FYI: Indoor House Plants

I have been asked a couple (read tons) of times what my fave indoor plants to use are. This is tricky because I love greenery in a room but have a big fat black thumb and have been responsible for sending a good number of plants to an early grave.

Look, its really not that difficult to brutally murder a houseplant. More often than not, I hear of peeps committing houseplant homicide, and rarely can a client (or me) make them last for any length of time. Its tough to remember what I need to do to take care of myself let alone remember what my damn houseplant plant requires. How much water, how much light, what temperature they prefer, what kind of music they like, how they take there tea in the afternoon……Ugh,  Its just to much responsibility and its a little ridiculous.

Luckily, I have killed enough in my day to figure out what species are super difficult to care for and which plants will survive even the murderiest of murderers. If I can make them survive, ANYONE can.

Here is my top 6 list of houseplants I use on the reg….


No:1- Rubber Tree

I love the way the dark leaves look on this plant. Technically these can grown into trees, but if you keep them trimmed they will stay small and bushy. Apparently they get larger with age, so this sucker will grow into a nice size relatively quick.

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-80 degrees. Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide

FYI: The milky white sap may cause irritation to people with sensitive skin.

No:2- Zee Zee plant

OK, no joke I have had like 3 of these that have survived major neglect and a move and are not even fazed. They are a good-looking plant, and get massive if you cut back the leaves, but they take their time and grow slow. If you want a perfect little bookshelf plant that you can forget about and totally ignore, this is what I suggest. I double dog dare you to try to kill it…Basically its the terminator of house plants.

Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-75 degrees. Allow the soil to dry between waterings

Size: 2-3 feet tall and wide

FYI: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed on by children or pets so keep put of their reach.

No: 3- Split Leaf Philodendron

I love the sculptural but organic quality of this plant. It looks like it’s a big deal, but its such an easy little dude to maintain. I have one in a basket on the floor in my dark ass dining room. He chills just fine, and I have yet to murder him.

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright, but out of direct sun.  Bright, filtered light is best.  Plants in lower light tend to produce smaller leaves without splits or holes. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Size: 4-6 feet tall and wide

No:4- Guiana Chestnut “Money Tree”

I bought a money tree when we first remodeled the kitchen in our last house. That was three years ago and this dude is still going strong. They are apparently a sign of good fortune and prosperity soooo I am pretty sure the plant is the reason I have a Martha Stewart sized empire and a solid gold toilet…. I am just sayin’.  Yes they may be impossibly hard to slay,and No I do not have a Downton Abbey or a Butler, but still, I like to think the tree will eventually live up to its reputation and provide me with such wealth. Treat yo’ self to a money tree and maybe it will make it rain for you and yours.

Growing Conditions: Indirect light or low light. If the plant begins to yellow or wither, it needs more light. Water every seven to 10 days

Size: 4-6 feet tall and wide

No:5- Snake Plant

This plant tolerates neglect extremely well. If your only success with house plants has been with the plastic variety, give the “snake plant” a try. These sculptural friends can kick it in low light but prefer the brighter conditions. Chill on the watering because they can get root rot (which will kill most plants FYI)

Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-85 degrees. Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings

Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

No:6 – Succulents

Succulents are where its at for 2 reasons: they are gorge and super hard to kill.  You can ignore them for a month plus and they will look the same as the day you brought them home. They look awesome as a centerpiece, or they are supes cutes as a bookshelf plant. PLUS its No Big Deal if you leave on a vacation and forget to ask a friend to water your plants. They were around when the dinos roamed the earth, and last time I checked…dinos didn’t have friends, or take vacations.  What am I talking about?

Growing Conditions: Succulents prefer bright light. Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings. Don’t overwater cause you’ll get gnats and root rot.

Size: Depends on the plant species, but typically the indoor variety are pretty small.

Happy Hump Day Lovers.

51 thoughts on “FYI: Indoor House Plants

  1. I am very interested to know no5 is known by “snake plant.” I don’t know if it’s regional (I’m from Mississippi/Alabama) but I’ve always heard it called a “mother-in-law’s tongue.”

    Very cool. Thanks for the list.

  2. i seriously laughed out loud as i read this. hysterical. glad to know i’m not the only one with a black thumb. unless there is automatic sprinkler for it, it gets no love! hence, no plants in this house. thanks for the list amber! xx

  3. On the subject, do you EVER suggest faux plants? There’s a fake ff fig on overstock that got me excited, but without looking at it, I’m too skeptical. I usually would rather have a few real ones, even if I know they will not survive for too long, but I’m yet to find any good fauxs, other than a real looking succulent or two…your thoughts?

  4. Thanks for this list. I’m going to try indoor plants this year, even though it is widely known I am a plant killer. I saw the snake plant and the philodendron earlier this week and loved how gorg they were, but imagined them drying up at my very touch. I think I will give them a try.

  5. This makes me feel so much better! I thought I was the only one who couldn’t keep houseplants alive! It’s been years….but I think I might have the courage to try again. Family room desperately needs some greenery to counteract the ugliness of the media unit. Thanks for the tips!

    Love the pony tail palms that are sometimes in the photos you post.

  6. This is so great! I just bought some at Home Depot but their planter pot selection was less than stellar…

    Any suggestions on where to buy a simple white or neutral planter pot? THANK YOU!

    P.S – you’re killing it with the blog posts lately – I get so excited to see a new one in my inbox!

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  10. Agree on killin it with the blog posts lately. This is SUCH a great guide to indoor plants… funny plus informative and I’m sure to pull it up as soon as I get myself over to the nursery. <3

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  13. @ Meghan- ikea always has an awesome selection of pretty white pots in every size and shape imaginable. They are also really inexpensive. Good luck!
    @amber- looks like a great list of plants. They are all so pretty. Thanks

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  15. Great post! I’ve been meaning to fill my house with plants but I didn’t know which ones to choose because
    I’m afraid I would kill them. I’ll keep in mind your list next time I go plant shopping. :-)

  16. Amber,

    This is a great list! I bought my ZZ plant at Ikea a year ago for less than $10! My husband thought it was fake because it looks so shiny and lively. Best purchase ever!

  17. Just found your site, super funny ! Love this post on plants that are hard to kill. I’m so bookmarking this. I’ve killed EVERYTHING! Even succulents, yes, succulents. I’m gonna try a zee zee plant. Thank you!

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  27. No love for Orchids? I know I’ve heard they’re hard, but I have 1 that’s survived a cross country move and blooms twice a year! I water once/month** by filling the pot with water and letting it sit and soak for 30 minutes. Like most house plants, dies with too much love/water. It’s getting direct sun from my south facing window and is VERY happy. I’d recommend them!

    **by once/month, I mean that I check to see if the leaves are floppy – if they are floppy, it gets a soak. It helps I keep them in the kitchen, where I spend most of my time.

  28. So nice to have found your site. I’m an interior landscaper, and my mission is to show people like yourself and your readers how you can have plants in your home, keep them from dying, keep them beautiful, and spend hardly any time at it. Does one minute per plant every other week sound too bad?
    Anyway, that’s a good list you have. Have you ever tried a corn plant, pothos, or a peace lily? They would fit your style; you’re a “forget about it” type of plant waterer.
    One small tip for you…you need something to stick into the soil, as if you were testing a cake, to feel what the roots are feeling. There should be only a tiny amount of moisture in the soil when you water again.
    Have a great day.

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  31. I have a set of Split Leaf Philodendron in my home and I think they are pretty easy to maintain. They look beautiful especially because of the kind of texture they have. I also prefer some orchids but then if you will compare them with split leaves then I think maintenance is a big deal with orchids. They are lovely though :)

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  35. Found this post via Pinterest!
    My mom had (has?) a split leaf philo, and it certainly survived some, re, erratic care. As kids my sister and I got the job of keeping the houseplants watered. Sometimes that meant not watering, other times that meant watering rather frequently. My only caveat to the philo would be that its roots can get a bit crazy – perhaps it was because my mom’s had been around so long as was perhaps root bound, during one better-than-average span of watering a couple of roots (which usually just spiraled around the upper inside of the pot) shot out and grew to the floor – at least 12″, probably more – and adhered themselves to the hardwood floor. Left a mark when we took notice and finally pulled them back into the pot!
    If you can find one, I also suggest trying a Ti plant (native to Hawaii, seen them growing in outdoor gardens there), my mom has one she got as a gift and I holds up well to the erratic care.
    Also most dracaenas are fairly easy care, we managed to get a larger one ~9ft tall to bloom one year (bad idea, attracted ants!), and the red-margin types are rather pretty.

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