Sure, plants are just all-around amazing. They filter air, improve moods, spruce up the dreariest of corners, and overall, just make any space better. But they come with some baggage—maintenance. From overwatering to underwatering, too much light to too little light… Sometimes it can feel like the drop of a pin is enough to kill some plants.
But fear not. Some plants not just survive, but thrive on extremely low maintenance standards.
Here are the top 10 low-effort plants that demand near-zero care:
Starting with the smaller, low-maintenance classics…
1. ZZ Plant (Zanzibar Gem)
Hailing from East Africa, the shiny Zanzibar Gems plant have adapted to survive months of low light and drought. And not only do these glossy, green beauties look stunning, they also help purify indoor air. So what do you need to ensure this plant survives?
Light requirements: They are tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions, including low light conditions. But they thrive best in bright, indirect sunlight, and start to burn in harsh, direct sunlight.
Water requirements: ZZ’s need to be watered only once every 1-2 weeks, once the soil has dried out completely. If you need to remember one thing about this plant, remember this: underwatering is better than over-watering. Always.
These little green friends have been approved by even NASA! NASA research has found pothos to be among the best plants for reducing indoor air pollutants. From hardly any water to too much sunlight, a pothos can pretty much survive even a zombie apocalypse. But to stay on the safe side, keep these tips in mind.
Light requirements: Like the ZZ, the indoor pothos plant loves bright, indirect light, but does well in most conditions. The only rule, keep them away from harsh, direct sunlight.
Water requirements: Again like the ZZ, pothos does best when its soil is allowed to dry out before being watered again. Brown, wilted leaves are a sign of underwatering, and yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering.
With heart-shaped leaves and beautiful foliage, these plants are available in hundreds of varieties. And no matter which variety of philodendrons you choose, their care is pretty simple.
Light requirements: Like most tropical plants, a philodendron prefers bright, but filtered sunlight. Overexposure to direct light will turn the leaves yellow, and too little will result in sparse growth.
Water requirements: Don’t wait for the entire soil to dry out before watering a philodendron. Water them once the top one inch of the soil has dried out. And reduce the frequency of watering in winters.
4. Peace lily
This striking flowering plant is an indoor favorite that looks best when used in large groups. When peace lilies (spathiphyllum supreme) bloom in spring, their elegant white flowers, tower gracefully over the foliage. With an aesthetic like no other, caring for a peace lily plant indoors is effortless and this easy-care plant is worth adding to your decor.
Light requirements: Peace lilies love the shade, so any kind of indirect light is best when kept indoors. If the leaves start to fade or curl up, then move them even further away from sunlight.
Water requirements: Water these plants, only when the top one inch of their soil has dried out. But never allow the soil to fully dry out. And if your summers are incredibly hot, then consider misting the plant in the hot months to keep them fresh.
5. Cast Iron plant
Named after the indestructible nature of cast iron pans, the cast iron plant is the quintessential low-maintenance plant.
Light requirements: Cast iron plants love the shade, with indirect light. Think North-facing rooms, and a little away from the windows.
Water requirements: They enjoy lightly moist soil, so wait for the top 2-3 inches to dry out in between waterings. Follow this rule and you’ll be able to avoid both root rot and underwatering.
6. Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese Evergreen is the perfect office plant because it tolerates both low light and bright fluorescent lighting.
Light requirements: Just keep one rule in mind: The lighter the plant’s leaves, the more sunlight it needs. And even then, avoid direct sunlight.
Water requirements: This plant doesn’t need everyday watering. Simply water the plant generously, and then wait for the soil to fully dry out before thoroughly watering again.
Next, we have a few larger, statement plants that catch the eye.
With over a thousand plant species, the hardy-yet-elegant bamboo plant will stand by you through the best and worst of times.
Light requirements: Don’t deprive your bamboo of the sun. Place them in areas with bright, direct light (or at least partial sunlight) and see them thrive.
Water requirements: Remember to never let a bamboo’s roots dry out completely. But also don’t let it sit in soggy, dripping soil. Short of those extremes, your bamboo will survive most conditions.
8. Snake plant
This almost hands-free plant is basically impossible to kill. Once potted, the snake plant looks gorgeous for both floor displays and tabletop decor.
Light requirements: They do best in a mix of direct and indirect sunlight. But the snake plant can survive even in fully bright conditions, as well as, dimly lit spaces.
Water requirements: The snake plant is susceptible to root rot, so only water them when the soil feels fully dry. In fact, during winters, this plant can survive as long as a month without water.
9. Dragon tree
Also known as dracaena marignata, the dragon tree is characterized by its sharp, sword-like, red-tipped leaves. Aside from the dragon tree, other plant members of the dracaena family are also worth checking out for their low-maintenance requirements.
Light requirements: This equatorial plant does best in bright sunlight, but can survive in partial shade as well. But at the same time, avoid places with direct, harsh sunlight.
Water requirements: Native to Madagascar, this plant is extremely drought resistant. It only needs watering every 2-3 weeks, when the top half of the soil has dried out.
And finally, we come down to the special low-maintenance flowering plants.
10. Birds of paradise
Bright and tropical, the bird of paradise flowering plants can grow up to 5 – 6 feet tall, and grow well indoors. They typically flower in late winters and early spring, when you can see the orange, blue flowers make an impressive display.
Light requirements: This plant needs bright light, with even a bit of direct light exposure to grow and bloom well. So place them near east or west-facing windows for best results.
Water requirements: The bird of paradise loves growing in moist soil. Avoid waterlogging it, but ensure it is thoroughly watered and that the soil is kept slightly moist. This can even mean daily watering in the summer months.