Did you see a beautiful plant in the store, couldn’t resist buying it and then it died on you? Well, before you start saying you’re so bad at growing plants that even artificial ones die around you, let me begin by resetting that confidence level. While some plants require more care, the following hard to kill houseplants will thrive as long as you apply some basic care rules.

First, let’s take a closer look at the best hard to kill houseplants and then figure out what exactly you need to do to keep them alive. We will discuss each plant below and tell you how to take care of it. If you want to learn more about how to care about these hard to kill plants, check out our indoor garden guides and tutorials.

Our List of 10 Hard to Kill Houseplants that Anyone Can Grow

1. Hindu Rope Plant – Hoya compacta

best hard to kill houseplants - hoya compacta

Source: Myra’s Green Space via Instagram

The Hindu rope plant is an interesting gnarled and curvy hanging plant. It has cupped leaves and a vine-like growth habit. Being a succulent, it will go dormant and stop growing if there is a severe drought. Just so you know, caring for succulents or cacti is the easiest way to start your home plant caring adventure. These plants require little to no maintenance and it is very, very hard to fail and kill them.

Once watered it rehydrates and continues growing. As long as the Hindu plant can get three to four hours of indirect sunlight per day, it can eventually reach the floor from a lofty hanger. Although it is slow-growing, it is also pretty hard to kill houseplant recommended for beginners. Even if your succulent plant’s leaves will fall off for one reason or another, don’t worry! We have a guide for that as well!

Hoya plants are among the most common houseplants and some of the hardest to kill, no matter how much you neglect it.

2. Cast Iron Plant – Aspidistra spp.

hard to kill Cast Iron Plant

Source: Nick Pileggi via Instagram

Named after the heavy-duty iron-carbon alloy cast iron, this plant can withstand a huge amount of neglect. Poor soil, drought, dust, and even lack of light. A brightly lit room is good, but not absolutely necessary. Cast-iron plants are fine with very low levels of light and should be kept out of the direct sun, as it may burn its leaves. There are even some variegated species available.

Having a reputation of being nearly indestructible, these plants require only potting soil if you grow them indoors. It can grow 24 inches tall and wide when it reaches its mature state. It blooms in early summer and yields cream flowers with maroon shades on their inner surface. Remember this is a flowering perennial that needs little care and maintenance.

Your pets are also safe around this plant. It is non-toxic to cats or dogs, even if they somehow get the feeling it is a good idea to chew on it.

3. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum spp.

Peace Lily indoor pot arrangement

Source: Kim Hugh via Instagram

This one is so easy to grow, it’s sometimes referred to as a ‘closet plant.’ Like most other indoor plants, it enjoys medium to low light. More peace lilies are killed by overwatering than underwatering. As these plants are very drought tolerant, you can wait until the plant starts to droop before watering; you will not harm the plant and will manage to not overwatering it. Remember that overwatering or underwatering may lead to some problems in succulents, so read some guides to make sure you do not kill plants that are hard to kill.

One thing you should remember about the peace lily, however, is that it can be bothersome to pets. While it is not technically a poisonous flower, you should keep your cat far away from the pot. The pollen of the plant may be irritating for pets, children, and even adults.

4. Ponytail Palm – Beaucarnea recurvata

best hard to kill plants - ponytail palm

Source: Online Houseplants via Instagram

It is one of those plants that are somewhat poorly named, yes it resembles a ponytail but it is certainly not a palm tree, it is a succulent. They need bright light, but not direct sun.

They can tolerate dry conditions well, considering the low humidity of most indoor conditions, they adapt very well.

For more info on how to care for this plant, check out Florina’s guide on how to care for succulents and cacti. If you want more information on amazing succulents to care for in your home, check out this guide right here!

5. Air-Plant – Tillandsia spp.

air plant in a sea shell

Source: Lulu’s Green Forest via Instagram

The Air Plant is a regular presence in indoor gardens and we love it for its simple, yet sophisticated look. Here is a quick piece of info on this gorgeous plant!

Tillandsias are epiphytes in nature, which means they use their roots to attach to trees and rocks, and not to absorb nutrients from the soil. The nutrients and water required for growth are then absorbed through their leaves, as they are covered in specialized scales called trichomes. Caring for an air plant is super easy, as they are very forgiving. All you need to know is that they need nutrients and moisture, and they can’t survive only with air, even if their name says so.

You can hang air plants on a string, mount them to a piece of wood, or just set them in an empty bowl. They only need bright light and air, for the most part. If the air in your house is very dry, an occasional misting or soaking in the sink for an hour every two to three weeks is all it needs. Here is a short guide on how to care for air plants:

  • Once a week watering is the best way to go about air plants; some varieties can go easily without water for even two weeks;
  • Keep your air plants out of direct sunlight, as many love shade (they grow under the canopy of trees). If you have T. cyanea or T. lindenii, keep them in the morning light that is not too intense;
  • Make sure you keep your air plants at a room temperature colder than 45 degrees. If you live in a warm area (Zone 9 or warmer), you can also grow air plants outside on the porch or a balcony. Just keep it dry during the winter and it all should be fine.

6. Prayer Plant – Maranta leuconeura

Prayer plant arrangement

Source: Dee’s Plants via Instagram

This plant earned its common name from the fact that the leaves tend to fold together at night, like a pair of praying hands. You can literally sit and watch them move. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and can quickly kill the plant. The prayer plant prefers bright but indirect sunlight and is generally tolerant of lower light spots.

The prayer plant prefers well-drained soils and requires high humidity to thrive. It is an excellent choice for your bathroom. Speaking of bathrooms, you may also want to check out our guide on plants that can remove air toxins and pollutants.

Another great benefit of the Prayer Plant is that it is not toxic for humans or pets, not even if your cat decides to chew on it (not that we recommend you let cats in the proximity of houseplants), so you can enjoy it with no worries.

7. Asparagus Fern – Asparagus setaceus

a hard to kill plant - the asparagus fern

Source: DOR & TAN via Instagram

This is not the weed that everybody loves to hate. It is not even a true fern. This plant will tolerate bright sunny spots or dimly lit corners. It has an attractive vine-like habit and grows easily indoors. It thrives with a daily misting.

While asparagus ferns have no problem taking in the full sun, keep in mind that their leaves tend to yellow if you forget them at the tan parlor (and by that, we mean the sunniest windowsill you have in the house). These plants get along the best with the morning sun and the afternoon shade. They also tolerate well high temperatures and will grow stronger in the heat of the summer, to shame the other houseplants in your indoor garden that wilt during the hot season.

8. Rubber Tree Plant – Ficus elastica

rubber tree plant in white pot

Source: Casey Collects Plants via Instagram

Yes, this is the one that the ant can’t move. This plant tolerates low light, but the leaves will fade in color. It is best to place it in a bright, filtered window. The worst thing to do to a rubber tree plant is overwatering it. It is best to stay on the dry side, as the rubber tree is very drought resistant. We have talked about the Rubber plant when we discussed the most common house plants to choose from, but here is a short care guide so you don’t forget:

  • It needs bright, indirect light;
  • Make sure you plant it in rich, well-draining soil;
  • Make sure the plant is moist during the growing season;
  • Keep the little ones and the pets away from it, as it is toxic.

See how easy it is to care for this plant?

9. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum

The Chlorophytum comosum - a hard to kill plant

Source: glambydeyaplants via Instagram

One of the most common, popular, and easiest to grow of all houseplants, the Spider Plant also makes the list of the most popular potted plants that people grow indoors. Make sure that no direct sunlight reaches it. When your Spider Plant starts to wilt slightly, just water. Spider plants make wonderful hanging plants for that drab corner of the room or if you have nosey pets. Here are some highlights from our Spider-Plant care guide!

  • It needs rich, well-draining soil;
  • Let the top layer of soil in the pot dry out completely before you water the plant;
  • It fares best in bright, indirect sunlight;
  • The plant thrives in a room temperature of 65-75 °F during the day;
  • The difficulty of care is almost non-existent and it is also safe to keep around children and pets.

 

10. Snake Plant – Sansevieria spp.

Snake plant in an aquamarin pot

Source: Plants Across Melbourne via Instagram

This plant goes by other names, including ‘Mother-in-Law Tongue’ and ‘Devil’s Tongue’. As one of the most common houseplants in existence, it does best in bright light but tolerates low light levels indoors as well. It is another of the house plants that will enjoy being in the bathroom or other high humidity space. Let’s see the main Snake Plant care tips picked from our complete guide on how to care for snake plants:

  • This is a very drought-tolerant plant, so make sure you water it only after the top layer of the soil in the planter dried out completely;
  • It loves well-drained soil, obviously;
  • As the light goes, bright indirect light is ideal. However, like many plants that are almost impossible to kill, it will thrive in poorly lit environments as well;
  • It does great in temperatures of 60-80 °F during the day;
  • Keep kids and pets away from it, as it is toxic.

Did you know that there were plenty of Snake Plant varieties? Check out this guide on Snake Plants to pick the one that is the most appealing to you! Since all these Sansevieria types literally thrive on neglect, make a purpose of adding one or two to your interior design without worrying you might kill them by forgetting they are even there!

Selecting Your Hard to Kill Houseplant

Before shelling the $$ for that gorgeous perennial at Home Depot, stop for a second and ask yourself some questions. Will the lighting in my home or room be sufficient? Will I have enough time and motivation to dedicate to it? Will it make a great air purifier or just a crowd-pleaser? Is this plant safe for my kids or pets? If the plant ticks all the boxes, consider buying it.

Select only plants that appear to be insect and disease-free. Avoid plants that have:

  • Yellow leaves,
  • Brown leaf margins,
  • Wilted leaves,
  • Spots or blotches, and
  • Spindly growth.

Choose plants that really appeal to you. If you don’t like the plant, you won’t want to take care of it. Also, take a look at our guide on gorgeous but deadly flowers. We don’t recommend beginner gardeners to host any of these killer plants, at least not until they develop a green thumb and enough attention to detail.

Hard to Kill Houseplants: FAQs

Some people, a few friends included, are genuine plant killers. Leave them alone with a houseplant and they will suck the life out of it without even trying. However, some plants are so resilient, they are almost impossible to kill. If you are new to caring for a houseplant or want to learn more about them, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions.

1. What are easiest-to-grow and keep alive houseplants?

If you do not have a green thumb at all or you forget to feed your pets constantly (let alone water a plant), here are some of the most resilient and almost unkillable plants you can enjoy in your home: the rubber plant, the spider plant, the English ivy, air plants, and cast-iron plants. For more information, take a look at our guide on the most common houseplants on the market, pick a few you like, make sure the ones you chose are very hard to kill houseplants and give them a try!

2. What is the easiest houseplant I can take care of?

As a beginner, we recommend you look at these hard to kill plants and some succulents as well. We recommend snake plants and spider plants, cacti, peace lily, and a few flowering succulents like aloe vera. Heartleaf Philodendron, Pothos and a bunch of herbs to grow indoor year-round are also good ideas, especially if you don’t have the time to dedicate to their care.

3. What is the best plant to keep indoors to clean the air?

When it comes to keeping plants indoors to purify the air and remove toxins, we go with NASA on this one. Our recommendations include the spider plant, the snake plant as hard to kill plants, and also the peace lily, the English ivy, or the Boston fern as plants requiring some gardening knowledge and skills.

Bottom Line

Houseplants can brighten your mood, enhance your living space, and give you a break from your daily activities. These ten hard to kill houseplants are just a few of the many different ones available on the market today. Even if you’re a beginner or huge black thumb, rest assured that these plants can take a lot of environmental abuse and neglect.

So, don’t give up on the idea of getting yourself a plant just because the first pretty one died on you. Pick a perennial, follow the few ground rules, and you’ll be safe. We also recommend you some astonishing flowering succulents. While they do need some care, they are generally low maintenance, they propagate easily, and offer you plenty of joy!

Hit our social media page and brag about your gorgeous undying plants. You are our inspiration!

About the Author - Darren Sheriff

Darren Sheriff is an SCNLA Certified Professional Nurseryman, A Charleston County Master Gardener Emeritus and is the manager for Terra Bella Garden Center in North Charleston, SC. With his 220+ Camellias, he is an active member and president of the Coastal Carolina Camellia Society, the South Carolina State Director for the American Camellia Society, the founder of the Lowcountry Fruit Growers Society as well as a past president.

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One thought on “The Best 10 Hard to Kill Houseplants For Beginner Gardeners

  • Who doesn t love a plant that looks good, is hard to kill and can actually be useful! Keep one at your desk, or in the house and you ll be reaping the benefits in no time. Snap off a leaf and use the gel to help with minor burns you can even pop the leaf into a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to five days. Don t leave your aloe plant in direct sunlight, and give it a good soak every couple of weeks. This pretty little fern has frilly leaves and dangly fronds that will jazz up any home or study. It loves a bit of humidity, but doesn t cope well with direct sunlight. You could even pop it somewhere like the verandah or deck in summer, then move it inside when the temperatures drop. If they start to look a bit droppy when winter hits, don t panic. It just takes them a little while to adjust. Find a nice stream of sunlight and let it live there a while, and you ll soon have your pretty fern back!

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