low maintenance houseplants

What are the best indoor plants to incorporate into your home? The answer can certainly depend on a number of factors like lighting conditions, temperature, environment and many more. There are some plants that adjust to most conditions a lot better than others so if you’re just starting out with plants or find yourself too busy, why not take the first step with low maintenance houseplants?

Whether your style is minimalist, modern, masculine or feminine, flowers and fauna can brighten up your home, improve air quality, and put a little life into your living arrangement. However, for many who are constantly on-the-move, beautiful flowers can soon morph into wilted eyesores if they are not given proper love and care on a daily basis.

Looking for indoor plants that are compatible with the realities of limited budgets and busy schedules? Read on to see our favorite 7 low maintenance houseplants with tips for how to incorporate them into beautiful home designs!

1. Dracaena Lisa

low maintenance houseplants Dracaena Lisa
Reading nook by Decorilla interior designer, Christine M.

With dark green leaves and stems, the Dracaena Lisa is commonly used as an interior floor shade plant. The plant is very low maintenance, and can survive with minimal light and can even go a few days without watering. The plant is also very slow growing, so owners don’t need to worry about returning home to a scene from Jumanji after a vacation.

Because of it’s height and it’s resemblance to bamboo, Lisa is a simple yet stylish plant that captures attention. Placed in an empty room corner, it makes for a beautiful organic accent for any style.

TIP: Brown tips are a sign of overwatering or inconsistent watering, but if they appear just give them a quick snip and they will continue to grow as normal.

2. Jade Plant

low maintenance houseplants jade
Living room by Decorilla interior designer Roberto D.
low maintenance houseplants jade plant
Jade plant from My City Plants

Known fondly as the money plant or friendship tree, the Jade plant — an easy growing succulent believed to offer calming effects in any space — can bring good luck and a zen feeling to any home. A native of South America, the Jade plant’s oval leaves sprouting from thick green stalks can bloom into shrub-like plants when treated with love and respect. These can reach heights of five feet when grown indoors.

Like most succulents, Jade plants require medium to high light to flourish, so try placing them in simple ceramic pots near windows to enhance your transitional design style or groom in bonsai style for contemporary or globally inspired rooms.

Not only is Jade a popular choice for a low maintenance houseplant, it is also a popular accent color in design. Check out these examples of  how to incorporate natural decor into your home to go with your new low maintenance houseplants.

TIP: If your jade plant begins leaning too far to one side, to make it less top heavy try placing its plant pot into a larger pot and filling the space between with fresh soil. This will give your jade plant the support it needs without risking getting soil all over the place when changing pots.

3. Ponytail palm

low maintenance houseplants ponytail palm
Accessories design by Decorilla interior designer, Christine M.
low maintenance houseplants small ponytail palm
Sleek bedroom design by Decorilla interior designer, Ibrahim H.

Also known as the bottle palm, bottle tree or elephant’s foot tree, the ponytail palm has narrow leathery leaves that cascade from it’s thick water-holding stem, making it a funky addition that brings a little tropical charm to any home.

This semi-succulent is native to the Mexican desert and can survive dry winter homes — or forgetful owners — easily. If you want your plant to grow taller, be sure to place in a pot with space to grow, but beware that this plant can grow as tall as 20 feet, so be sure to choose a pot which is appropriate for the space you are trying to fill. Planted in sleek neutral pots, near to windows providing the medium to high light needed, ponytail palms are perfect for contemporary style spaces that value the importance of shape and dramatic impact.

TIP: Keep the leaves clean, and if you notice they are browning, it could indicate that you are overwatering your plant. As a desert native, this plant thrives best when watered every few days, as it stores water in its base as a water reservoir. If you are unsure about how often to water your palm, let the topsoil layer dry out completely before the next watering.

4. Air Plants (Tillandsia) and Succulents 

low maintenance houseplant succulents
Design by Decorilla interior designer, Mary Ann R.
low maintenance houseplant succulent
Design by Decorilla interior designer, Mary Ann R.

With their ability to grow without soil, air plants may be the least demanding of houseplants.

Air plants use their roots to anchor themselves to an object, which allows them to grow in a variety of locations naturally. This flexibility of growth allows air plants to be used in a variety of environments making them popular as decorations for homes and offices.

Air plants best flourish in bright, indirect sunlight or under fluorescent artificial lighting such as under a lightbulb or lamp. Placed in glass terrariums, small geometric vases or hooked on walls, air plants offer subtle greenery to a room. For added impact, group them together in an arrangement.

While air plants are known for being easy to grow, they still do need attention to survive and live a healthy life.  Mist your air plants with water once a week to keep them nice and healthy. If taken care of properly, Tillandsia can live for several years and will even provide “pups” for additional years of enjoyment!

TIP: Following each watering, Tillandsias should be given enough light and air circulation to dry in 4 hours or less. Do not keep plants constantly wet or moist as this will limit their growth.

5. ZZ plant

low maintenance houseplant zz plant
ZZ Plant from My City Plants

Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ for short, is truly one of the toughest houseplants around, and as such is the perfect choice both at home or in the office. The ZZ is practically indestructible and can survive months of neglect, infrequent watering and low light, and still stay looking fresh!

The plant’s shiny, oval shaped waxy green leaves take the form of a stylized feather and have a healthy green sheen which can make a great desk centerpiece, or nice addition to sparkle up a windowless room or bathroom. The plant acts as a great air purifier from outside pollution and can be placed almost anywhere in a house, as it can survive with even the most minimal light from fluorescent bulbs or lamps.

TIP: Much like the cactus family, ZZ need less rather than more water, and can actually die from overhydration. If leaves start turning yellow, this means the plant is receiving too much water, so water the plant only when the soil has completely dried out.

6. Heartleaf Philodendron

low maintenance houseplant Heartleaf Philodendron
Bedroom design by Decorilla interior designer, Christine M.

The Heartleaf Philodendron, otherwise known as the Sweetheart plant, is another houseplant that is very easy to care for. The plant prefers indirect light, and will offer clear signals as to whether it needs more water or not: yellow leaves mean no more water please, brown leaves mean it’s thirsty!

The plant’s heart-shaped, shiny leaves first bloom bronze, before quickly turning green and make for a great addition as a table or hanging plant which can really add character to a room.

The plant grows best in low to medium light, so doesn’t need to be placed next to a window or balcony, offering countless options for interior design.

When left unclipped, the plant will try to climb or trail like a vine and can grow up to 4 feet long, so it would look great beside a bookcase or pillar for a real jungle effect. The heartleaf will also purify your house from nasty pollution, while looking great while doing so.

TIP: While the heartleaf may try to climb its way into the center stage, be sure to keep the plant and its vines away from children and animals as its leaves contain calcium oxalate which can cause inflammation and itching if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes.

7. Snake plant

low maintenance houseplants snake plant

The snake plant (Sansevieria), also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or ribbon plant, is a succulent green plant with thick, waxy leaves. It loves being pot bound and can be neglected for weeks at a time, making it one of the best options for forgetful first time home gardeners. We’re not the only ones that love the snake plant, it also made both HGTV and Today’s top low maintenance houseplant list.

The Snake plant’s green leaves maintain a fresh look even after days without watering, and have a unique architectural shape that serves as an organic sculpture of sorts, which looks great on a mantelpiece or fireplace.

This plant can survive low light levels, infrequent waters and has few problems with insect infestations. NASA research has even shown that snake plants are able to help keep the air inside your home clean, and remove harmful toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene.

TIP: Put them in indirect sunlight and don’t water them too much, especially during the winter. In fact, it’s better to let these plants dry out some between waterings.

With so many options for low maintenance plants, there is no reason to deny your home beautifying botanicals to really add character. Beyond adding to the aesthetic of a space through their shapes, colors, and vessels, house plants also have the important function of keeping air purified, keeping your home fresh and looking great, even when you forget to look after them.

Still wondering if they are right for you? Schedule a free consultation with Decorilla to see which options are right for you and to ensure you get the best results possible.

By Decorilla interior designer, Christine Martin and owner of My City Plants, Juliette Vassilkioti

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6 years ago

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