Low-Maintenance House Plants + Tips for Keeping Them Alive

Love a good plant but can’t keep one alive for the life of you? Kiss those days goodbye!

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Niche Urban Garden Cambridge MA

It’s been a few months since I’ve had any plants in my apartment but Chris’ mom gave me the cutest succulent over Thanksgiving, which gave me my plant itch back. I figured that now that it’s winter and I’ll be hunkered up inside more often, it was time to change that! Since I am in a smaller space, I try to stick to small to medium sized plants so that they can live on shelves, countertops, and my dresser as well as requiring bright to medium light as my room faces north.

So this past weekend, I headed to Niche plant shop to pick up a new plant and was overwhelmed by all of the beautiful greenery inside of the shop. If you’re ever in the Boston area, Niche has two stores – one in the South End and one in Cambridge (near Kenmore) and both are absolutely breath taking. This weekend was my first time visiting the Cambridge store and have no idea how I haven’t stopped in yet, it’s only 15 minutes from my apartment with super easy street parking.

Plants inside of Niche Plant Shop

potted plant

rattlesnake plant

Anyways, I’m a HUGE plant lover and practically beg Chris to bring me to the gardening store to check out what new babies are out whenever we are running errands. Love plants as much as I do but can’t seem to keep them alive? You’re in luck! There are some amazing low-maintenance plants out there that will allow you to get your toes wet in the world of keeping plants alive and once you get a hang of it, you’ll be able to step up your game and get some fancier ones!

Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants

Wax Flowers

Did you know there are around 200 different types of Hoya (wax flowers)? Originally from tropical areas of Asia and Australia, Wax Flowers thrive in warmer conditions and enjoy bright light! This is a flowering plant that blooms late spring to late summer, showcasing beautiful waxy pink (almost porcelain-like) flowers, which is how the plant got its name!

Watering: Keep the soil moist in warm months, dry in winter months; liberal amounts of water

Light: 3-4 hours direct sunlight/day, remaining of the day can be spent in bright light

Tip: Try not to move the plant once it has started flowering as the buds might fall off (Do not remove dead flowers – new flowers will replace them next season!)

Rattlesnake Plant

Looking for a fun plant? The Rattlesnake Plant sports crinkled green leaves with dark green markings and spots of red on the undersides. They originate in tropical rainforests in Brazil and thrive in a humid, shady spot (perfect for the bathroom!). Keep your Rattlesnake Plant potted in a free-draining, sandy soil with ample draining to prevent root rot. If you notice the leaves beginning to turn brown or start to droop, the air is too cold or too dry.

Watering: Regular misting and moderate watering; During the summer months, water your rattlesnake plant once per week (keep soil moist) and decrease to watering every couple of weeks so the soil can dry out completely before next watering during winter months

Light: Medium to low light

Pothos

One of my favorite plants and another popular indoor plant that is beautiful and low-maintenance, even those with a black thumb (is that what the opposite of a green thumb is??) can handle it! There are several different types of Pothos depending on the characteristics you’re looking for, but they all stay quite full as long as you prun them! Pothos are also known for being durable and for their glossy, perky green leaves (which means the plant is happy!).

Watering: Allow soil to dry between waterings; if leaves begin to droop, your Pothos is thirsty!

Light: Bright but indirect light, also tolerant of lower light conditions

plant parenthood

air plant wall

Air Plants

Can’t stop killing plants, huh? Have you tried an air plant yet? They do not require any potting or soil and only need to be misted a with water a few days per week, making them low-maintenance and easy to keep alive! There are a lot of cute little air plant holders that are now available, but you can also place them directly on a surface or in with your succulents.

Watering: Mist with water 2-3 times/week

Light: Bright filtered light, no direct sun

Styling Tip: Hanging, wall hook, air plant holder, low bowl

Succulents

Succulents tend to be the most popular indoor plants whether they’re in the home, at an office, or given as a gift. They’re extremely low maintenance and require very little watering. The thick, fleshy leaves retain water so they can go longer periods of time without it, similar to a cactus. Succulents come in all sizes and are great plants to place anywhere in your home or office, which makes them extremely convenient!

Watering: Succulents require less water during the summer months, as they become dormant, only water if the leaves start to shrivel (then water sparingly!); from winter-spring, water once per week – allow soil to dry out between waterings!

Light: Full sun to light shade; direct sun can damage and brown the leaves as well as cause them to start to curl

Fun fact: The edges of your succulents leaves can turn a pink hue if they experience high exposure to sun or extremely cold temperatures

low maintenance air plants

succulents and cacti

succulents

Spider Plant

A fast growing perennial, the Spider Plant has long, linear arching leaves and is one of the more popular types of indoor plants. It prefers light, airy conditions and if they have a lack of sun, the leaves will turn yellow. Similar to the Chinese Money Plant, the Spider Plant will propagates readily and will grow a small tuft of leaves at the end of each stem, which can be removed and placed into new soil until they root.

Watering: Generously water once per week, regularly misting in between watering will keep leaves looking healthy during summer months; Decrease watering during winter months, as the plant will go into a dormant period and overwatering can cause root rot

Light: Bright, indirect light

Tip: Try avoiding getting water on the leaves while in direct sun as it can cause marks and potentially scald them

Snake Plant

Looking for a plant you won’t kill in the first day? The snake plant is for you! It’s durable and easy to grow and has sharp, elongated leaves with a slim, dark green border. They’re very slow growing and typically only grow one to two new leaves each year so they won’t need to be repotted often. Another great perk? They filter and create clean air in the home!

Watering: Moderate watering during warm weather, completely moisten soil during each watering; dry topsoil before watering again; Decreased watering during winter months, wait until half of the soil is dry before watering

Light: Bright light but can tolerate lower light levels and shade

Fun Fact: The Snake Plant is also known as the “mother-in-law’s tongue”

Chinese Money Plant

Although it was grown by many individuals, the Chinese Money Plant was not identified by botanists until the 1980s – which is absolutely insane! The plant prefers humidity, so if you have a bathroom with decent lighting, it will thrive in the space. The Chinese Money Plant also grows small basal shoots from its erect stems and dark leaves, which can be harvest and shared among your friends!

Watering: Moderate water through warmer season and mist in between waterings & let surface soil dry before waterings

Light: Medium to filtered lighting

Fun Fact: If your plant is happy, it can product tiny green flowers, sometimes tinged with pink!

 

When purchasing plants for your space, always keep in mind the area that your new plant friends are going to live (Is it bright? Are there dark corners? No light?) before heading to the store and picking one out. It’ll make purchasing the correct one for those characteristics a little bit easier so you don’t come home from work to a dead plant in three days. If you’re thinking about adding more plants into the mix down the line, consider that, too as you’ll be able to do some research and ask questions about what plants work well with which! If you’re unsure about the plant you picked up at the store – what it is, how to properly take care of it, etc. – ask one of the employees, they’ll be able to give you some tips and answer any questions you might have.

Do you have a green thumb? What’s your all-time favorite plant?!


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Photography By: Shade Made Creative

Leave a Reply

23 Comments

  1. 11.28.18

    OMG This was super helpful! thank you so much! Your blog is so gorgeous.

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Ellen!

  2. 11.28.18
    Anna English said:

    THis is such a great post! I typically go the faux route.

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Anna!

  3. 11.28.18
    Rach said:

    I’ve been wanting to add more green into our home, but terrified I won’t be able to keep them alive! This list is so helpful! For sure wants to check them out after the holidays!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Yesss! Sometimes the busier times of the year aren’t ideal for getting new plants but come spring you’ll be good to go:)

  4. 11.28.18

    How fun! I would love to add some greenery to our home. I’ll have to keep these in mind, I only have Succulents at the moment.

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Succulents are so fun!

  5. 11.28.18
    Lauren said:

    I usually stick to fake plants because there’s no upkeep haha! But this post was super helpful, and I think I could definitely manage a wax plant!!

    Lauren
    http://oliverstwistblog.com

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Yes, you can definitely manage a wax plant — plus they’re so cute!

  6. 11.28.18
    Emily said:

    As a black thumb, I definitely needed this post!

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Can’t wait to see what plants you get!

  7. 11.28.18

    I am cursed with a black thumb! Ha!

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      The struggle, amirite?! Start small!

  8. 11.28.18
    Ashlea said:

    Yes, I love this!!

    I love plants but I’m not too good with the whole keeping them alive thing. Also, these images are beautiful 🙂

    Great post!

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Ashlea!

  9. 11.28.18
    Logan said:

    Oh my goodness, I literally need to save this post to my browser. This is SO helpful! I plan on adding more plants into my “family”. Right now I have more cacti than I care to admit… but definitely looking to buy some house plants.

    Also, these photos are amazing girly!

    xo Logan
    https://peculiarporter.com/

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Cacti are the freakin’ cutest though!!

  10. 11.29.18
    Laine said:

    I LOVE this. I am such a plant lover but kill them all to often! Right now I am fighting for the life of my two Fiddle leaf fig trees Lol!

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      I feel that, girlfriend! Blair from The Fox and She has a great post about Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees — you should check it out!

  11. 12.3.18
    Jessica Camerata said:

    I’ve kept my snake plants and pothos alive pretty darn well but need a new plant for a new plant holder I just got. Going to check a few of these out to switch it up!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

    • 12.11.18
      Rachel said:

      Snake plants and pothos are the best! I’m loving the challenge of a Monstera right now — I picked up a baby one a few weeks ago at a local plant shop!

  12. 12.27.18
    Maya said:

    Thanks for all the great tips in this post. I recently purchased my first home and want to start growing plants. This is a great quick reference guide for plants I can grow indoors until spring arrives.
    -xo Maya
    http://www.classiccitychic.com