Planting shelf with houseplants and herbs

How to Not Kill Your Houseplants

Last Updated: June 13, 2022

Keep your indoor plants thriving with our guide to the hardest houseplants to kill, plus tips to keep your plants alive.

You’ve accidentally annihilated yet another houseplant. Welcome to the club! We meet on Tuesdays. Real talk, though: If you’re having trouble keeping your drama queen monstera or persnickety banana plant alive, don’t let it get you down. Some plants are notoriously difficult to care for, and the only thing you’re guilty of is being a botanical over-achiever.

So don’t exile yourself to a life of fake plants just yet (no shade if eco-friendly faux greenery is your thing, though). We’ve compiled a list of nearly indestructible house plants that are ideal for folks whose green thumbs never fully bloomed, plus a few tips and tricks to help your plant babies thrive.

7 Best Plants for Indoors

When it comes to plants you can’t kill, low maintenance is the name of the game. While complete neglect — aka leaving an aloe in your closet to perish with nary a drop of water or spot of sunlight — will result in plant death, these indoor plants are surprisingly resilient.

  • ZZ plant: ZZ plants, also called Zanzibar Bem, are perhaps the showiest of the bunch with thick stems and showy foliage. They love indirect light and infrequent watering — once a month is plenty.
  • Pothos: Pothos is a trailing vine that’s super easy to care for. It thrives in indirect light and goes for long stretches without being watered. A good rule of thumb is to let the soil dry out completely before watering — you’ll know it needs a zip when the leaves start to droop.
  • Mother in law’s tongue: Scary name, strong plant. Mother in law’s tongue doesn’t need a ton of light or water to thrive — just plop ‘er in a shady corner and give her a drink every couple of weeks.
  • Philodendron: Philodendrons had their fifteen minutes of fame in the 70s, but they’re making a comeback. These are hardy plants that do well with a bit of neglect. Just give ‘em indirect light and water once a week to keep them happy.
  • Aloe vera: Aloe is the undisputed queen of indoor plants. It likes indirect light and infrequent waterings — a good soak once every two weeks is the perfect amount for these gorgeous succulents.
  • Boston fern: Boston ferns like indirect light and damp soil. They make great hanging plants, but take care to keep them away from drafty windows and heating vents, because they don’t like drastic temperature changes.
  • Jade plant: These succulents like bright light, so a sunny window works best. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry, but don’t worry if you forget now and then — jade plants hold water in their leaves so they can put up with a bit of forgetfulness.


What is indirect light?

Indirect light is sunlight that passes through a window, curtain, or is reflected off of walls and other surfaces. Most indoor lighting is indirect light. Plants that like low light, partial shade, or full shade thrive in indirect lighting.

Sprout your babies from the ground up with our ever-growing collection of plant seeds.

5 Indoor Plant Care Tips

It’s easy to get jaded after numerous houseplant failures, but a little botanical education can help you spot problems before they become full-blown disasters. Skip the trial and error with the signs of common plant parent mistakes and how to fix ‘em.

1. Overwatering

The signs

  • Yellowed or wilting leaves
  • Stems, leaves, or flowers are moldy
  • Brown tips on leaves

The fix

Follow the watering instructions for your plant. If the problem persists, it could be a soil issue — add sand to the soil to promote better drainage.

2. Underwatering

The signs

  • Dry, crunchy leaves
  • Droopy, lifeless leaves

The fix

Set an alarm on your phone or mark your calendar with the days your plants need to be watered. If keeping tabs on plant thirst isn’t your cup of tea, opt for houseplants that don’t mind a dry spell.

3. Pesky pests

The signs

  • Bugs on the leaves, flowers, or stems
  • Webs under the leaves
  • Spotted or misshapen leaves

The fix

Learn get rid of spider mites if you notice webs on your plant. You can spray the plant with neem oil or make a DIY insect killing soap that’ll nix insects without harming your greenery.

4. Not enough light

The signs

  • Faded, droopy leaves
  • Abnormally small leaves
  • Stopped or stunted growth

The fix

Look for a sunnier spot to keep your plant. South and west-facing windows get the most sunlight, while north and east-facing windows get the least.

5. Nutrient deficiency

The signs

  • Yellow leaves or leaves with yellow edges
  • Light discoloration between veins
  • Misshapen leaves

The fix

Different nutrient deficiencies can cause different symptoms, but a good overall solution is to use an indoor plant fertilizer. Frequency varies between fertilizers, so follow the product instructions for best results.

The Best Tools for Indoor Gardening

All garden supplies are not made equal. Here’s what you’ll need to set your houseplants up for success.

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The Best Indoor Gardening Kits

Let’s talk grow kits! Grow kits are an oft-overlooked way to have tasty herbs, plump tomatoes, and cool houseplants without investing a ton of time and energy. These starter packs have all the goodies you need to get an indoor garden up and running – like soil, seeds, pots, and plant markers. We especially love the tried-and-true microgreens kit, but options like desert rose bonsai trees and pear cacti are great for urban dwellers who’d rather have a taste of the desert.

Tips and tricks for indoor grow kits

Experiencing technical difficulties? Don’t worry, we won’t tell you the problem with your grow kit is that you planted it under the wrong moon (although the waxing moon is the best time to plant, if you’re wondering). Here are two ways you can get the most success out of your indoor grow kits.

Give your seeds a soak

A common issue with grow kits is that the seeds won’t sprout. Seeds are dormant until they detect enough moisture to germinate, but you can trick them into opening. Set your seeds in a small bowl, then fill the bowl with hot water from your sink. Let the seeds soak for 12 to 24 hours — but no more than 48 hours. After they’ve had a good soak, plant them as per the directions on your grow kit.

Tell mold to stick it where the sun don’t shine

Another issue grow kits face is moldy sprouts – but there’s an easy fix. Mold tends to grow on plants that aren’t getting enough sunlight or air circulation, so make sure your grow kit is in a sunny area — south or west facing windows are the best for this — and place a fan near the plants to improve air flow.

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