For when you want to introduce some more greenery into your home, but don’t want to spend night and day glued to the watering can…
Purifying the air, easing your stress levels, generally brightening the place up – houseplants are a hard-working addition to even the pokiest of flats.
In fact, one study found that plants can increase productivity by 15 per cent (a green office increases employees' work engagement by making them more physically, cognitively and emotionally involved in their work). Another study also found that having plants in the home can also help reduce anxiety since they remind us of nature and the outdoors which is instantly calming.
Shame, then, that we kill so many of them.
Because be honest, who among us can claim not to have seen off a spider plant or three?
However, with a little bit of intel and some room-related planning, there’s no reason why you can’t introduce some low-maintenance greenery throughout your home, without adding to your botanical body-count.
Here are five (almost) unkillable houseplants, and where to put them for maximum lifespan…
iF yoU'RE NEW TO THIS
Aloe Vera is a great starter plant for a few reasons. One is, of course, that it can come in handy during those bright and shiny summer months when you might get a bit more sun on your skin than you’d like. Cutting open aloe leaves exposes the gel that you need for sunburn relief. Beyond that, aloe is very hearty and only needs to be watered about once every two weeks — make sure you let the soil dry out between waterings. They’re quite compact plants, which is a bonus if your space is on the smaller side. Also, because it’s a succulent, it thrives in warmer temperatures and some sunshine so a windowsill in the kitchen is the perfect home. But with any succulent, you really need to make sure you’re not overwatering. Don’t love it too much.
For the totally useless indoor gardener
If you’re looking for something truly low-maintenance that still looks pretty striking, the snake plant should be your go-to every time. Basically, if you’re managing to kill one of these, there’s no hope for you. The perfect size for a bedside table, a snake plant is also a good idea if you have trouble sleeping. Snake plants absorb airborne toxins and release oxygen at night, they’re great for your respiratory health and should help you when it comes to dropping off. You can also buy them quite large as well so if you’re after big potted floor plants that are striking looking then something like the snake plant looks quite good.
If you're kind of green-thumbed
What's better than one spider plant? Lots of spider plants. The fast-growing shoots actually produce little "babies" you can re-pot for added greenery elsewhere. Just stick to well-lit spots, and don't forget weekly watering. Spider Plants are particularly good for apartments in Dublin because they do help combat mould issues, they purify your air so if you’re in a damp flat or your bathroom’s very damp they can help clean your air. They’ll forgive your neglect but they will require the odd bit of watering.
If you want something with flowers
If you're guilty of overwatering, try Spathiphyllum. Peace lilies can pretty much grow in a fish tank. Valued for its bold green foliage, clean white spathes on tall stalks and ability to withstand low light, the peace lily is a reliable houseplant. Bonus: These powerful plants can also filter toxins from the air, according to NASA.
IF YOU'RE ONLY DOING IT FOR THE 'GRAM
Without question, a Swiss Cheese Plant is by far the most Instagrammable plant out there. Unfortunately, Swiss Cheese plants are extremely easy to kill. The plant needs warm interior temperatures of at least 18°C or warmer. They also need moderately moist soil and high humidity. Oh, and the aerial roots need something to hang on to, so a wooden or moss-covered stake set into the middle of the pot will provide the extra support – WE KNOW. Instead, opt for a philodendron. This plant is like a Swiss Cheese plant's low-maintenance best friend. It prefers low light, strives in any temperature and they like to be on the dry side so don't water more than once a week.
If you're a complete no-hoper
If none of the above work for you, it may be time to face the truth: you're just not meant to be a plant mom. Artificial plants — fake plants, silk plants, faux foliage, or whatever you want to call them — offer a simple solution. They’ll never outgrow their pots, the leaves will never droop down and turn yellow, and there’s no need to worry about watering or fertilizing. They’re also pet-safe and child-safe. This one here looks so real, you may even find yourself watering it out of habit.
Main image by @stormibree