While I consider myself to be a decently capable human being, there are two skills I have never mastered: cooking and horticulture. The latter is particularly frustrating to me. It’s one thing if I can’t whip up a delicious 5-course meal at the drop of a hat, because there are plenty of easier options. When it comes to cultivating houseplants and gardens, there aren’t great alternatives. Fake plants are fine, but miss the mark on multiple levels for me. Not only is it tough to find real looking ones, but they also do nothing to improve the environment of your home; I love that houseplants help filter the air and truly bring life to a space. Faux is simply not for me.
This desire to bring greenery and florals into my home has definitely been a battle. Plant after plant died in my care, meaning dollar after dollar was wasted. The final straw for me was when I killed my Prayer Plant, Francis. Yes, I name my plants and, yes, it makes their deaths that much more painful. I bought Francis for our Denver apartment and loved him dearly, but he succumbed after we moved to Minneapolis. I don’t know what happened, but I could never quite get him healthy again. I tried different lighting, more frequent misting, repotting. Nothing worked. And I was so frustrated. Not only did I adore that plant, but he wasn’t cheap either. I needed to figure this shit out.
From there, I decided to do my research. I’m pretty certain you’d find “houseplants that are tough as shit to kill” in my Google search history. I’ve still failed on more than one occasion, but I’m (knock on wood) hitting my groove with several of my current green companions.
If you yearn for houseplants like me, then here are some types that have managed to survive the wrath of my black thumb thus far:
‘Sensation’ Peace Lily
This one is my jam. I was terrified when I came home and found this dude drooped and depressed, thinking another one bit the dust. Sure enough, I gave it a fresh watering and it perked right back up within hours. I can read this thing like a book, and it’s so refreshing to know EXACTLY what it needs.
Care Instructions - I’m not a horticulturist, so I’m not going to pretend to tell you want to do. Click the link for all the details.
Placement - ours is low-ish light in the corner next to our patio door. It’s east-facing, so it gets some indirect light in the mornings, but never bright or direct.
No joke: I forgot about this dude for a month and a half at the desk in my coworking space due to our honeymoon and then the holidays... And he’s still going strong. Low light, chill as hell. As much as I hate the name (terrified of those bastards) and am not quite as into the look, I can’t get enough of this easy-going option.
Placement - currently on our bedroom dresser which is a few feet from a north-facing window. Very low light and he’s doing great.
Such a unique look - I couldn’t resist! I was so grateful for the little care instruction sheet that Mother Earth Gardens gave me. It was a lifesaver (truly).
Placement - I currently have ours on a west-facing bay window sill. It gets direct light for some parts of the afternoon, and seems to be just fine.
I started with a failed attempt with a smaller rubber plant, but was determined to figure it out because it’s probably my favorite look besides a Prayer Plant. Leave it to me to be impractical: I decided to get an even bigger one for my second attempt. Somehow, tweaking the location and focusing on not over-watering has allowed my current one to survive 7 months, and I’m pretty psyched about it. If you follow my Insta feed, this gal is on our fireplace hearth.
Placement - she gets indirect, west light from our front door. I’m considering trying to move her to a slightly brighter area, but am nervous. Might need to bring in my friend whose a plant wizard to give some thoughts, but for now, she’s good where she’s at.
I mean, c’mon! Plants completely transform a space. I’m currently beaming with pride that I’ve kept so many of these wonders alive (with the exception of the orchid, which I’m struggling a bit with between blooms).
Are you a plant addict like me? What are some of your favorite low-maintenance picks?
Image Credits: Samantha Lewis Photography