Hardy Houseplants

Hardy Houseplants for Those Without a “Green Thumb”

Houseplants look phenomenal when incorporated into interior décor but can often be a challenge to grow. Giving up because you don’t have a “green thumb,” deprives us of the mental and physical benefits plants can provide. Not to mention missing out on the joy offered by the hobby of gardening.

Now is your opportunity to try again. The following is a list of three hardy, death-resistant houseplants. Included are tips on care and feeding, in addition to physiological benefits. A little work, a little time, and your new friends will thrive in your company.

Dieffenbachia, or “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue”

Dieffenbachia is a glamorous subtropical species, with variegated dark-green/pearl-green leaves. As such it uses water efficiently — and doesn’t need watering often. If you’re prone to forget, this is your plant. They come in a variety of sizes, and will grow to fit the size of their pot. A respectable home-office companion in the twelve-inch range is ideal for beginners. These plants also thrive in low-light situations, as they are accustomed to deep shade in the wild. But, head’s up: consumption of this plant by pets or humans can result in temporary swelling of the throat. Many studies have looked at Dieffenbachia and its botanical siblings. They found reduced blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in office workers in possession of these plants. Dieffenbachia dials down on life’s pressures just a bit.

Phalaenopsis, or “Moth Orchid”

Orchids are special, because they bloom for twelve weeks at a stretch, usually in the summer. As a tropical species, they hold water in their leaves, so they also need minimal watering. They adore shower steam and the bright lights of bathrooms. Orchids don’t respond to many house pests in the United States, because they themselves are a parasite. They get their nutrients from moss. Their roots help them photosynthesize (aka, get fresh oxygen into your house, while filtering CO2), and so are green and strong. Some studies suggest that students perform better at reading, spelling, and math in classrooms with plants. Try a moth orchid, to help zero in and focus on life a little more.


Succulents come in dozens of shades, from emerald to jade, mint-green to rose. As desert natives, they likewise require little watering, and prefer sandy, well-aerated soil. They love the sun, as much as possible. They make a perfect sunbathing, kitchen-window dweller. Succulents often have gel in their leaves — it’s how they store water. This gel can relieve sunburns and insect bites, and is often used in green skincare regimens. Aloe Vera, the stuff in commercial sunburn balm, is a giant succulent.

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