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Got a Brown Thumb? Try these hard-to-kill plants!

Got a Brown Thumb? Try these hard-to-kill plants!

With spring almost here, balconies, porches, and living rooms will be begging to be spruced up with green living things.

But if you have a brown thumb like me, you may have a love-hate relationship with plants. Love having them around and hate seeing wasting your money and seeing them die. You may be wondering if there’s a plant out there that you can’t kill. If you get the right types, yes.

Since plants usually die because of drought, low light, and low-humidity in winter, the trick, I’ve learned, is to choose plants that don’t have one or more of those needs. These hardy plants are ones need little to no light, can go up to 10 days without water (should you decide to run off somewhere for a week), and with minimal extra care, can make it through most winters.

Succulents & Cactus

Because succulents store water in their leaves – which gives them that thick, fleshy feel – you will only need to water them every 10 days or so. They are fairly hard to kill. Hurray!

coral cactus(1)flower and plants on window sillAn assortment of succulents & cactus brighten up this kitchen window

Bromeliads and Sago Palms

These leafy indoor plants are super durable. Because they’re typically found in hotter climates, they can withstand a bit of drought before drying out and dying. Oh and here’s a fun fact: Pineapples come from the bromeliad family!

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

The ZZ plant is considered some of the hardest to kill and the easiest to care for.  They are thick and bulbous at the base and taper to a beautiful tip. We’re sweet on these because they do well in apartments and look good in them too.



Well-recognized as a sustainable material, bamboo plants are a nice option for brown-thumbers and those of us looking for low-maintenance greenery.  Keep in mind, although they don’t require much maintenance, bamboos do need some special care.

SPECIAL CARE: Use filtered or bottled water only and replace the water once a week. Don’t use tap water as even traces of chlorine or chemicals can damage the plant’s fibers.

Take a cue from florists and occasionally, add flowers or other
plants to your bamboo arrangement to create a whole different look.

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the bike shelf


You gotta love orchids!  They are the flowers that last, even the cheap ones you get at Home Depot. They gorgeous and have that Zen vibe which looks cool anywhere—on coffee tables, dining tables, desks, dressers, and in bathrooms. The nice thing about orchids is that you expect them to die eventfully, so you don’t need to feel guilty when they do. And with just a wee bit of care, most will live longer than you expect. 

Plant shopping tips

typessucculentsDifferent types of succulents

Plants come in many varieties so within the 5 categories we’ve recommended, you literally have 100s of options to choose from.

Succulents, for example, come in a wide variety of shapes and textures—some have blooms, most don’t, and many have interesting, yet different, characteristics. Kalanchoe and Jade Plant are two types of succulents worth considering but it’s best to keep an open until you get to the nursery and see what they carry. After reviewing your options, select the 2-3 you like best and ask the onsite expert to help you make a decision based on your specific gardening challenge.

Before you buy

  • Find out what kind of sunlight, if any, you get in your apartment—what direction your window face and approximately how many hours of sunlight you get on an average day.
  • Check the label to see what level of care a plant needs. If you have smaller windows (less sunlight), look for plants that read “Resilient,” “Needs Minimal Attention” or “Minimal Indirect Light.” 

The gadget that reminds you to water your plants

Thank God for people who think, right?  A Swedish company just developed a watering can, The Freiya, that reminds you when it’s time to water your plants.  It factors in their species, the type of pot you’re using, temperature, weather, etc.

Now that you have some ideas for beautiful, virtually unkillable plants, don’t you feel a little more hopeful about your next relationship with one?

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