The Best House Plants for Busy People
The Best House Plants for Busy People
Some people have the knack for growing the most delicate plants, seemingly with no effort. Others have empty pots stacked around their house as a testament to their failed attempts at nurturing greenery.
The plants listed here will survive neglect and sometimes even verbal abuse. If you love decorating your home with plants, but are too busy to play nursemaid to them, check out the following hardy house plants. Your friends will be "green" with envy.
Indigenous to South Africa, this succulent has smooth oval-shaped leaves. The jade plant thrives with minimal watering and fuss.
Overwatering it will cause the leaves to drop off and the stem and roots to rot. A once a month drink of H2O should be plenty.
The jade plant will do well in medium light to high light levels.The leaves may become scorched with too much heat or direct sun exposure, so slowly acclimate the plant if you are moving it outdoors. The jade plant is also tolerant of a light frost.
If the plant becomes top heavy, snip off the top to encourage bottom growth. With the right growing conditions, the plant will bloom in the spring.
Leaves dropped onto the soil may grow roots, rewarding you with new baby jade plants.
Heart-shaped Leaf Philodendron
A philodendron is easy to care for, easy to propagate and it thrives on low or medium light. What more can you ask for in a houseplant?
The heart-shaped leaf philodendron is a real beauty. I have seen it vine around an entire room, adding a touch of the outdoors to a home.
This plant thrives with moderate water, but will recover quickly even if the leaves have started to droop - just add water.
Severe neglect of a philodendron will cause leaves to drop, but if there is still life, there is hope. Just snip off the live end of the vine and place it in water. Within a few weeks roots will appear, and the vine can be potted.
If the remains of the plant left in the pot show any life, add water and continue watering as usual. The philodendron may recover and surprise you.
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The snake plant, or mother-in-law's tongue, is a western Africa native. Its spear shaped leaves form clumps, and new spears will grow up around the older ones.
Preferring a bi-weekly watering, this plant can survive with much less. It does well in low to high light levels, though it thrives in areas with more light.
The snake plant actually grows better if it is slightly root bound, so there is no need for frequent repotting.
The snake plant is easily propagated from root cuttings. It can be invasive if planted outdoors in a temperate climate.
According to a study done by NASA, this is a good plant for removing indoor air pollutants.
Not just for Christmas anymore, these cacti are easy to propagate and grow. The leaves are segmented, and can be snipped off and rooted to create new plants.
A Christmas cactus will grow best with full to moderate light. A prolonged period of low light levels is used to encourage blooming. Start giving the cactus a full 12 hours of dark starting in October, and you should have blossoms in time for the holidays.
Although it is a member of the cactus family, it needs more water than desert cacti. Allow the soil to dry between waterings. The Christmas cactus will drop leaves and flowers if exposed to too much cold, so keep it away from drafts.
The wandering Jew, a type of spiderwort, is a favorite hanging plant. Its leaves can be solid green or red or white striped.
This plant's name is supposedly because it is like the Jewish people of the Bible; it is able to "wander" and adapt to various environments and conditions.
The wandering Jew is bushy, with fast growing vines.To keep it from looking stringy, pinch off the ends of branches.
This plant does well with high, indirect light. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but be aware leaf drop will occur if the plant gets too dry.
It is very easy to create many new plants. Just snip off sections of a wandering Jew's vining branch and place in water until new roots form, or stick the vines into a pot and partially cover with soil.
This member of the fig tree family is a popular indoor plant. It grows slowly if it is not repotted too often.
It only needs a moderate amount of water, and will lose leaves if it is over-watered. A once monthly watering is best if the ficus is in a well-draining pot. It is a semi-tropical plant that doesn't require high humidity to thrive.
It does well with bright light, but avoid direct outdoor sunlight unless the tree has been slowly conditioned to it.
Keep it away from doors in the winter as it does not do well with cold drafts, and leaf drop may occur.
A ficus can be propagated with root cuttings or air layering.
Chlorophytum comosum, the spider plant, is named for the long shoots with spider-like "babies" the plant puts off. The leaves will be either solid green or variegated.
It is native to South Africa, and can be used as an outdoor plant in temperate climates. It is very invasive so think hard about where you want to plant it.
It prefers bright light but will tolerate low light levels. It will do well with infrequent watering in the winter, but requires a weekly water in the summer.
The spider plant can be propagated through root cuttings, or by sticking the new "babies" in soil or water until roots form.
The spider plant is also on NASA's list of useful plants for removing indoor air pollution.
Dieffenbachia, Dumb Cane, Mother-in-law's Tongue
This is a beautiful upright growing plant with broad white or yellow striped leaves. "Dumb cane" prefers moderate light, and the soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings.
If you put the plant outside, do not subject it to direct sunlight.
If the plant is subjected to too much neglect, or even gets broken, just snip the stalk about 6 inches below the lowest leaves and put in a vase of water. Roots should begin to grow within a few weeks, and after two months the dieffenbachia should be ready to pot again.
Diffienbachia can be grown outdoors in a tropical climate.
If you can kill a cactus, you have a serious brown-thumb and may want to stick to plastic or silk plants! A cactus is a very slow grower, and will rarely need repotting.
Most cactus only need to be watered less than once a month. If you are not sure if it needs to be watered, insert a straw into the soil all the way to the bottom of the pot. If the straw comes out damp, do not water. Water the cactus only if the soil is dry all the way through.
Cacti need a good soil that allows for adequate drainage. It is best to water your cactus from the bottom, if possible.
Rainwater is best for watering a cactus. It contains all the nutrients your cactus will need to thrive.
A cactus needs full sunlight, but be careful when moving it outdoors. It will need to slowly acclimate, or else it will suffer from sunburn.
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