Samvida Patel, IIN Content Editor, Class of February 2015
You see them everywhere – industrial chic cafés, minimalist boutiques, rustic coworking and office spaces, and picture-perfect bathtub perimeters advertised on Instagram – as plants continue to command attention in a variety of spaces.
And the best part? You can spruce up your own living space whether or not you have a green thumb. Here are our top picks for low-maintenance plants, categorized by distinguishing features.
This trailing vine is a reliable choice for plant novices. It doesn’t require frequent watering, and it loves bright, indirect light (artificial light works, too). Growing up to 30 feet, Pothos ivy can be a fitting addition to the top of a bookshelf, with vines draping down a side. Most noteworthy is its suggested ability to remove common environmental toxins, like chloroform and benzene.
Also known as Snake Plants or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this sharp, bold plant can be left alone, faring well when watered every 2–6 weeks! Similar to Pothos plants, Sansevierias thrive in medium, bright light and can improve air quality. But if you have pets, keep these out of reach as they can be toxic!
As the name suggests, this plant requires no soil whatsoever, making it a perfect standalone piece of live art to flank any corner of your living room. Bright, indirect light is preferred, and a 5–10 minute soak every 1–2 weeks is ideal. While air plants are typically green, they sport bright pinks, reds, and purples when blooming – perfect for autumn accents.
This prickly plant needs no introduction. Accustomed to a dry, hot climate, this is as low maintenance as it gets. Water it sparingly and place it in direct sunlight (think windowsills). Many species, like the Moon Cactus, grow a colorful ball-like flower in shades of red, pink, and yellow.
Talk about multipurpose! This spiky succulent not only adds character to indoor spaces but also functions as a natural skin support. Just break off a leaf, cut the tip, squeeze out the gel, and apply to scrapes, burns, and blemishes. Bright, indirect sunlight and thorough watering every three weeks is best.
Perhaps the most untraditional of houseplants, lavender is a reliable companion, especially if you want to create a calming, anxiety-reducing environment. And of course, if baking or mixology are your thing, lavender is a surefire way to elevate a flavor profile.
As with many indoor plants, a little water goes a long way. The only catch is sunlight: Native to the Mediterranean region, lavender is accustomed to hot, bright light. The more sun, the better.
Unlike the others on this list, Lucky Bamboo (which isn’t actually bamboo!) doesn’t require much light – so if you don’t have adequate sunlight, this can be your go-to green decor. Lucky Bamboo grows in water, so all you have to do for some feng shui support is change the water every 2–4 weeks.
Want something soothing, simple, and elegant all-in-one? Peace lilies are the way to go. Keep the soil moist and nourish with plenty of light; you’ll see some beautiful white flowers bloom. As a tropical plant, you’ll want to keep your peace lily near other houseplants to supply it with ample humidity.
Whether you’re a first-time plant owner or have already experienced the joys of “plant parenthood,” share your favorites in the comments below!