over-water their plants. Make sure your tree is planted in well-draining soil (I just used a cactus potting mix), their roots don’t do well sitting in soggy soil. Water your tree deeply, but be sure to dump out the excess water in the drainage pan, and let the soil dry out a bit before you water it again (around once a week, maybe twice depending on the soil). These trees are also a sucker for humidity. If your house tends to be dry, or you’re running your heater because it’s winter, put a tray of rocks or marbles filled with water underneath the pot. I also, personally, bring my humidity-loving plants into the bathroom with me when I shower, to give them a little extra moisture boost. These trees are super versatile when it comes to light. They like bright indirect light (direct light can burn their leaves), but can acclimate well to a partially sunny room, or even full shade. Toxicity: Pachira Aquatica is totally safe for all your fur babies, including cats! However, as with all green leafy snacks, too much munching could cause a stomach upset in your animal.
I’ve always really liked the way these beauties look. My mother still has a huge Spider plant that she’s had since I was a small child. Mine was actually planted from a little spiderling from my mom’s plant, and now look at how big it is! Their long, trailing fronds with little spiderlings produce tiny white flowers, and look great hanging from a planter or set on a tall shelf. These plants are similar to the Money tree, in the way that you want to water your plant deeply and thoroughly, but let the soil dry out a little bit between watering. Spider plants can actually go quite a while without water. They won’t die, but they will start getting brown tips. These plants dislike fluoride, so I would recommend using filtered water (I recommend using filtered water on all of your plants… I promise you will notice a difference). Planting the spiderlings is super easy. They’ll grow roots while they’re still connected to the mother, so all you have to do is plant it, water it, and give it lots of sunlight. If they’re not growing roots, hang them above a tray of water with only the root area coming into contact with the water. Toxicity: Spider plants are considered non-toxic to your animals, even cats. Fun fact: these plants are mildly hallucinogenic to your cats, much like catnip.
Air plants are probably the easiest plants to grow, due to the fact that they don’t need soil or a pot. They’re commonly found in air terrariums, but there’s all kinds of DIY displays for these guys. There are a tooooon of different kinds of Air plants, and those with silver foliage tend to be hardier than green ones – green Air plants tend to dry out a little bit faster. The key to keeping these guys thriving is constant air circulation, and nutrient filled water (one plant you don’t want to use distilled water on). The best water to use is rain water, if you can collect enough (you can also use spring, creek, or lake water). Air plants get their nutrients through the leaves, not the roots, so soak the leaves in a bowl of luke-warm water around once a week. In drier conditions, use a spray bottle and spritz the leaves several times a week (concentrating on the base of the plant). However, don’t let your plants stay wet for too long. Make sure they’re dried out completely before you return them back to their terrarium or hang them back up. I can’t wait to add some to my collection. 😍 Toxicity: non-toxic to all your furry friends.
These plants are all super easy to take care of, and are so aesthetically pleasing! A lot of these plants are also really great air purifiers, according to NASA. If you want to look at their actual research, here is the link to the PDF file titled Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. Check your local grocery store or nursery during the spring for most of your new plants and seeds. For my bamboo and money tree, I stopped by the Asian Gift Shop at my local mall. They had TONS of different options. I also ordered various seeds and plants on Amazon. Have fun taking care of your plant babies!