Hearty Houseplants for Neglectful Plant Parents


Every January, I look forward to watching the Rose Parade. I love flowers and I miss them over the winter.

Obviously, I should grow some houseplants. Then I can have beautiful plants and flowers all year long. Houseplants can really make a home feel more inviting. Best of all, houseplants can help combat indoor air pollution. What’s not to love?

The problem is that I am a serial plant killer. I do moderately okay with a small outdoor garden in the summer only because the rain waters my plants. My indoor plants have no such hope of regular if unintentional watering. As if the threat of drought wasn’t enough, my houseplants are also in constant danger from my children and cat. Let’s just say that everything in my house gets knocked over on a regular basis. Also, there are not a lot of sunny spots in my house for plants. With no effort, I managed to kill my son’s marigold seedlings in a few short days. Despite all these horrible conditions, I have found a few hardy houseplants that can survive.

Aloe Vera

By some miracle, I have successfully grown an aloe vera plant in my home for several years. I hardly ever remember to water it, but it doesn’t seem to care. My kids and my cat have knocked it off the fireplace mantle several times with no ill effect. In an effort to keep the aloe vera plant away from my kids and my cat, I moved it to a dark, murky corner of my bedroom. Again, amazingly, it continues to survive. As an added bonus, I can cut off a leaf and squeeze out some of the aloe gel whenever I get a slight burn. The gel helps my wound instantly begin to feel better!

aloe vera and pothos houseplants


I recently read a magazine article that said potted pothos is impossible to kill. That is what I require out of a houseplant! Pothos is touted as an easy way to begin raising houseplants precisely because it is so easy to grow. They can grow in hardly any light at all. They can grow in poor soil or even in a vase of water. Pothos is, however, considered to be toxic to pets and children. Eating the plant is rarely fatal, but ingestion will cause unpleasant symptoms, so make sure to put this plant out of reach. A hanging basket is a good option.

Succulent Plants

I have also had luck growing a random assortment of succulent plants. There are many options, and they all tend to require minimal watering. Often, a few mists from a spray bottle every now and then is all they need. I also like that I can keep a few succulents in very small pots. I have several of them on my kitchen windowsill. They are out of my children’s reach and receive plenty of sunlight. Also, my poor plants stand a better chance of getting watered when I see them every time I wash my dishes!

succulent plant and geranium


Geraniums are one of the rare flowers that can survive my neglect. They need plenty of sunlight but can tolerate my infrequent watering schedule. After the flowers are done blooming, just cut them off to encourage new blooms. I love that geraniums come in a wide array of different colors. You can pick one to match your home decor!

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are known for their resilience. They will start to droop when they go too long without water, which is a great visual reminder to water them. Just add some water and they will perk right up. Peace lilies also grow well in shade, which gives you lots of placement options in your house. As an added bonus, peace lilies are also great at purifying the air. They can help neutralize toxic gasses in your home, such as carbon monoxide.

peace lily and snake plant are hearty houseplants

Snake Plant

The snake plant is extremely difficult to kill. Perhaps it will stand a chance in my house! It has lovely green leaves which look quite dramatic. They don’t require very much watering, which is perfect for me. Snake plants can grow in direct sunlight or low light. They don’t seem to care. Snake plants also come in many different varieties.

Air Plants

My kids brought home a couple of air plants last year from a program at a garden center. As usual, I was worried that I would kill them in short order. Instead, they have managed to survive. Air plants don’t require soil, which is nice when your children and pets tend to dump over flowerpots. They absorb moisture from the air, so you only need to mist them occasionally. I also keep my air plants on my kitchen windowsill to avoid my cat. They seem quite happy.

air plant and bean shoot


I bought some dried beans from the grocery store for a school project. I had a bunch of leftover beans, so I sprouted a few in a wet paper towel and then transplanted them into an empty flowerpot. (It was empty because I had killed my son’s marigolds. Oops!) The beans grew quickly and I really enjoyed watching their development. They died when I went out of town for a week. Luckily, I didn’t care because I still have a ton of beans left! Beans are cheap and I can just start over again. If I am extra motivated in the spring, I will transplant my bean shoots outdoors to my garden and see what happens.

No matter what houseplant you decide to grow, I recommend a visit to your local garden store. The experts there will help you pick out a plant that will best suit your needs. They will also be able to tell you exactly how you should care for your plant. Even if you are a neglectful houseplant parent, there are plenty of options that will survive to brighten up your home.


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