If your typical MO for greening up the look of your home is to buy whatever plant is featured on the supermarket checkout line, you may find that you’re not having much luck keeping them alive. Plants are as varied as people and need different levels of light, moisture and overall care if they are to thrive and contribute to both your home’s ambiance and air quality. Many types of foliage are able to survive less-than-perfect conditions as well as your lack of a green thumb. If you’re ready to cast off the nickname of plant killer, considering opting for these five varieties of sturdy, love-you-no-matter-what green souls.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) – Earmarked by a gracefully spiraling, white flower, the peace lily is able to thrive in sunlight ranging from indirect to non-existent and only requires once-a-week watering. Peace lilies make wonderful house-warming gifts and are also perfect in homes that have recently been painted, undergone renovation work or been graced by new furniture or draperies that off gas chemicals, as they readily absorb formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and a host of other airborne toxins. Keep these hard-working blossoms out of direct sunlight and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful blooms upon their maturation. As lovely as these easy-to-care for plants are, they are not appropriate for homes with pets as they can be toxic to cats and dogs.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata) – Seeming to thrive on neglect, snake plants still reward their owners with sword-shaped leaves that can grow up to four feet tall, making it a particularly attractive floor plant for homes without pets, as they also carry a toxin risk. A variety of succulent snake plants require very little watering and low to bright light.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata) – Sporting dark green, leather-textured leaves, the fiddle leaf fig thrives in moderate to bright light and can grow to tree size with very little extra attention. This plant requires low to moderate amounts of watering, making it a vacationer’s dream. Keep it away from the radiator as well as from pets and you’re good to go.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) – A pet-friendly beauty even the worst plant parents won’t be able to kill, spider plants are comfortable in temperatures ranging from hot to cold and do well under all lighting conditions except for direct sunlight. Spider plants require good quality soil and like to fit snugly in their pots. They are known for their delicate, white baby flowers and cascading striped leaves, making them perfect to use as hanging-basket window décor. Only water when the plant is dried out completely and then saturate the soil.
Neanthe Bella Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans) – Another pet-friendly favorite, these miniature palm trees require indirect to moderate sunlight and moist soil to keep growing up to three or four feet in height. If you’re feeling ambitious, add fertilizer twice a year for even better results.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.