Easy Care, Minimal Maintenance Indoor Plants
The following 6 houseplants pretty much grow themselves. In fact, your biggest problem may be what to do with all the baby plants they’ll produce. All 6 can be grown in the indirect light from a window and like the same indoor temperatures as most people (55 – 75 degrees F).
As with any houseplant, there is always the threat of insect pests like aphids, scale, spider mites and whiteflies. But disease-wise, the only things you’re likely to incur is root rot, from too much watering. So, these 6 indoor plants are perfect for someone who always forgets to water their plants.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) earned its name by growing under the worst of conditions, even outdoors in deep shade. Prefers low lights. Grows in a clump. Leaves are sword-like, pointed, about 4″ wide & 2′ long. Occasionally flowers indoors. A variegated version is available with white stripes.
Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus or Schlumbergera) A trailing member of the cactus family that produces deep pink / red flowers in early winter. Seems to do its best when ignored. Can handle low light, but you’ll get more flowers in bright light. Pruning after blooming with keep the plant bushy.
You can force your Christmas cactus to bloom in December by keeping it in complete darkness for 12 hours a night, beginning in about late-October, until buds appear. An even easier method is to subject it to cool temperatures (50 – 55 degrees F) starting in November. Just leave it on a windowsill at home while the heat is off, because you’re at work.
Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) & Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderian) Dracaena have long been the centerpiece of container plantings. Street plantings in towns across America feature 1 spiky dracaena stuck in the center of red blooming geraniums in a half whisky barrel. But there is a good amount of variety in dracaena and most make excellent, easy care houseplants.
In particular, Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) which resembles a small palm tree and can reach heights of 10’ and Lucky Bamboo, which isn’t bamboo at all. Both have stems that can be trained to bend or spiral thin stems are topped by clusters of slender arching leaves with narrow purple margins. They grow best in bright light and if allowed to dry out between waterings. Even if allowed to wilt, dracaena will spring back after watering, although the leaf tips may turn brown and will tolerate low light. Lucky bamboo is often grown in water, but once substantial roots have formed, it is happier planted in soil.
Mother-in-law’s tongue or Snake plant or Bird’s-nest plant (Sansevieria) Called Mother-in-law’s tongue because of its long, sharp, pointed leaves and because it never leaves! These are long-lived, easy care houseplants. Very tolerant of low light. Water sparingly or it will rot. Only 1 or 2 waterings are necessary indoors during the winter, depending on the humidity. Variegated forms need more light and can be more difficult to grow. There is also a dwarf variety, Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Hahnii’, called Bird’s Nest.
Pothos (Epipremnum) One of the easiest houseplants to grow; almost impossible to kill. Trailing plants that just keep on growing, 10+ feet. Pruning the plants will keep them fuller at the base and each cutting can be rooted in water to create more plants. Pothos like to dry out between waterings, but if left dry too long, leaves with wilt and eventually dry and fall. Very tolerant of all types of light conditions, even artificial office lights. You can let them trail down or secure them to a support or trellis. There are many variegated and golden varieties available.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Spider plants just keep on giving. You almost never see a spider plant that doesn’t have babies attached. Often grown in hanging baskets, spider plants will get 2 to 2½’ wide and 2 to 3′ long. Their roots tend to fill a pot, so repotting may be necessary every couple of years. When dangling babies start to form roots, they can be cut off and planted on their own.
Some More Easy-Care Houseplants Worth a Try: Rubber tree (Ficus elastica), African Violet (Saintpaulia), Croton (Codiaeum variegatum), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum).
Question: Jimmie, thank you for taking the time to educate! Many times, I have gone to a Nursery or Home Depot and ask questions and I mostly get a reply I feel like is either inaccurate or a short answer to whisk me out the door and on to the next person they can sell something to. You really take the time to thoroughly explain yourself and you have always emailed me back personally every time I have contacted you. Pretty hard to find these days! Just want you to know there are people out here that really do appreciate the time and effort you put into your columns and fell like I am a more educated Gardener for it!! Thank you again! – Robin R. in Celina
Answer: Hi Robin, people like yourself is the reason I started doing this back in 2005 and still going at it!! Thank you so much for your kind words.
Question: Jimmie, what are the best flowers to plant now? After all the challenges 2020 has brought I finally get to have family in for the holidays! Want to plant something that will look pretty for them but will last through the winter if at all possible! – Vicki T. in Celina
Answer: Hi Vicki, yes it has been quit a year! Best annuals to plant now are Pansies, Violas, Panola’s, Cyclamen (but must cover for freeze), Rosemary Cones, Different varieties of Cabbage, Kales and Swiss Chard. All these will last you until spring!
Until next time…Happy Gardening!!
Send your landscaping and gardening questions to Jimmie Gibson Jr. at http://www.absolutelybushedlandscaping.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.Jimmie is a Prosper resident and the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company, an award winning, family and veteran owned and operated business created in 1980 to provide the highest quality custom Outdoor Renovation available to homeowners in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.