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Hard-to-Kill Houseplants: Philodendron Trail

Five Hard-to-Kill Houseplants

I caught the houseplant bug at the beginning of COVID, and boyyyy has it escalated in those three months LOL. I’m writing this from my couch and in this room alone I can count eight houseplants and 17 succulents…I blame Kroger for their damn $1 succulent deals every year haha. Are all houseplants made equal? NO. You’ll find that some houseplants are very needy, while others are what I call “hard-to-kill houseplants”. 

As my collection has grown I’ve had a few friends ask me what houseplants are good for beginners. While I’m no expert, I’m happy to share my opinion on what I consider to be five hard-to-kill houseplants! Most of these guys are flexible on lighting, and don’t need much watering. 

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Hard-to-Kill Houseplants

Hard-to-Kill Houseplant #1: Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

When you start researching hard-to-kill houseplants, the Snake Plant ALWAYS makes the list. It’ll live in any light condition and can go without water for long periods of time. The TRUE beginner’s plant! You’ll see quite a few varieties of these beauties, too. 

One of the most popular places to keep them is next to your bed, because of their air purifying abilities. I’ve got mine sitting on my bedroom nightstands, so I’d say they get about medium light and I water them every few weeks. They have yet to let me down! 

These pretties won’t cost you much, and you can find them at most big box stores. Every spring Costco gets a big shipment of them, which is usually where I snag them from! If you’re looking for some of the more unique leaves, shop with your local green houses.Hard-to-Kill Houseplants: Snake Plant on Ladder

Nicknames: Mother-in-law’s / Devil’s Tongue (because of their sharp points, and because they’re tough)

Price:

Light Requirements: These guys will seriously tolerate any light, even fluorescent light in an office! 

Water Requirements: They really don’t need much water, and like to dry out between waterings. I’d say I’m watering mine every 1.5-2 weeks right now and they’re happy. 

Growth Rate: A little bit slower on the growth rate, these guys actually kind of like feeling “squished” in smaller pots before you’ll start seeing them get bigger. I don’t recommend repotting into something much bigger than what you buy it in, until it seriously seems ready to burst; then go up to a pot that’s about 2”-4” bigger in diameter. 

Please note that when ingested, this plant is poisonous for humans and animals.

Hard-to-Kill Houseplant #2: ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

I recently added this cutie to my collection. It was a little harder to find, and I definitely recommend shopping locally for this one. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find him at a big box store.

Why does the ZZ plant make my list of hard-to-kill houseplants? One of its unique features is that it holds onto water in what look like bulbs on its roots, making it less needy in the watering department. You can literally go on vacation and come back and it’ll have taken care of itself. Added bonus: it’s another air purifier! 

These guys are really flexible in the lighting department, too. He’s happy in a bright spot, or somewhere darker like an office. Seriously, he’s pretty kill-proof! 

Potted ZZ PlantNickname: Zanzibar gem

Price: $$

Light Requirements: He’ll be happy just about anywhere (even dark offices), but he’ll really show off for you in a spot with bright, indirect light. 

Water Requirements: Let it completely dry out between waterings. Because it holds onto water for itself, it really doesn’t need much. In low light situations you might only need to water it once a month! 

Growth Rate: It has a slower growth rate, so you won’t be repotting often. 

Hard-to-Kill Houseplant #3: Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos are so rewarding because they grow like crazy without much attention; making them ideal for new plant parents! You can train them to trail out of a pot, or even climb a trellis! You’ll see a few different leaf varieties: solid green, lime green, or variegated leaves with spots of white or yellow. 

Reasons to love them: They purify your air, they’re easy to find, and they’re inexpensive! I snagged mine at my grocery store for $15, and it was already a pretty mature plant #winning. 

Trailing Pothos

Nickname: Devils Ivy (because it’s very hard to kill!) 

Price Range: $

Light Requirements: You’ve got some flexibility here; they’d prefer bright indirect lighting, but will also tolerate lower lighting conditions. 

Water Requirements: I water mine about once a week and it seems very happy with that. It likes to dry out between waterings and doesn’t like soggy soil!

Growth Rate: If you’ve got it in a brighter room, it will grow pretty fast. Whereas if you’ve got it in a darker room, it’ll grow more slowly. Trails can grow to be 6-10ft long! 

Please note that when ingested, this plant is poisonous for humans and animals.

Hard-to-Kill Houseplant #4: Heartleaf + Brasil Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum)

Another fast grower that doesn’t require much fuss! I was drawn to this beauty because of its heart shaped leaves – who could resist that!? A Heartleaf Philodendron will have solid green leaves, whereas the Brasil variety has some lime green variegation. 

You can stick them pretty much anywhere in your house, but if you want to see fast growth put them in a room with bright, indirect light. This is another trailing plant, so put it somewhere that it has room to let its trails drop – or grow on a trellis of some kind.

These guys are also fairly inexpensive. I found a tiny baby one for $2.50 at my grocery store! 

Price Range: $

Hard-to-Kill Houseplants: Philodendron Trail

Light Requirements: You’ve got some flexibility here; they’d prefer bright indirect lighting, but will also tolerate lower lighting conditions. 

Water Requirements: I water mine about once a week and it seems very happy with that. It likes to dry out between waterings and doesn’t like soggy soil.

Growth Rate: If you’ve got it in a brighter room, it will grow pretty fast. Whereas if you’ve got it in a darker room, it’ll grow more slowly.

Please note that when ingested, this plant is poisonous for humans and animals.

Hard-to-Kill Houseplant #5: Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

These guys are GORGEOUS, and come in a few different colors/varieties. You’ll see beautiful green leaves, leaves so dark they’re almost black, and even some that are tinged pink! They can be a little harder to find at places like big box stores, but if you venture out to your locally owned greenhouses you’ll find a few! 

These guys will tolerate some abuse (as in, “whoops, when’s the last time I watered this?”), but they really do need to live in bright spots in order to flourish. I’ve seen many people say this plant’s favorite spot is in front of a sunny window that’s covered by a sheer curtain. 

Rubber PlantPrice: $$ Price here really depends on the color/variety + the size of the one that you’re getting. Obviously, a more mature plant (of any kind) will cost you a little more, BUT they’ve done a lot of the work in getting it stabilized for you. I’ve found them to be a little more expensive than a Pothos or Philodendron, but nothing crazy. 

Light Requirements: Rubber plants will be happiest somewhere with bright, indirect light. 

Water Requirements: Keep the soil moist, but not drowning. The leaves will get droopy and sad if it needs a drink.

Growth Rate: This is the biggest of my hard-to-kill houseplants. If you can find the right balance of light/water for this baby, he’ll grow to be quite the focal point! He doesn’t grow as fast as a Pothos or a Philodendron, but he’s putting in some serious work to get tree-like. If you don’t want him to get huge, just keep him in a smaller pot. 

Please note that when ingested, this plant is poisonous for humans and animals. 

I hope that you found this post helpful! I’d LOVE to hear from you when you start your collection! If you’ve already got a collection going, what other hard-to-kill houseplants would you add to this list? Let’s help those new plant moms out! 

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Hard-to-Kill Houseplants

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