Home & Garden

Houseplants for Anyone Without a Green Thumb

Houseplants

I have never been very good at keeping houseplants alive. I water them for a while and then forget about them. Or I water them too much and drown them. It never worked out well for the poor plants.

 I started several lemon trees from seed, and I was so proud of them, but they eventually all died because of my watering inconsistencies.

While I was pregnant with my daughter, my mom transplanted some spider plants for me to set around the house and purify the air. Since we would be bringing home a tiny baby in the middle of winter and couldn’t open the windows for fresh air, it sounded like a good plan!  It’s been a year now, and I’m pleased to report that all three spider plants are alive and well!  

Since then, I’ve accumulated a few more houseplants.  Our house really only has one good plant window, and I’m thankful that there is a big shelf right in front of it.  (This is part of the reason I like to get plants that can survive without direct sun.)

Houseplants

I generally don’t like to spend more than $5 on a houseplant. I like them, but there is still the risk that it will die, so I don’t really want to make a huge investment.  I would rather root from cuttings or replant babies from other plants. In fact, I have some peace lilies waiting on me at my mom’s house!

All of the plants I have get watered once a week.  Every Monday morning before breakfast Kiera and I water the plants. That way it is part of the routine, and it doesn’t get forgotten!

I take a mason jar around and give each plant a little drink, just enough to make the soil moist again. When Kiera gets a little older, she may need a cute little watering can to help me out. Something to keep in the back of my mind!

In fact, the common denominators with all of these plants are they don’t need a lot of water, they don’t need direct sunlight (or much light at all), and they are excellent at removing toxins from the air.

Houseplants

So, I’m going to give you the names of some of the plants I am currently keeping alive, and a little information about them that I’ve researched and gathered from various sources.

Spider Plant

I’ve had my spider plants the longest. I even keep one in my daughter’s bedroom.  (Thankfully, she hasn’t really tried to get after it and spill the dirt all over the carpet…yet.) 

My spider plants are growing pretty slowly, in my opinion. They aren’t thick and bushy like large spider plants, but they are getting there. I like smaller plants anyway, because they are cute and it’s so fun to watch them grow!

Spider plant
Spider plant

Rubber Plant

This is probably my most expensive plant purchase. (By expensive, I mean about $5.) I think it is beautiful though! The thing I find fascinating is that the leaves are covered by a reddish sheath which falls off when the leaves are ready to open.  This is the only plant I have that I’ve seen do that.

Rubber plant

Rubber plants can get pretty large! If kept indoors, they can grow to several feet, but they won’t get enormous. Mine is currently about 12 inches tall. To allow the plant to grow taller, repot into a larger container. If you want to keep it contained, simply don’t repot it.

Rubber plant

It is poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. 

Aloe Vera

This plant is multi-purpose! When I was younger and got sunburnt (which happened somewhat frequently) my mom would cut off a spike from her aloe plant and I would rub the goo on my burns. What a handy plant to have around!

Aloe Vera

I haven’t cut off any spikes to use the aloe from my plant yet, since it isn’t very big, but with a toddler around, it will be nice to have on hand in case of little cuts or sunburns!

Aloe Vera

This is such a popular houseplant. I’ll be honest…it isn’t my favorite looking plant.  But it is helpful to have around, so I’ll keep it!

Dracaena

The Dracaena and Dieffenbachia are my newest plant additions. They were on sale at Aldi for $2.99! I was so excited and I could not pass that up!

Dracaena

I saw a Facebook post a while back that I saved for later. It listed a bunch of air purifying and easy to care for plants. I remembered seeing Dracaena and Dieffenbachia on that list.

Dracaena

There are many different types of dracaena, and I’m not sure which I’ve got.  Some varieties can grow to 6 feet tall if repotted appropriately, but on the tag that came with my plant, it says it only gets to be about 12 inches.

Dracaena

 Dracaena plants are good air purifiers, and can actually filter lead particles from the air, if there are any present! Be careful having furry friends around, dracaena plants are toxic to pets if ingested. 

Dieffenbachia

Some varieties of dieffenbachia can grow up to 5 feet indoors (with an average range of 3-5 feet tall). It is nicknamed the dumb cane plant. 

Dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia are one of the best plants at filtering carbon dioxide. This is another poisonous plant.

My Dieffenbachia is looking a little squirrelly for now. It looks like it wants to spread out, but didn’t have enough room in its little 4 inch pot. We will see what it does in a more spacious container.

Succulents

I’ll be honest, I’m not good with succulents.  Very many succulents have met their end at my house. I think the problem is the soil I’ve used. It didn’t drain well enough. I also may not have given them the appropriate amount of water. 

Succulent
Succulent

I have one surviving succulent, living in a tea cup. It’s actually doing quite well!  I purchased it at an outdoor market, and I think the person selling them used the correct type of soil, which helps big time. 

Succulent

Snake Plant

My friend and I visited a greenhouse, and I was specifically looking for snake plants. But the only ones available were huge and at least $20!  I’m glad we asked about smaller snake plants, because the lady working the cash register snipped off a few leaves for me to try to root in water!

Snake plant

This was not a fast process, by any means. It took a few months for the leaves to get roots, and a few more months for little baby snake plants to start sprouting in the water.  (It was about 4-5 months for the whole process.) I did learn that if I just plant the rooted leaf with no babies started, it isn’t going to do anything.  

Snake plant

My snake plants are tiny, but I am very excited for them to get bigger and spread out so I can repot some of the babies!

Do you have any favorite house plants? Is there any easy to care for plants that you would recommend?  How about any more efficient air purifiers?  I would love suggestions!

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