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Top 10 Easy Houseplants

Top 10 Easy Houseplants
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Do you love the look of lush live houseplants and the homey feel that houseplants lend to a space? Would you like to have a few plants around your home or workspace to brighten up the environment but haven’t had luck keeping them alive? If you answered yes to either of these questions, I have the 10 suggestions for easy houseplants that are a snap to care for! Don’t label yourself a brown thumb until you’ve tried growing one of these beautiful and forgiving plants.

Jade is a popular plant to give and receive. The one shown here is a jade cultivar.
Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
Jade is a popular plant to give and receive. The one shown here is a jade cultivar.

Air Plants
Air plants are one of the easiest houseplants to care for because they do not require soil and potting. Bright, filtered light, as well as weekly watering, will keep these plants beautiful. They absorb moisture from the environment, so the more humid the conditions, the less water they will need. If the air is dry, submerge plants in water for 2-3 hours every 2 weeks. Otherwise, a simple weekly misting should keep these plants thriving. Air plants are versatile and may be placed on a shelf, in a seashell, on a window sill, desk or even on top of electronics such as the television or computer. They also come in a range of interesting sizes, shapes and forms.

Said to bring good luck, the bamboo plant lives and thrives in water alone. It looks great bunched in vases, Asian inspired containers, or in a water garden. Bamboo thrives in bright, filtered light, but avoid direct sunlight as it will scorch the leaves. Bamboo is very sensitive to chlorine and other impurities often found in tap water, so be sure to water your plant with distilled or bottled water, or tap water that has been left out for a day to let the chlorine evaporate.

Staghorn Fern
A relative of the orchid family, this plant looks like it’s namesake of deer horns and even has a soft velvety surface that traps moisture for the plant and eliminates the need for traditional watering. It’s one of the few plants that can be mounted on a wall as it requires only indirect light and occasional misting.

Jade, a succulent that is said to bring good luck, requires very little care. Jade plants prefer sun from a south or west window. Allow the plant to dry between waterings, but if the plant begins to shed or brown spots appear, the plant may need more water. If mealybugs appear on the plant, simply spray the plant with water and anti-bacterial soap.

Spider Plant
These plants look great hanging, especially when they flower and eventually sprout “babies.”  The offshoots can be removed and placed in soil or water and will grow into a plant of its own. The elongated leaves of the spider plant can be either solid green or variegated green and white, and they do indeed resemble a spider. Exposure to indirect light and moist soil are the only care requirements.

The ivy plant is an old-fashioned favorite.  Its trails of pointed leaves look lovely cascading from a pot. The long trails may also be wound around a tiny trellis or frame. Ivy thrives in bright light, and its best that the soil is dry to the touch between waterings and that the plant has good drainage.

Wandering Jew
With its mixture of deep purple and green foliage, the wandering Jew is a variegated, trailing plant that offsets all green houseplants nicely. This plant does best in bright sunlight with a moderate to heavy watering schedule. Keep the soil moist, not soggy, most of the time.

Arguably the most common houseplant in America, this trailing plant is shiny with medium sized heart shaped leaves in varying shades of green.  Often seen wound around stakes, trailing over frames or hung from high shelves, these plants grow fast and are very forgiving.  Adequate light and moist soil are the only requirements to keep them healthy. 

Traditional Cactus
Traditional cactus plants require bright light and loose sandy soil.  Many cactus plants will bloom once a year. Soak plant thoroughly when top ½ inch of soil is dry to the touch. Allow the cactus to drain. During dark winter months, sunlight can be supplemented with a white fluorescent bulb.

Christmas Cactus
Known to bloom around Christmas time, the Christmas cactus sometimes blooms as early as October and may bloom twice in one year.  This jointed, semi-prickly cactus plant has sporadic spikes and tiny fuchsia or white flowers when in bloom. These plants require nothing but bright light and very little watering—once a month is often enough.

These are my picks for easy houseplants. Tell me yours in the comment section below.

Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley (Fleming) Wigglesworth is an award-winning freelance journalist from Maine specializing in maritime topics and the commercial fishing industry. She is also a certified Maine Master Gardener who writes gardening articles on a regular basis for Yankee Magazine. Her work can be found in the following publications: The York County Coast Star, Portsmouth Herald, Bangor Daily News, Yankee Magazine (online), National Fisherman Magazine, Commercial Fisheries News, Tourist News, Points East Magazine, Coastal Angler and The Maine Lobstermen's Association’s “Landings.” Follow Shelley on Facebook.
Updated Monday, February 4th, 2013
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