Looking to improve your house plant game a little bit? Are you tired of investing your time and money into plants that end up dying too quickly? Would you like to learn about some of the longest living house plants available, as well as some trusted methods of keeping your cherished green friends alive and healthy? Keep reading to learn all you need to know in order to have the loveliest collection of house plants on the block.
What Helps to Keep Plants Alive for Longer
Some people worry that if they aren’t a “natural” at tending plants, then they will never be successful at it. Here’s a little known secret: While some people are indeed born with a “green thumb”, others simply learn how to care for plants as they grow up. Both types of people are able to have a thriving garden with ease!
Start with being realistic about your house plants. If you have never tended plants before, start with one or two pots at first. Don’t just go out and buy ten! Chances are you will be overwhelmed by this and not have much success. Another tip is to start with an option off of our list at the bottom of this article. These are legitimately some of the easiest plants to care for, and if you are able to keep them alive, you will be encouraged to keep it up and add more plants to your “family” in good time.
The best rule of thumb for successful gardening at any level is to Pay Attention. Just take a look at the plant every day. No need to take notes or spend 20 minutes on it, but familiarize yourself with its appearance and note any new growth, dry soil, discolored leaves, etc. Then, address them with care.
How to Avoid Killing Your Plants and Common Plant Death Causes
Here is a tried and true checklist to go over whenever introducing a new plant into your home:
- Do you have the right soil?
Believe it or not, all dirt is not the same. There are many different blends of potting soil and topsoil available depending on what you’re growing and the conditions in which you are growing them. Take the time to learn what type of soil your house plants need in order to grow its very best.
- Do you have the right water routine?
It’s very easy to over water or underwater your plants if you don’t know what you’re doing. Since they are in contained pots, excess water cannot just keep sinking into the earth and disperse. Inside, too much water will drown certain plants, while not enough water will dry some out.
- How are your pots?
In general, it’s nice to have pots that have drainage in the bottom. If your pots did not come with drainage holes, it’s fairly easy to drill a couple in prior to planting. Your pots should also be the proper size for their pot. Too big and your plant will take up unnecessary space, too small and your plant will outgrow the space in short order. Plant so that there are a couple of inches of space between the edges of the plant and the edge of the pot.
- Do you have the proper lighting?
Now is the time to learn about the difference between direct and indirect sunlight, as well as to time the amount of sun a particular plant receives in terms of hours. Plants come with specific sunlight instructions for a reason, so don’t just estimate it.
Tips for Plant Longevity
The #1 best piece of advice is to learn what your plant needs and then give it to them. Instead of trying to get your plant to simply survive in your home, create the ideal environment for your plants, and watch them thrive! With time and patience, you will have the longest living house plants you’ve ever had!
- Select plants that suit you.
This means, if you like to water and tend to your house plants, select plants that need a lot of water. If you are forgetful, new to plants, or travel a lot, pick plants that like it dry or that are more forgiving if you forget a watering.
- Opt for plants that originate relatively close to your climate.
Yes, you can live in the North, nurture tropical plants along in atriums, and watch them limp along, but not everyone has the energy to fight that battle. To save yourself some grief, choose plants that are in your exact Planting Zone, or just a couple numbers away.
The Top Six of the Longest Living House Plants
1. Spider Plant
Spider plants are a classic starter plant. They are green and spiny, and they grow little “babies” at the base which you can then re-pot and add green elsewhere in your home as you grow more comfortable with plants.
2. Air Plants
Air plants are usually small and adorable, and they add a little splash of life in unique places. Take a look at a few, and you will see what the draw is! Since they collect the moisture from the air around them, they are virtually maintenance-free. (They do benefit from an occasional spritz of water and a general separation if new shoots grow off the main plant.)
Pothos is a member of the Araceae/Arum family and is very tolerant in general. Also called Devil’s Ivy, pothos is often mistaken for philodendron (another popular and long-lasting house plant). This is an evergreen plant that requires moderate light and water, but it will forgive forgetful beginners and bounce back with some TLC, even when it looks completely dead.
4. Rubber Tree
Although it is a tree and wild species can grow 100′ tall, the rubber tree is an ideal and manageable house plant. Shaping is up to you, and it’s all in the pruning because rubber trees can also be trimmed into a more bush-like shape with time. They require bright light, a large pot and plenty of space to “branch out”.
5. Succulents and Cacti
While these are two different types of plants, they are very similar in terms of ideal climate and watering needs. These two groups of plants are ideal for the low maintenance tenders out there because they won’t even bat an eye if you forget their water for weeks on end! Both Succulents and Cacti love the sun! Place them in direct sunlight and let them bask for hours on end. Water weekly, but pay attention to the amount so you do not leave them in any standing moisture to rot. Specific and popular examples of these two groups are barrel cacti, jade plants and aloe vera.
6. Snake Plant
Snake plants are super accommodating plants and are ideal for anyone new to growing things. Fortunately, they are also really cool looking and unique, two-toned plants! Like many others on this list, the snake plants (also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) propagate new shoots, so be sure to give it a big enough pot.
Final Thoughts on the Longest Living House Plants….
Here is one final thought to ponder. Trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to adapt your routine. If you are watching your plant every day and notice it is wilting for example, adjust its water and light – even if the book or website you’re following for advice says differently. You’re the one who is running the show. If you pay attention to the signs that your plant is giving you and modify when needed, you will surely have some of the happiest and longest living house plants you’ve ever grown.