Whether you’re a beginner, lead a busy life or simply forgetful, we tend to ignore our beloved plants.
And as much as our lush, green foliage can brighten our moods and spruce up our homes, it can be tricky to care for them — and keep them alive. What's more, if we don’t know how to care for plants properly, it’s easy to make plant mistakes, which includes overwatering and underwatering.
Luckily, there are plenty of low maintenance plants that are pretty hardy, and can survive without much work. Not only are these varieties reliable and tolerant of most tough conditions, but they will also add a lovely aesthetic to your home. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about regular plant care — though you should know how to make sure your plants survive when you’re going on vacation or a work trip.
So if you don't want to run the risk of killing your favorites, check out these 7 best low maintenance plants for easy care. And, if they look like they're on their last legs, here are a few tips to save a dying plant.
1. Snake plant
Snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as’ mother-in-law’s tongue’, are a popular, low maintenance houseplant. These only need watering every two weeks, but are hardy enough to go for weeks without watering.
In addition, snake plants are adaptable — known for removing excess moisture in the air, and harmful airborne chemicals. In fact, snake plants can help to reduce mold in your home, and are one of a few plants that continue to produce oxygen in low light conditions. Snake plants are also drought-tolerant, and grow well in bright light and warm temperatures, such as the bathroom.
Plus, with their twisted, sword-like leaves, these will add much character and style to any room. Bear in mind that these are a plant that's toxic to pets, so keep away from dogs or cats.
If you’re starting an indoor garden, succulents are brilliant, low maintenance houseplants. These hardy houseplants can thrive in bright, indirect sunlight and require very little watering. Cacti in particular prefer dry conditions.
Succulents will naturally need more water in the summer, so watering in the summer once a week is good practice, while as little as once a month may suffice in the winter. Just ensure you use pots with drainage holes to prevent overwatering, and you can re-use any excess in the tray on other succulents. In fact, if you find that your succulents are dying, it’s most likely due to insufficient light or too much water.
3. Air plants
Air plants do not need soil to survive (yes, you heard right!), making them very low maintenance. Recognised for their thin, curled leaves and exposed roots, air plants have become a popular indoor plant, adding style to any home.
Depending on the species, it’s not that difficult to care for air plants. They still need regular access to daylight, but indirect sun to avoid the plant drying out. What’s more, air plants can cope well in artificial (fluorescent) light, but they would need to receive about 12 hours a day.
Since it has no soil, the best method of watering is by soaking your air plant in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes every 1-2 weeks, ideally in the morning. Once you’ve watered , place it upside down on a towel and leave to completely dry, before moving it back to its container. In addition, most air plants thrive in humidity, which is why they’re more suited for bathrooms.
4. Spider plant
Another low maintenance plant is the spider plant. These easy-going houseplants are very adaptable and easy to grow, making them ideal for beginners. Spider plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, so are best placed on a sunny windowsill.
These are also incredibly hardy, and can also survive in the shade. However, the growth won’t be as lush as when out in the sun. If you do move your spider plant outdoors in the summer, make sure it’s still out of the sun. Typically, spider plants need watering or misting only once a week, but always check the moisture level of the soil with a finger beforehand. If the soil feels moist, hold off on watering for a day or two.
If you want more top tips, be sure to read our guide on how to care for spider plants.
5. ZZ plant
The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, otherwise known as the ZZ plant, is known to be incredibly hardy. It’s drought-tolerant and will happily thrive in shady spots or indirect light. In addition, it doesn't need regular repotting, which is convenient and mess-free.
Ideally, water the ZZ plant every 2-3 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Increase the water in brighter light and less often in lower light. With its tall, glossy slender leaves and distinct zig-zag edges, the ZZ plant looks great on any windowsill or coffee table.
Another shade-loving plant is the hosta, which is incredibly low maintenance. This makes them ideal for indoor growing, where light conditions are not so intense all year round. Although there are some varieties that are best suited for partial to full sun — so always check your species.
Despite their beautiful, lush foliage, you'll only need to water your plants about twice a week. Just avoid overwatering when the soil is already wet, and ensure you have adequate drainage. In fact, morning is the best time for watering so that the hostas have all day to absorb the moisture.
7. Jade/money plant
The jade or money plant may look striking in your home, but are also low maintenance. These indoor plants tend to thrive in dry, very bright conditions, and won’t require much watering. Although keep away from direct heat, on a summer’s day, to prevent the leaves from scorching.
Just water when the top inch of the soil (2-3 cm) is dry to the touch, and be careful not to overwater. Like other succulents, ensure the soil is very well draining, to avoid letting the jade plant sit in a saucer of water.
In addition, experts advise fertilizing jade plants every other month to every two months, using a good, flowering houseplant fertilizer.