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20 starter houseplants anyone can keep alive

  • Lucky bamboo

    Over the last decade, the trend of growing lucky bamboo’s elegant, twisted stalk arrangements in glass and ceramic pots has only increased. The plants are not really true bamboos but two species, namely the Dracaena sanderiana and Dracaena braunii. For feng shui enthusiasts, the plants offer peaceful home energy. They do not require any soil and grow easily inside a pot with rocks and pebbles, filled with water. The only care they need is proper water level and moisture.

  • Parlor palm

    In its natural habitat, the parlor palm can grow as tall as 16 feet. As an indoor plant, though, it has adapted well to a maximum growth length of 2–6 feet. The added advantage of growing this plant at home is that it can stay green even after being cut for about 40 days, making it ideal for flower arrangements and Palm Sunday decorations.

  • Philodendron

    This is a large genus of flowering plants. As per the last count, there were about 450 species of philodendron. They are known as no-fail plants because of the ease with which they can be grown. You can choose a variety that are upright, or the more popular climber varieties that look pretty in any corner of the house. They only need to be moved occasionally to a sunlit spot and watered once every two or three days, or when the topsoil feels dry.

  • Peperomia

    These plants are semi-succulents native to Central and South America. There are thousands of varieties that grow well as indoor plants and have similar care requirements, including indirect sunlight and moderate watering from the bottom to prevent sogginess of the topsoil and leaf disease. Peperomia has also been known to grow well under fluorescent lighting. The leaves are thick, shiny, and may be glossy green, red, or cream depending on the variety.

  • Peace lily

    The beautiful easy-to-care plant is a popular choice when it comes to indoor plants because of the beautiful flower cluster surrounded by a white leaf and its noted ability to clean the air of benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. It requires moderate watering and light conditions to grow well.

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  • Rose succulents

    These plants are called rose succulents because of their tiny blooming appearance, so much so that if they did not have a green tinge, you could easily mistake them for a rose. They are native to the Canary Islands located off the coast of Spain. Unlike other plants, these succulents grow more in winters than in summers. They can tolerate wet soil better than other succulents but need a pot with good drainage.

  • Spider plant

    The spider plant has small plantlets that dangle from the mother plant, and can simply be cut and replanted. Spider plants are very easy to grow and thrive well in all conditions. The elongated leaves are a beautiful light green with white borders. These hardy plants can be easily grown indoors in well-drained pots.

  • Snake plant

    The snake plant is one of the most tolerant indoor plants, and thus very popular. You can recognize its elongated, thick leaves with yellow borders. It is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, with more than 70 known species. As an indoor plant, it can be grown in medium-sized pots by directly planting a leaf cut through vegetative propagation or a rhizome cut from the root. The best part is that you can forget to water it for weeks, and the plant still looks fresh.

  • Yucca

    This is a drought-tolerant plant with sword-like leaves and beautiful white inflorescence. The plant fulfills most of its water needs from the bulbous base or stalk. While it is a slow-growing plant, it requires zero care other than exposure to sunlight. If you are looking for a plant for a terrace garden or an open space with ample sunlight, it is a good choice.

  • Zig zag cactus

    This eclectic little plant is sure to become a point of conversation with anyone who visits. It is also known as the fishbone cactus or the ric rac because of the alternate pattern of leaves across a central spine. The plant is originally from Mexico and grows in groups, hanging from trees in a tropical, moist environment. At home, you can use a hanging basket or a pot with low soil and good compost mix.

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