Okay, even the toughest plant is not indestructible, but with a few expert tips you can beat the odds. Avoid giving a potted friend too much sun or H2O. "The roots can't handle the absorption and start to rot," says Sharon Nejman, senior horticulturist at the . Your best bet: Setting plants in gravel-filled saucers so they're not sitting in extra water and built-up salt.
One of the most popular houseplants in the world, blooms several times per year. Keep it thriving in bright but indirect light with moist soil. Good drainage and an administered every other week can help too.
These waxy plants do best in more humid conditions than trendy succulents. Bring 'em work too — the even flourishes under fluorescent lights.
Don't worry about testing the soil. Tillandsia grows without dirt altogether. "Just dunk them in water for about two or three hours every 10 days or so," says Tovah Martin, expert gardener and author of .
What's better than one spider plant? Lots of spider plants. The fast-growing shoots actually produce little you can re-pot for added greenery elsewhere. Just stick to well-lit spots, and don't forget weekly watering.
can grow between 1 and 6 feet tall, so check the variety's estimated height before you buy. Bonus: These powerful plants can also filter toxins from the air, .
Those spiky leaves certainly look cool, and they'll really thrive or bedside table. loves indirect light, plus a good soak every week or two.
You could let the long tendrils hang from the mantel, but the is also game for topiaries (or stadium walls, like at Wrigley Field). recommends Cascade, Domino, and Irish Lace as some of the best potted varieties.
Save some room on your windowsill and tuck this low-light variety in an unloved corner. Just be warned: is toxic to both dogs and cats, so keep pets far away.
are grown for their foliage alone, and it's easy to see why. The purple, green, pink, and red leaves put on quite the show. For the best display, keep the plant moist (not drenched) and avoid bright light.
Rubber trees can measure over 100 feet tall in their native Asia, but regular pruning can keep the ornamental variety in check. If the broad leaves get a little dusty, bring out the mayo for a florist-approved polishing trick.
Like the pineapple, the bromeliad belongs to the bromeliaceae family. This plant "lasts a long time," says Nejman. "It produces pups or side shoots that will replace the original plant." Its favorite temperature is around 70 degrees, "which makes it home friendly," she says. Keep it away from cold drafts.
Native to South Africa, jade plants are succulents that retain water in their round, green leaves. They're easy-going since succulent plants "go dormant" if they don't get enough water. "If they do get water, they start to rehydrate and grow," says Neil Mattson, an associate professor in the . Be mindful of the shallow roots, which can rot easily or fall out of the pot.
This water-retaining succulent grows colorful, bell-shaped flowers. "It takes very little care," says Nejman. Kalanchoe welcomes dry climates and temperature swings. It's even fine with 45-degree winter weather, she adds.
Officially called the beaucarnea recurvata, the slow-growing ponytail palm likes basking in a sunny window. Don't over-water the Mexico native, because "its stems work off its reserves," says Nejman.
Native to tropical Asian countries, the phalaenopsis orchid likes low light. But think twice if you live in a dry climate, as the orchid has a better chance of thriving in humid areas. "Most orchids are pretty forgiving," says Nejman. "If they're lucky, I water them every week or week and a half."
Hundreds of species of the large-leafed philodendron grow in the West Indies, Mexico, and Brazil. The plant likes low light. One caveat: "They like to be on the dry side," says Nejman, so don't water more than once a week.
These showy blooms only require the occasional drink, and even less water in the winter. "Plus they come in many different foliage colors and patterns," says Kathie Hayden, plant information service manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Native to Madagascar, the succulent shrub doesn't like much water. Otherwise, it's not picky. Another plus: It produces lovely red blooms "year round," says Nejman. Two downsides, though: Its thorns and its sap, which can cause blisters and swelling.
Add a little holiday cheer to your living room. Sold as Thanksgiving or Christmas cacti, the segmented leaves produce .
This leafy vine, which can grow a 10-foot trail indoors, survives low light and irregular watering. "Some people have fun trying to see how long they can get the vine to grow," says Doug Walker, director of the . Though not as drought-tolerant as other plants, it's otherwise not too picky.
The ZZ plant, officially named zamioculcas zamiifolia, is native to East Africa but thrives anywhere. Walker affectionately calls it "the king of the indestructible plants." The green tolerates the dangerous trifecta of plant-killers: drought, low light, and really low humidity, he says. A beautiful plant with dark green, shiny foliage, it grows to more than a foot tall, even indoors. "It doesn't need much water because it's got this succulent bulb the stem grows out of," adds Mattson.
The mother-in-law's tongue (one of many sansevierias) is tough to kill. "Those can go for a month without water," says Nejman. The leaves are typically tall, stiff, and vertical, earning it the other nickname "snake plant."
This evergreen shrub, also known as an umbrella tree, can reach 15 feet outside. Like many plants, it can be mildly toxic. "If you don't give it much care, it's going to grow slowly," says Walker.
Place this beauty by a curtained window, protecting new leaves from extra sun. With filtered light, the showy plant is one happy camper.
The sturdy cast-iron plant lives up to its name, surviving low light, poor-quality soil, spotty watering, and a wide range of temperatures. Aspidistra elatior is the scientific name; elatior is Latin for "taller," which is apropos thanks to foliage that grows up to 2 feet high. The dark-leaved stunner likes to be left alone, so don't be too attentive, warns Nejman.
Bring the outdoors in with an easy succulent arrangement that's almost impossible to turn brown.Get the tutorial »