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15 Easy To Grow Houseplants: Favorites That Are In It For The Long Haul

Who has an hour a day to spend watering their plants? This list of 15 easy to grow houseplants will make life easier. We're sure you can find at least 1 to love.

a kentia palm, dracaena massangeana,a dracaena lisa & 2 jade plants the text reads 15 easy to grow houseplants favorites that are in it for the long haul

With our crazy and busy lives, aren’t we always looking for shortcuts and ways to create more free time? Who has an hour a day to take care of their indoor plants? I’ve compiled a list of 15 houseplants which are easy to maintain and not at all hard to grow. These green beauties are my tried and true favorites which are in it for the long haul; no 6 month wonders here.

There are so many great houseplants on the market but many of them are fickle and not at all long lasting in our homes. Spending $100 dollars a month replacing plants isn’t something I want to do and most likely that’s the case for you too. I started my horticultural career in the field of interior plantscaping and spent 12 years both maintaining and spacing out plants on commercial accounts. The plants listed below are the ones which had the best survival rates in offices, lobbies, hotels, malls, and airports. Tough environments indeed!

15 easy to grow houseplants:

These hanging, tabletop and floor plants were chosen because they’re not at all fussy, don’t require any misting, are relatively pest free, easy to find, and only need fertilizing once a year. There is nothing new or ground breaking here but it’ll make your life a wee bit easier. I’ve listed plants for low, medium and high light conditions and explain a little bit about that at the end. You can also find all of them, except for the ZZ Plant (keep on meaning to add that!), in our houseplant care book Keep Your Houseplants Alive.

Pothos or Devils Ivy (Epipremnum aureum is the 1 most commonly sold)

Green leaved Pothos plant with trails in a hanging container

Hanging or tabletop plant. Tabletop means it sits on a table, bookshelf, bureau, cabinet, shelf, etc.

Low to medium light.

For long trails, you can’t really beat this plant. Small roots appear at the leaf nodes making the Pothos easy to propagate in water or soil mix. There are many varieties on the market which run the gamut from solid green to white, silver & chartreuse variegations.

5 Things To Love About Pothos.

11 Reasons Why Pothos is The Plant For You.

Spider Plant; Chlorophyyum comosum

Nell in a bright pink dress underneath lots of hanging spider plants with babies

Hanging or tabletop plant.

Medium light.

This is a fun plant because of the babies produced on long, arching stems. This makes them very easy to propagate. Mine grows outdoors here in Tucson year round so you know this plant is tough. It comes in different variegations and also in solid green.

Spider Plant Care.  

More on Spider Plant care here.

1 Way to Get More Spider Plant Babies.

Hoya, Wax Plant; Hoya is the genus with many species & varieites

A Variegated Hoya trained to grow on bamboo hoops

Hanging or tabletop plant.

Medium to high light.

Hoyas are succulent-like plants but they’re really not succulents. They’re slower growing indoors but very tough and attractive. And yes, they do flower. The higher the light you have them in, the better the chance of flowering. They can be subject to mealybugs so just keep your eyes open and get after them quickly. I love, love these plants. You can see my handsome new Hoya obavata in the video. There are many different Hoyas to choose from so you can find a leaf shape, color and form that you’ll love.

Hoya Care & Repotting Tips.

Repotting a Large Hoya Topiary.

4 Ways to Propagate a Hoya.

Aloe vera, Burn Plant, Medicinal Aloe; Aloe barbedensis

 An Aloe vera plant in a purple & green pot on the ground on a patio

Tabletop plant.

Medium to high light.

This is truly a plant with purpose as it’s used externally and taken internally. Aloe vera is a great plant to have in the kitchen or the bathroom so it’s close at hand. This one gives a deserty feel and looks great in clay pots. This is a succulent so be very careful not to overwater it.

How to Care for Aloe Vera.

2 Ways I Made my Aloe Vera Happier.

Jade Plant, Money Tree; Crassula ovata

two Jade Plants planted in small terracota pots the plants look healthy and fleshy

Tabletop plant.

High light.

Jade Plants are also succulents and have glossy green, plump leaves. As they get bigger they develop quite a trunk structure and also get quite heavy. If you’re into bonsai, this plant is an excellent candidate. Go easy on the watering with this one. It comes in a few variegated forms as well as a small leaved variety but those are more commonly seen in the landscape trade.

Jade Plant Care.

Bromeliads; There are many genus & species of these.

a neoregelia bromeliad in an urn container on top of a table close to a window

Tabletop plants.

Medium to high light.

These colorful plants add a pop of color and a real tropical feel to your home. They’re very easy to grow but just know that the more light you give them, the more color they’ll show. There are many on the market providing a wide range of foliage colors and patterns as well as flowers. Just know that the mother plant eventually dies after flowering but the pups (the babies or offshoots) live on.

Aechmea Care.

Guzmania Care.

Pink Quill Plant Care.

Neoregelia Care. (these are my favs – the foliage is the star & they last a really long time).

Snake Plant, Mother In Law Tongue; Sansevierias

Big and A healthy 3 feet tall snake plant in a grow pot the backdrop is very rustic

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to high light.

Snake Plants are very versatile in that they can grow in a wide range of light levels. Just keep them out of direct, hot sun because like all these houseplants listed here, they’ll burn. Most of mine are tabletop plants but my 3’ trifasciata sits on the floor. Snake Plants are great for people who travel (they love to be ignored!) or if you’re in a dry climate like mine.

Snake Plant Care.  

More on Snake Plant care here.

How to Repot Snake Plants.

3 Ways to Propagate Sansevierias.

ZZ Plant; Zamioculcas zamiifolia

A large ZZ plant in a square pot, its leaves are glossy and shiney

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to medium light.

It’s billed as a low light plant, but like most in this category, does best and will grow much faster in medium light. The shiny foliage is so attractive and this plant rarely shows a brown tip. I just divided mine into 3 plants because it had grown so much in a year. Some of the stems broke off as I was doing this and they’re easily rooting in water.

ZZ Plant Care and Repotting.

Propagating a ZZ Plant by Division.

Ags, Chinese Evergreen; Aglaonemas

2 Aglaonemas with 2 different foliages 1 is much lighter than the other, they have big variegated leaves

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to medium light.

We speced this plant a lot in commercial accounts – it’s was the quintessential file top plant. All the varieties have lovely patterned foliage and the newer ones even have splashes of pink in them. The old standby, Chinese Evergreen, has the darkest foliage and handles low light the best. I haven’t done a post or video on this plant yet, but if you want one, just let me know!

Ponytail Palm, Elephant’s Foot; Beaucarnea recurvata

a three headed ponytail palm growing outdoors on in a beautiful turquoise pot on a concrete pedestal

Tabletop or floor plant.

High light.

The Ponytail Palm is usually seen as a tabletop plant because they grow slowly (especially indoors) and the larger specimens are quite expensive. This crazy, wacky plant has twirling, cascading leaves which jazz up any home environment. This one is also good for people who travel because of it’s low water requirements. There is also a variegated form of this plant which is sold in the landscape trade.

How to Care For & Repot a Ponytail Palm.

More on Ponytail Palms.

Transplanting a Large Ponytail Palm.

Cast Iron Plant; Aspidistra elatior

A large Cast Iron Plant; Aspidistra elatior with big dark pointy leaves against a chartreuse green background

Tabletop or floor plant.

Low to medium light.

The common name says it all – this is one tough cookie. The dark green, large leaves raise up on skinny stems giving it a look similar to flames. Cast Iron Plants are good for darker corners, in hallways & even under stairways. There are a few variegated forms or this plant and some have smaller leaves.

Cast Iron Plant Care.

Kentia Palm; Howea forsteriana

a five feet tall Kentia Palm with lots of fronds- the leaves are deep green & arching

Floor plant.

Low to medium light.

This is a graceful and elegant plant with an arching form. Kentias grow very slowly, only putting out 1 frond per year. Even though they’re more expensive than some other palms, they’re very well suited to interiors. This isn’t a narrow plant – the taller they get, the more room they take up width wise.

Kentia Palm Care.

Dracaena Janet Craig, Dracaena Lisa; Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig” & “Lisa”

Big and bushy Dracaena Janet Craig Dracaena Lisa with two stalks this plant is 7 feet tall and has long glossy leaves

Floor plant.

Low to medium light.

In my days as an interior landscaper, “Janet Craig” was the only variety on the market. We put a lot of these in offices, malls, lobbies, etc. Now the variety “Lisa” has come on the scene. This one has narrower leaves but the same glossy, dark green foliage as JC. Both are sold by the cane (stem) usually with 3-5 per pot so you get the foliage heads at different levels giving a staggered look.

Dracaena Janet Craig (Lisa) Care.

Corn Plant, Dracaena massangeana: Dracaena fragrans(aka deremensis)“massangeana”

a five feet tall corn plant its leaves are long and variegated with chartreuse green the backdrop is a rustic light green color which accents the plant

Floor plant.

Low to medium light.

The Corn Plant has wider leaves than the Janet Craig and the Lisa with a bright chartreuse stripe down the center. It resembles corn leaves hence the common name. To keep the variegation, make sure this plant is growing in medium light. Otherwise, it’ll revert to solid green which is known as Dracaena fragrans. This is usually sold in the staggered cane form just like the dracaenas above. It just depends on whether you like a dark glossy leaf, a variegated leaf or a solid medium green (the fragrans). I haven’t done a post and video on the corn Plant yet, but if you’d like one, let me know.

Now it’s time to touch briefly on light levels.

I have no experience with artificial light so what I’m referring to here is natural light. Be aware that light levels vary with the seasons so you might have to move your plants closer to a light source in the winter months. Very few houseplants can take strong, direct sun so keep them out of hot windows or else they’ll burn.

Low light – Low light isn’t no light. This is a northern exposure with no direct light.

Medium light – This is an east or west exposure with 2-4 of the sun coming in the windows per day.

High light – This is a west or south exposure with at least 5 hours of the sun coming in per day.

Just know that you can have a low light plant in a medium or high light room but it needs to be at least 10-15’ feet away from the windows. I use my instincts when it comes to light and houseplants. If a plant isn’t doing as well as it should, then I move it. You can find more detailed information on light and houseplants here.

I hope you’ve found this list to be helpful. If you’re new to the world of houseplants, these are great plants to get you going.

Click here for lots more on houseplants.

What are your favorite easy houseplants? Inquiring horticultural minds what to know!

Happy (indoor) gardening & thanks for stopping by,

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6 comments:

  1. These plants are all gorgeous! I don’t think I can choose only one, I need them all.

  2. Thanks so Lucy! Nell

  3. I have owned house plants for 45 years +. Many plants are quite old. Do you know of anyone who will come to my house to tell me if my plants are in the right places or if they are healthy?

  4. Hi Marla – I’d do a search for “houseplant house calls” & see if anyone pops up in your area. Or, if there’s a nursery with a lot of houseplants or an interior plantscaping company nearby they might do if for you. Hope you find someone! Nell

  5. Marla…. You must be doing a lot of things right for your Plants..
    My suggestion go to a Private owned Greenhouse Garden Center….not a big box store, and talk with the owner. They usually know who their expert plant persons are and might charge you a house call.
    I have a collection of Tropicals that I bring inside every year, Bouganvillias, Oleander, Durante etc. I no longer bring in Mandevillias because they drop their leaves from lack of sun, get spindly, and GET Pests that can easily infect other plants. House plants are also brought outside to go into container planters for height. Palms are wonderful, Dracena’s, Ti plants , Ferns are also great, Holly F, Western Sword F, Birds Nest Fern, I use them as the Thriller, (top) plant, add Daliah’s, Coleus for (Filler) then assorted Spiller’s: Ivy, asp fern, etc.. Fall is a BIG job bringing everyone in… first plants are taken out of Mixed containers.. and replanted in same plant same container. plants that require low light from a grow lite bulb go to plant room in basement. Blooming plants that require more light get to stay in the 3 sided window sunroom.. I also have a propagation area set up down stairs to divide and propagate plants : succulents, spider plants, etc are then sold in early spring to help pay for new plants. we travel to florida and go to garden centers, purchase, pack and ship plants to arrive 2 days after we get home.. last year we did Cactus… and they have survived well and are just about to go back outside. of course this is a big job… watering and trimming of the plants… inspecting for bugs.. but it has been a part of me since I was 15 at my first job… in the plant department of a store…. I am 66… and go to work 2 days a week for a Greenhouse April & May.. my hourly pay is of course more plants……

  6. Hi Peggy – Yes, you do have an operation going on there. It takes me some time to water all my plants but I enjoy it. I used to work at a nursery in Berkeley, CA so I do recommend seeking advice at a reputable garden center. I took home way too many plants but it’s a wonderful addiction. Nell

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