Top 10 Hard to Kill House Plants


We all know that not everyone is born with the magical green thumb. Some people seem to just have the touch and ideas to keep a garden looking beautiful throughout all of the seasons, or maybe they just know how to take good care of indoor house plants. On the other hand, we also know those who seem to be able to just look at a plant and kill it. That’s right; those people with the dreaded black thumb who could probably kill a vase of plastic flowers.

Some with the black thumb give up easily on planting, while others still have the urge to fill the corner with a [living] plant, but can’t. In any case, thankfully, there are flowers and plants available that are more on the “hardy” side. So, no matter if your thumb is black, here are ten plants that are perfect for those without a green thumb. Now, if you kill one of these plants, you’re really out of luck!

10. Philodendron – Philodendron bipinnatifidum

Image result for Philodendron

It is said that the Philodendron has been used as a house plant since the time of the Victorians. As a tropical plant, it requires some sun, but this can be achieved by letting it sit outside during the day, or using artificial light within your home. It can go for days without being watered

, but does prefer warm moist air. In any case this is a hard plant to ruin and is a great plant if you lack a green thumb. Photo by

9. Christmas Cactus – Epiphyllum

Image result for Christmas Cactus

Unlike most cacti, the Christmas Cactus isn’t one that’ll hurt you if you try to touch it. This cactus is an extremely easy plant to take care of, and usually doesn’t require re-potting. It’s important to be sure you don’t over-water it, but not watering it enough also damages the plant. To solve this, one thorough watering a week usually does the trick. This plant is extremely easy to take care of, and it’ll bloom once a year to bring some color into your living space.

8. Jade plant – Crassula ovata

Image result for Jade plant

The Jade plant is definitely one that catches eyes. With its out-of-the-ordinary leaves and pink flowers that bloom during the winter, the jade plant can make a good addition to your home. Because it only requires a little bit of sunlight and doesn’t need a lot of care, it’s the perfect plant that won’t die easily, no matter how much you neglect it.

7. Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema

The Chinese Evergreen in just the last five years has been able to produce more than 20 different varieties. This plant is cold tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of attention to keep it alive. However, it is important to make sure that the plant isn’t over-watered, so making sure that the pot is well drained is a necessity. It is a slow growing plant, so re-potting isn’t a big issue until about a year or so.

6. Croton – Codiaeum

Though this plant is nothing but leaves, it surely adds a good amount of color to any bland room in your home. You will usually find these in a tropical garden, but recently they have become extremely popular indoor plants. These plants do need more light than most, but stay colorful throughout the year. Its important to water this plant enough, as drying can damage it. Source

5. Spider plant – Chlorophytum comosum

Originally found in South Africa, the spider plant is probably one of the most widely used houseplants. This plant is definitely different looking, as its point long leaves eventually bud into flowers, that then die and turn into smaller spider plants. The spider plant loves a lot of bright light and can stand any temperature. It doesn’t need to be watered everyday, but in the summer watering is very important.

4. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum

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Watering plants is an important part of keeping them alive, and since plants can’t talk, it can be hard to know when its time to water them, especially if you’re no gardening expert. However, the Peace Lily’s leaves will start to wilt, in order to let you know that it’s literally in dying need of water. The Peace Lily doesn’t need much light, and is marked by leaves that bloom a white tall flower

3. ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas Zamiifolia

Image result for ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant is one that you can take with you wherever you live. It doesn’t require a lot of space, and it can take neglect extremely well. The ZZ plant can live without having enough water, and doesn’t require a specific type of lighting in order to grow. It is a slow growing plant, but introducing it to more light can surely speed up the process. This plant is great for those die hard black thumbs.

2. English Ivy – Hedera helix

Image result for English Ivy houseplant

Though English Ivy best thrives outside where it can grow up to 100ft. long, it still makes a great indoors plant. When keeping an ivy plant inside, it’s important that it is given enough sunlight during the day. Besides this, ivy is a very easy plant to take care of in your home. Since ivy grows so much, it’s important that you have enough room for it. But, you won’t regret this plant. It cleans your air for you!

1. African Violet – Saintpaulia

Image result for African Violet

Putting an African Violet in your home is a great way to add a touch of color. These plants don’t need direct sunlight, and are extremely hardy. They don’t need to be watered more than once a week, and its best that the plant is able to dry out before being watered again. You will find this plant offered in many different colors, including lavender, purple, mauve, and a two-color flower.

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  1. I received a philodendron clipping from my husband’s secretary when I met him in 1972. The plant is still growing strong despite some periods of horrendous neglect, i.e. no watering for months at a time. And my peace lilies have been thriving for more than 20 years. I have never had any success with either jade or african violets. I would like to add so color so I might try the chinese cactus.

  2. Skyla Thomas on

    Yucca is impossible to kill I have over watered this thing forgotten bout it for 6 months to dry up left it in the dark for days left it in a scalding window it’s beautiful kind of looks like a palm tree but short bright green and re potted it bout 4 months ago it was so top heavy it kept falling over and I don’t have a clue how to repot plants and its still great o and the baby and dog have chewed on it and they are fine 🙂 I love this thing gonna get more

  3. excellent site and was was wondering what to plant in a section of my house that doesn’t get alot of sunlite. keep up the good work!!

  4. please everyone if you plan to plant outside. just remember that if you are importing plants or seed from diffferent states or countries it could become an invasive species and wreck havoc on natural plants. make sure to do some history on the plant. i.e. johnson grass, kudzu, thistle….

  5. hi
    I have had peace lilies for more than 2 years now. It was given to me in memory of a housemate who passed away. It is easy to care for and i have divided the plant into 2, and now i have 2 pots. Its good to know that these plants act as air filter to the home. I love green leaves but love flowering kinds too. I now want to try a bonsai since it doesnt take a lot of watering or fertilising, right??

  6. I love this page, thank you to this site & all the comments for these beautiful plants / ideas;)

  7. I really need some advice I have peace lily which I bought 2months back &its full with healthy green leaves now it has some baby leaves but the leaves getting brown not yellow and not flower since I bought the plant. My Gardner came every week and give them water.

    Same thing goes to my others plant their leaves brown like burn &yellow on tip.

    Any help would be great

    • might check ph level in soil and over use of fertilizers would do it, also mold and how much or little humidity. also over watering. I guess really i am an enemy because I apply herbicides for a company I work for, but have some knowledge of plant physiology. lol hope this might give you ideas!!

  8. African Violets should NOT be number one on this list. They are actually fairly picky plants, and need relatively attentive caretakers to truely thrive. As well, they come in countless colours, and not only bi-coloured but tri-coloured as well. I currently have 12 varities of African Violet, and numerous cuttings. This plant NEEDS to be watered from the bottom, otherwise the leaf will burn and die.

    I would have liked to see the umbrella plant on this list, as well as the Madagascar Palm. Both plants are relatively easy to care for.

    I have to praise the Yucca, Jade and Dracaena – all plants that have survived long periods of neglect from myself or family members.

  9. i’ve killed multiple jade plants… and african violets are one of the hardest plants to keep (hint: you can’t get anything but the roots wet or they rot away).

  10. I have this plant and didn’t know what it was. Have managed to keep it alive for about 5 years so I guess it IS pretty tough to kill

  11. Move out cleaning on

    We all know that not everyone is born with the magical green thumb. Some people seem to just have the touch and ideas to keep a garden looking beautiful throughout all of the seasons, or maybe they just know how to take good care of indoor house plants. On the other hand, we also know those who seem to be able to just look at a plant and kill it. That's right; those people with the dreaded green thumb who could probably kill a vase of plastic flowers.

  12. The Ficus we have definitely is a survivor, it gets just ambient house light and has grown to the ceiling. It got so many little bugs tho eating on it I had to cut it back to the truck just leaving 3 branches with about 5 very little leaves on each. Me and my girlfriend laughed about it thinking I killed it. It now has grown back looking as good as ever with hardy any light . Sorry do not know what type of Ficus it is, it is not a fig which is also ficus. It is the kind you see in office building. Let me know if someone thinks they know what type it mite be.

  13. The one most important species you forgot are the retired people in Croatia.

    No food, water or warming for weeks, and still manage to survive somehow.

  14. I have to agree with Carolyne. My jade plant isn't doing so well and I already killed my lucky bamboo =(. I keep joking with my husband that I'm going to pull out all the plants in our yard and plant fake ones because we're so awful with keeping them alive.

  15. hmmmm… of this top 10 list, i've had 4 of these plants. i almost killed my jade plant and had to give it back to my mom to nurse it back to health lol. i killed an ivy, a few african violets, and my winter cactus. not on the list , but i've been told it's also a plant that's hard to kill but i've managed to kil one anyway, is an aloe plant. i've also just recently killed my bamboo.

    my mom keeps offering to buy me fake plants.

  16. I agree with lucky bamboo. I have neglected this plant for weeks and it comes back every time I add water. I actually feel guilty over my poor nurturing habits towards it. Yet it always rewards my pitiful attempts to revive it with more growth. It is a worthy contender for the Hard to Kill House plant hall of fame.

  17. The peace lily and English ivy are also excellent for improving air quality in the home.

    Mother-in-law's tongue or snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is also very hardy, as Mary mentioned. I've heard it called the 'behind the door' plant because it could withstand that much neglect. It is also a very good filter of indoor air pollution.

    Rubber plants fit both of these categories as well (easy to care for, good air filter).

  18. "Lucky Bamboo", while technically a grass, is the easiest plant I've ever had to take care of. If placed in a glass container filled with pebbles or beads, simply watch the water level of the jar/vase/glass it's in. As long as the glass is fairly full of water – you're good! Also, as the plant grows (quickly) you can cut it in half, and you have 2 plants!

    I bought a pair of them 3 years ago, and now I have over 12 of them all around the house. They get leafy too – you can also cut off the leaves if they have a bit of stalk, and BAM! Another plant! Lucky Bamboo is also unique in that you keep it in shady areas of your house with only ambient light. It's also a very cheap plant, so there is no need to worry if you do kill one, another one is just a couple dollars away!

    • Sorry, Ken – “Lucky Bamboo”, while technically a grass" is wrong. Lucky Bamboo is not a grass or a bamboo. It is Dracaena sanderiana, also known as Ribbon Dracaena. All Dracaenas are in the Liliacea family. This is important in that it offers clues to its care. Lucky Bamboos should be cared for like the tender tropical shrubs they are not like cold hardy sun-loving grasses & bamboos.