Forgiving Houseplants

These are the perfect plants for indoor gardeners with brown thumbs.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Felder Rushing

Photo By: Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Photo By: Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Photo By: Photo by Lynn Coulter

Photo By: Image courtesy of Costa Farms

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Felder Rushing

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey


Aloe (Aloe vera) is best known for its plump leaves that can provide a soothing gel for cuts and burns. Allow the plant's soil to dry completely in between waterings; depending on the humidity of your home, that may mean watering as little as every two to three weeks.

Snake Plant

The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law's tongue or ribbon plant (Sansevieria), is a succulent with thick, waxy leaves. It loves being potbound and thrives on being ignored — the perfect plant for two-week vacationers.


Give bromeliads bright light and they'll produce colorful foliage and flowers.


Jade is a low-maintenance succulent houseplant.


Pothos, a member of the philodendron family, is fast-growing and has striking variegated leaves.

Rabbit's Ear

Rabbit's ear (a member of the kalanchoe family) is a moderately fast grower (about three new leaves every two months) and has hairy leaves that help prevent against water loss due to evaporation.

Rubber Plant

Houseplants, such as this rubber tree plant, make exceptional specimens for the home.

Dieffenbachia or Dumb Cane

Dramatic, large leaves in many variegated forms makes dieffenbachia a popular indoor plant. Prune it to keep it from getting leggy.


Heart-leaf philodendron is a fast-growing houseplant, with deep green heart-shaped leaves.

Spider Plant

The spider plant is an extremely easy-to-grow plant that also handily produces small "pups." Each of these plantlets can be rooted in potting soil.


Ideal for a centrally-heated home, this group of cacti and succulents thrives in a warm, sunny environment.

Cast-iron Plant

Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra) 'Milky Way' can handle low light (north-facing), high light (but not direct sun) and extreme temperature changes; it's also drought-tolerant and slow-growing. Another forgiving plant: dracena, often called corn plant.

Umbrella Tree

Umbrella tree, or Hawaiian schefflera, is fast-growing and easy to contain in size by clipping the top leaves.


Kalanchoe is a tropical succulent that is available in various forms, from the perfect-for-hanging baskets Kalanchoe manginii to the wide-leafed and colorful 'Flapjack'. Water when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Air Plants (Tillandsia)

Air plants are epiphytes, meaning they can grow without soil and making Tillandsia one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. Simply mist your air plants with water once a week to keep them nice and healthy.