5 easy house plants for black thumbs
So you want to jump on the house plant trend, but so far your house has been a plant graveyard. Maybe you’ve even called yourself a black thumb at some point. Well, worry no more, because we’ve got a few tough-as-nails plants for you to try, plus tips for keeping them happy and healthy. These plants are low maintenance, low care, and generally bounce back well after periods of neglect.
Snake plant (Sansevieria)
This hearty plant can live for long periods of time with little to no natural light, adapt to high light, and adjust to anything in between. It rarely complains about erratic watering, and will often bounce back even after periods of severe drought. In the spring and summer, you’ll water between once a week and once every two weeks, and in the winter you’ll water between once a month and once every six weeks. No matter what season, test the top two inches of soil and make sure they are completely dry before watering again. Sansevieria often have minimal root structures and don’t mind root binding, so you’ll only need to re-pot every few years. Fertilize once or twice a month in spring and summer for optimal growth.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Don’t knock grandma’s favorite plant! Totally unfussy, a happy spider plant grows like crazy and looks amazing in your favorite macramé hanger. Give the babies away to friends, or fill up any spare pots you have lying around. Spider plants tolerate low light, grow best in medium light, and adapt to irregular watering schedules. Water once a week in spring and summer for optimum results, and once every two to three weeks in winter (check soil and water when the top two inches are only slightly damp).
Medicinal, striking, and easy to care for, the aloe is a must-have for any plant lover. It is happiest with occasional, deep watering when the soil is completely dry, and lots of bright, indirect light. Keep in a room with a south or west-facing window and pot in well-draining soil (cactus mix is fine). Too much sun can burn your plants, and too much water will turn it to mush. If you can avoid those pitfalls, aloes are great plants to stick in a bright corner and water whenever you think of it.
Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)
Cute round, shiny leaves and easy care make this an under-appreciated houseplant in our book. The obtusifolia species tolerates low light and thrives in medium to high light—just make sure to increase your watering with more light exposure. That said, peperomia obtusifolia can adjust to irregular watering schedules and rarely put up much of a fuss. Avoid soggy, moist soil and aim to water whenever the soil is mostly dry, usually between every seven to nine days in summer, and once every couple weeks in winter.
Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
If you want the leafy look of a tropical plant without the maintenance, the Cast Iron plant is the right choice for you. Aspidistra elatior leaves are large and showy, often variegated, and will grow quite tall if given enough time. Put these puppies in a dark to bright corner, water once every week to two weeks, and they’ll keep chugging along. The Milky Way variety is one of our personal favorites—the little speckles on the leaves look like its namesake galaxy and provide great contrast in all your #shelfies.
At the end of the day, knowing your climate, the ideal environment for your plants, and staying aware of your home’s growing conditions can help you avoid many common mistakes. Checking in with your plants regularly, identifying warning signs and changing your care routine with the seasons can help turn your black thumb into a green one.