Houseplants That Are Hard To Kill (13 Plants That Can Survive Neglect)

We all know that person who has a hard time keeping their houseplants alive. No shame if that person is you! Some plants are needier than others and as busy as we all are, sometimes it is hard to remember to water and care for houseplants. Especially if you’re also tending to an outdoor garden.

For those who don’t have a lot of time or energy to put into their houseplants, there are many low-maintenance options. Snake plant, spider plant, pothos, zz plant, aloe vera, jade, peace lily, rubber plant, Chinese evergreen, cactus, cast iron, parlor palm, and really any air plant are all easy to grow and maintain.

So if you’ve always dreamed of the rooms of your home holding lush, healthy plants, you’re in luck! These thirteen plants will thrive with little to no attention, and will certainly impress your houseguests.

Keep reading for experts’ top tips on how not to kill plants, followed by a list of low-maintenance houseplants that are guaranteed to thrive on neglect.

How to not kill your houseplants

There are a few reasons people kill houseplants, and it’s not always neglect—more often than not, people pay too much attention to their plants, and the effects are even worse.

Underwatering is not ideal, but overwatering is the quickest way to kill a plant, especially if the plant is in a pot without drainage holes. You can avoid so many plant problems from the get-go by only using pots with drainage holes and filling them with the correct soil for that particular plant.

Most houseplants do well in regular potting soil, but succulents and cacti need a potting soil mix specific to their needs. These mixes will have a higher consistency of sand and perlite to encourage better drainage.

Another thing to pay careful attention to is a plant’s lighting needs. Sometimes we assume that artificial light is as good as natural light, and it’s not. Indirect light, say from a skylight or a windowsill is enough to meet many houseplants’ needs, but some plants will need more light. You can always replace the lightbulbs in your house with grow lightbulbs

Many houseplants are tropical plants that require temperatures in the 60s and 70s to thrive. Most of us keep our homes at these temperatures so it’s not a concern, but it’s something to keep in mind if you travel or the power goes out in your home. This is why it’s important, should yous et your houseplants outside to get some natural sunlight, to bring them in at night so they won’t be damaged by cold temperatures.

The most important thing to do to avoid killing your houseplants is to thoroughly research their growing needs before you take them home. As tempting as it is to pick up that new plant from the nursery, make sure that the plant will be a good fit for your home and your schedule before you commit to taking care of it. It’s so much easier to care for plants that suit your space, and it’s rewarding to watch a plant thrive and grow to its full potential.

13 easy-to-grow houseplants

There are other additions to this list, but these are plants that I’ve personally had success with.

1. Snake Plant

The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a hardy plant that can survive in almost any environment. It prefers indirect light and only needs to be watered once every two to eight weeks.

2. Spider Plant

The spider plant is a classic houseplant that produces long, thin leaves that resemble spider legs—it’s one of my favorite plants to use in hanging planters! It thrives in bright, indirect light and does best with weekly waterings. Spider plant is a very easy plant to propagate, too—simply pop off of the “babies,” place them in water, and they will root!

3. Pothos

The pothos is a trailing plant with heart-shaped leaves that can grow in a variety of light conditions, from bright to low. One of my favorite pothos placements is when people trail the vines to climb walls, up to the ceilings—you can use thumbtacks or nails to hold the vines in place. Water pothos when the soil dries out, about once per week.

4. ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant is a slow-growing plant with waxy green leaves that can survive in low light. ZZ plants only need to be watered once every two to three weeks.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant with medicinal properties that is incredibly easy to care for. It thrives in bright, indirect light and prefers to stay a little drier than most plants—water aloe every three or four weeks.

6. Jade Plant

The jade plant is a beautiful succulent that requires very little water. It prefers bright, indirect light but can survive in lower light conditions. Water it only when the soil is completely dry.

7. Peace Lily

The peace lily is a low-maintenance plant that produces beautiful white flowers and can survive in low light. Peace lilies will clearly communicate when they need water—their leaves will droop. On average, water about once a week.

8. Rubber Plant

The rubber plant is a large, leafy plant that can grow up to eight feet tall. It prefers bright, indirect light and prefers weekly waterings.

9. Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese evergreen is a beautiful plant with variegated leaves that thrives in low to medium light. Water Chinese evergreen once every two to three weeks.

10. Cactus

Cacti are some of the easiest plants to care for. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and require very little water. They prefer bright light and should only be watered when the soil is completely dry.

11. Cast iron plant

The cast iron plant, also known as the aspidistra, is a hardy plant that can survive in low light and even in extreme temperatures. It only needs to be watered once a month and can go several months without watering. With its dark green leaves, it adds a touch of elegance to any room.

12. Parlor palm

The parlor palm is a small, slow-growing plant that is perfect for small spaces. It can survive in low light and only needs to be watered once a week. Its delicate fronds add a touch of elegance to any room.

13. Air plant

Air plants are epiphytes, which means they do not need soil to grow. Instead, they absorb nutrients and moisture from the air. They can survive in a variety of indoor environments and only need to be watered once a week. Plus, they come in a variety of interesting shapes and sizes, making them a unique addition to any room.

There you have it! These are 13 easy-to-grow houseplants that are virtually impossible to kill. Any one of these plants would be perfect for anyone wanting to add greenery to their home without committing too much time and energy to their care. So go ahead, you have permission to buy yourself another houseplant (or ten) because these plants basically grow themselves.

If you are limited on space, you can find 7 houseplants for apartments here.

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About the author:
When not writing content or growing flowers in her native Virginia, you can find Sarah hiking a long-distance trail deep in the woods. Follow along with Sarah’s adventures at

Sarah C.

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