Some houseplants can take care of themselves. In fact, your biggest problem might be what to do with all the baby plants they'll produce. Almost all the indoor plants described here can be grown in the indirect light from a window and prefer the same indoor temperatures as most people (55 - 75 degrees Farenheit). A few will require a bit more pampering, but nothing extreme.
As with any houseplant, there is always the threat of insect pests like aphids, scale, spider mites, and whiteflies. But disease-wise an issue you're likely to incur is root rot from too much watering. Thus, the indoor plants described here are also perfect for someone who always forgets to water their plants.
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The sap from aloe vera plants is used as a skin moisturizer and to heal minor cuts and ease sunburn. While it is a very useful plant, it's also attractive. Because it is a succulent, it needs very little water and prefers bright, but indirect sunlight, especially in cooler temperatures. An aloe plant will grow for years in the same container. If you decide to use some leaves, don't remove more than a third of the plant at one time. ( USDA Zones 8 - 11)
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The cast iron plant earned its name by surviving under the worst of conditions, even outdoors in the deep shade. It prefers low light. The leaves are sword-like, pointed, and about four inches wide and two feet long. The cast iron plant grows in a clump and will occasionally flower indoors. A variegated version is available with white stripes and 'Milky Way' is studded with white dots. (USDA Zones 7 - 9)
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The Chinese evergreen plant is extremely forgiving and can adapt to most indoor conditions although it does not like drafts or prolonged temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It prefers low or indirect sunlight. Allow the soil to remain dry for a few days before re-watering. Most varieties have some type of variegated leaf making them all the more attractive. (USDA Zones 6 - 9)
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The Holiday cactus is a trailing member of the cactus family that produces deep pink or red flowers in early winter. This is the type of plant that seems to do its best when ignored. It can handle low light but will produce more flowers in bright light. Pruning after blooming will keep the plant bushy and full.
You can force your Holiday cactus to bloom in December by keeping it in complete darkness for 12 hours per night, beginning in about mid-October. Leave it in the dark until buds appear. An even easier method is to subject it to cool temperatures (50 - 55 degrees Fahrenheit) starting in November. Leave the plant on a windowsill at home when the heat is off and you are at work. You should see flower buds forming in weeks. (USDA Zones 9 - 11).Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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The variegated leaves of dumb cane can be extremely attractive and it is not a particularly difficult plant to grow. It does like the temperature to be on the warm side, so avoid placing it near windows and drafts. Use caution when growing this plant around pets and children. The sap can be a skin irritant and, if ingested, it can cause a temporary inability to speak. To avoid a potential problem with pets, grow plants that are safe for cats and dogs . And, choose plants that are safe for children to grow. (USDA Zones 11+)
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With its thick, glossy leaves, the jade plant is one of the most popular indoor plants. To grow lush and healthy, jade plants need plenty of sunlight, so place it in the brightest room in your home. The tricky part about growing jade plants is providing the right amount of water. Too much water will cause their roots to rot. Too little water will result in them dropping their leaves. Allow the soil to completely dry out before giving them more water, but don't let them sit thirsty for too long. (USDA Zones 10 - 11)
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Dracaena has long been the centerpiece of container plantings. Urban container gardens planted in towns across America feature one spiky dracaena stuck in the center of red blooming geraniums in a half whiskey barrel. But there is a good amount of variety in the genre of dracaena and most make excellent easy-care houseplants.
Two great choices are Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginal), which resembles a small palm tree and can reach heights of 10 feet, and Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanders), which isn't bamboo at all. Both have stems that can be trained to bend or spiral. The stems are topped by clusters of slender arching leaves with narrow purple margins. They grow best in bright light and if allowed to dry out between waterings.
Lucky bamboo is often grown in water, but once substantial roots have formed, it is much happier planted in soil. Even if allowed to wilt, dracaena will spring back after watering, although the leaf tips might turn brown. Dracaena will tolerate low light. (USDA Zones 10 - 11)
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It's sometimes called Mother-in-law's tongue because of its long, sharp, pointed leaves and because it lasts so long. These are long-lived, easy-care houseplants. Mother-in-law's tongue is tolerant of low light. Water sparingly or it will rot. Only one or two waterings are necessary indoors during the winter, depending on the level of humidity. Variegated forms need more light and can be more difficult to grow. Sansevieria trifasciata 'Hahnii', also known as the birds nest snake plant, is a low-growing, compact variety, (USDA Zones 10+)Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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The flowers of the peace lily are its most striking feature. The white flowers are the long, thin white pannicle that is surrounded by a white leaf-like structure called a spathe. The spathe starts bright white, but fades to yellow or green, as it ages. While the peace lily prefers warm, humid conditions, it can be made comfortable in your home, if you do not place it near drafts or in rooms that remain unheated for long periods. (USDA Zones 11+)
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Pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to grow and almost impossible to kill. Pothos are trailing plants that just keep on growing, up to 10 feet or more. Pruning the plants will keep them fuller at the base and each cutting can be rooted in water to create more plants. Pothos plants like to dry out between waterings, but if left dry too long, leaves with wilt and eventually dry and fall. They are very tolerant of all types of light conditions, even artificial office lights. You can let them trail down or secure them to support or trellis. There are many variegated and golden varieties available. (USDA Zones 11+)
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The Maranta species contains plants with some of the most colorful leaves you could ask for. Although not particular about growing conditions, you will have the best luck if you locate it in a sunny spot with consistently warm temperatures. Prayer plants can also attract indoor pests, so keep a close watch on yours and catch any problems before they have a chance to explode. Periodically washing the leaves will help keep them hydrated as well as washing off pests. (USDA Zones 11+)
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Spider plants just keep on giving. You rarely see a spider plant that doesn't have babies attached. Often grown in hanging baskets, spider plants will grow two to two and a half feet wide and two to three feet long. Their roots tend to fill a pot, so repotting might be necessary every couple of years. When dangling babies start to form roots, carefully remove them from the mother plant to propagate more plants. (USDA Zones 9 - 11)
If you want to get creative with choosing your houseplant, you can pick one based on your zodiac sign.