Five Unique Indoor Plants that You Won’t Kill
Why are all my plants dying?
Well, I did it again. My once-beautiful enormous English ivy plant has dried up to a crisp. I thought I gave it ~the right~ sun and water, but my green thumb is actually a scythe of death. And this plant wasn’t cheap either.
I pick up the ivy and spend a moment in silence, mourning its death, before I chuck it into the trash. Life goes on.
Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve definitely killed a few plants in the last few years. And it’s so frustrating. How do I keep my plants alive?
I started doing some research through trial and error. I’ve killed lemon trees, money trees, hydrangeas, and snake plants. But I’ve learned some really important things about keeping your indoor plants alive.
I’ve got five plants that I have kept alive despite two cross-country moves, a sub-zero winter, and a ruthless cat.
Let me tell you about those plants and the success that I’ve had!
Here are five unusual super easy plants you can keep in your house:
Japanese Money Tree
First of all, they aren’t super expensive. I bought a small one for $15, and a large one for $40. The large one is my survivor (no thanks to my cat, who knocks all the small plants over).
I had it sitting in a window all summer, and it loves the warm sun. Money trees are strong, and they don’t need a lot of help. I water it when the soil gets a little dry.
Also, this plant grows fast. New leaves sprout all the time — even in the winter!
If you see little sticky teardrops on the plant, that’s a GOOD thing. It means the plant is happy. You might see that happen on your money tree, but you will also see it on the plant we’ll be chatting about next.
Money trees are also a sign of good fortune! (So you might want to get one if you need a little luck.)
These guys are amazing additions to your household. Commonly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, monsteras have unique leaves that can have large holes in them.
The leaves unfurl slowly in a bright green color but as they mature, they take on a beautiful dark green color.
They stop growing during the winter, but they are extremely active during the summer. Monsteras are a dark green color, and they can get huge. Mine is propped halfway up my dining room wall.
You can start off with a small one with one or two leaves from your local small plant shop. They might be about $20. Or you can hunt around and find a big one.
When to water a monstera:
Your monstera does well in the shade. Water it when the soil gets dry. If you put your knuckle into the soil and it’s totally dry, water it right away! They are resilient, but the leaves droop if you need water. They can be very dramatic.
I just found a really cute little pilea for about 10 dollars at Put a Plant On It.
Pileas are nicknamed “Chinese Money Trees”. Like Japanese Money Trees, pileas are considered a sign of good fortune.
They have round leaves that grow on toothpick-like stems. And they are also pretty hardy.
You can buy a very small one, and give it some sun and water, and it will thrive!
Caring for a Pilea:
My pilea sits in the dining room with minimal sun, and I water it once a week. It’s sprouting tiny new leaves and doing very well.
My friend has a GIANT pilea that sits in a corner and gets a LOT of sun. I don’t think he waters it very frequently at all, but it is thriving.
So, more sun is better! Let the soil dry out, and then water it when the top of the soil is dry.
Pothos or Philodendron
Ah, pothos, I do love you. Pothos (or philodendrons) are these cute little plants with teardrop-shaped leaves. They can grow long vines of leaves, which will droop all the way down to the ground if you keep them happy.
Pothos leaves can have several different colors, including the slightly rarer marble pothos, which have green and white leaves. I found a few at my grocery store.
Pothos can survive in pretty much any condition. I have some in my office, in my bedroom, in the kitchen, and in the shower. They are great plants for a bathroom or shower because they love humidity. I see new leaves every single week on my bathroom pothos.
When do you water a pothos?
Well, the pothos will tell you when it’s thirsty. I went away for a weekend and forgot to water my pothos before leaving. When I got home, the leaves had completely collapsed and were drooping over the pot.
I gave them some water, and they perked right back up within an hour.
Bird of Paradise
Okay, this one is a little bit unusual, but hear me out. Birds of Paradise are incredible plants that can grow eight or ten feet tall. At their tallest, they will have only a few leaves on extremely long stems.
Bird of paradise plants are generally really easy to take care of. They like indirect sun, but they don’t need much of it. They like being watered fairly frequently, so water them if the top of the soil is dry.
You’ll know if it needs water when the leaves fold easily. That generally means they’re thirsty.
They also LOVE fish fertilizer. During the spring, as the weather gets a little warmer, mix a tablespoon of fish fertilizer with a quart of water and water the plant with it. Don’t overkill it though, once a year is generally sufficient. And BTW, fish fertilizer smells terrible.
Whatever you do: never pour fertilizer directly into the plant. Fertilizer is extremely acidic, and it can burn the roots of a plant. So always dilute the fertilizer, and follow the instructions on the bottle.
How big can a Bird of Paradise get?
My friend has a giant Bird of Paradise that has two enormous leaves and is about nine feet tall!
I’ve got two much smaller ones that stand less than three feet.
They can grow really tall, but they won’t grow huge unless you let them. If you want to encourage the plant to grow, put it into a bigger pot. That will enable the roots to grow, which will give the plant more stability!
Final Plant Words of Advice:
- Don’t let your pet chew on the leaves
- Keep them away from cold drafts
- Be patient with them during the winter! Lots of indoor plants go dormant when the weather gets cold. It’s okay. As long as the leaves aren’t crisping up or falling off, your plant is likely okay. Just watch the soil (especially when the air is a little drier). The plant will grow faster in the summer.
Check out some of Buffalo’s local plant shops for these beautiful plants: