6 Die hard houseplants for brown thumbs
Pothos Epipremnum aureum
Pothos are easy to grow, very forgiving and pretty. They are called ‘devil’s ivy’ because they are hard to kill. These vining beauties aren’t dainty like English ivy, they are solid leafy vines with waxy, heart-shaped leaves that will thrive in almost any poor location you place them. They are often used in offices as they will even survive under florescent lights. If you have a corner that needs cheering in a low light area they should be your first choice.
In addition to providing a cheery atmosphere they are one of the most efficient houseplants for cleaning the air.
Indoors they can grow up to 10 feet, but have been known to reach lengths of over 40 feet. Pothos look best when they are thick and bushy so a quick trim every now and then will keep your plant looking lush. Don’t throw out the trimming, place it in water to root as these plants are easily propagated. Pothos will grow happily in water for quite some time or easily take to transplanting. Try placing cuttings in a vase in the bathroom!
There are different varieties of pothos if you can’t stand the common stock Epipremnum aureum. Scindapus pictus with its alligator-like silver leaves is pretty and just as hardy. Pick one that suits your fancy, or if you’re still not sure of your abilities, ask someone for a cutting.
Snake Plant Sansevieria
For the absolutely hopeless, the serial houseplant killer kind of helpless, there are snake plants. These plants are impervious to death, people have tried to kill them and have not succeeded. If you’ve actually managed to kill a sansevieria you just may need to hang up your gardening gloves for good.
You’ve probably seen snake plants while walking through the mall, in hotels or office buildings. The leaves look like twisted and tough upright swords and are usually green and variegated.
Snake plants are almost ambivalent regarding light. Stick them in a dark corner or in front of a brightly lit window and they will thrive. They are wonderful for those who have a tendency to forget to water as they prefer drier conditions. While they will tolerate neglect, a well-cared for plant placed in a bright light location may reward you with a tall stalk of white or greenish heavily scented flowers.
Dwarf varieties work well for tabletops while most others need floor space. Place these plants in a clay or other type of heavy pot to avoid them toppling over.
Dracaenas are hard not to love. They come in a variety of species and heights. Varieties such as dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ can grow up to six feet tall. Their strappy leaves are made even more beautiful by coloured variegation, usually in reds and yellows, offering a tropical feel in terms of decor. Dracaena deremensis ‘Lemon Lime’ is a show stopper with its electric yellow and green striped leaves.
There are six common varieties of dracaena most often found at greenhouses: marginata (tall, thin plants), sanderiana (lucky bamboo plant), fragrans (corn plant), deremensis (green plant, e.g. Janet Craig), draco and cinnibari.
Like our other die hard houseplant options these plants can tolerate low light levels and the odd missed watering. They do require a mix of sun and shade, so do not place them in direct sunlight.
Lower leaves will yellow as the plant grows, remove these, the truck will scar over. Of course another sign of yellow leaves could be over watering.
Plants can be pruned at any height and two clusters of leaves will sprout from near the top where the cane was cut. Canes can be propagated by placing them in moist soil.
Most people are unaware that dracaenas can bloom, but they can, up to three times per year. Their flowers emit a heady scent. These plants do not like being repotted, once every three years is probably fine. Repotting and relocating the plant may stress it out and prevent blooming.
Sansevieria trifasciata mini.
Sansevieria trifasciata 'Jiboya'.
Epipremnum pinnatum 'N' Joy Pothos'.
Dracaena deremensis. Dracaena marginata. Dracaena fragrans. Dracaena sanderiana 'Celles'.