12 Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants

closeup of aglaonema

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

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 sunlight from a window and prefer the same indoor temperatures as most people (55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit). A few will require a bit more pampering, but nothing extreme.

As with any plant, there is always the threat of houseplant 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.

houseplants that are hard to kill

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  • 01 of 12

    Aloe (Aloe vera)

    potted aloe

    The Spruce / Michael Marquand

    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)

  • 02 of 12

    Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra relation)

    Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra relation)
    Matthew Ward / Getty Images

    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)

  • 03 of 12

    Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutated)

    Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutated)
    Jerry Pavia / Getty Images

    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)

  • 04 of 12

    Holiday Cactus (Zygocactus or Schlumbergera)

    Christmas Cactus (Zygocactus or Schlumbergera)
    Michael Pieracci / Getty Images

    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 the houseplant after blooming will keep it 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) 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.
  • 05 of 12

    Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

    closeup of a dumb cane

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    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 pets like cats and dogs . And choose plants that are safe for kids to grow. (USDA zones 11+)

  • 06 of 12

    Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)

    a jade plant (crassula ovata)

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida 

    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)

  • 07 of 12

    Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

    closeup of a lucky bamboo

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    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 sanderiana), 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)

  • 08 of 12

    Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

    a snake plant

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    These are long-lived, easy-care houseplants. Snake plant 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.
  • 09 of 12

    Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

    a peace lily in an apartment

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    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+)

  • 10 of 12

    Pothos (Epipremnum)

    hanging pothos

    The Spruce

    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 a support or trellis. There are many variegated and golden varieties available. (USDA zones 11+)

  • 11 of 12

    Prayer Plant (Maranta)

    potted prayer plant

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    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 cleaning the leaves will help keep them hydrated as well as washing off pests. (USDA zones 11+)

  • 12 of 12

    Spider Plant (Chlorophytum homo sum)

    a spider plant on a mantel

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    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 the houseplant might be necessary every couple of years. When dangling babies start to form roots, carefully remove them from the mother plant to propagate more spider plants. (USDA zones 9-11)

If you want to get creative with choosing your houseplant, you can pick a plant based on your zodiac sign.

  • What is a high-maintenance plant?

    On the other end of the spectrum from hard-to-kill houseplants, some common examples of high-maintenance plants include fiddle leaf figs and orchids. They can be quite sensitive to their light and moisture conditions.

  • Are monsteras hardy?

    Monstera species can be a fairly hardy houseplant, as they thrive at room temperature between roughly 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. But they do like a rather humid environment and can struggle if the air is too dry or they're exposed to drafts and drying air from vents.

  • Are ferns high-maintenance?

    Fern species are popular houseplants for their lush foliage. But they can be temperamental when it comes to their moisture and humidity levels. They also must be protected from temperature extremes.