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 some basic care rules are applied.

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.

Our List of Hard to Kill Houseplants

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.

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 a pretty hard to kill houseplant recommended for beginners.

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 of 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 direct sun, as it may burn its leaves. There are even some variegated species available.

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 over watering than under watering. As these plants are very drought tolerant, you can wait until the plant starts to droop before watering; you will not harm to the plant and will manage to not over watering it.

4. Ponytail Palm – Beaucarnea recurvata

best hard to kill plants - ponytail palm

Source: Online Houseplants via Instagram

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.

5. Air-Plant – Tillandsia spp.

air plant in a sea shell

Source: Lulu’s Green Forest via Instagram

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.

6. Prayer Plant – Maranta leuconeura

Prayer plant arrangement

Source: Dee’s Plants via Instagram

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.

7. Asparagus Fern – Asparagus setaceus

a hard to kill plant - the asparagus fern

Source: DOR & TAN via Instagram

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.

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. 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.

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. No direct sunlight and when they start to wilt slightly, just water. Spider plants make wonderful hanging plants for that drab corner of the room or if you have nosey 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 a houseplant, 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.

Selecting Your 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.


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.

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.


One thought on “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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