By: Kim Regala, Staff Writer
As someone who has killed a cactus before from feeding it too much water, I am just as surprised to be proclaiming myself today as . . . a Plant Mom™. Now before you dismiss me of my lack of credibility in writing this list, I must say that over the years, I have come to learn a thing or two about plant parenting. While I’m certainly not an expert at plant parenthood, I have had lots of experience tending to the 10 plants (and counting) that live inside my bedroom. If you’re looking to begin your own plant family or are wanting to add some easy-to-take-care-of plants to your collection, here is my personal list of favourite low-maintenance indoor plants.
Possibly the easiest (and most obvious) option is the succulent. They come in various shapes and sizes — from those with pointy leaves to ones that form a lotus-like circular arrangement. No matter the case, these plants require very little care, making them the absolute go-to for any beginner plant parent. In the colder seasons when there is a higher humidity, watering them can be as infrequent as every two weeks. As for the summer and drier weather conditions, once a week will do just the trick.
Since cacti are part of the succulent family, and they are typically found in warm climates, you may think that these plants demand plenty of sunlight. However, just about three hours of light daily will keep these plants happy for the rest of the day — much to my surprise as well. It’s even advised to avoid too much direct sunlight as the heat could scorch their precious leaves. Ideally, these plants are best situated on a windowsill or on a nearby desk. Considering just how low maintenance they are, you could place them pretty much anywhere you choose and they are sure to last you for a long time.
If you thought succulents were the embodiment of lazy plant parenting, wait until you hear about this next one. Snake plants, otherwise known as the sansevieria or the mother-in-law’s tongue, are quite possibly the toughest plants out there. Their sword-like leaves stick up vertically from their pots, giving them a literal edgy look. Known for their extreme environmental versatility, these bad boys will never die on you, no matter how hard you try. I barely remember the last time I watered my own snake plant, and somehow, it still sits on my shelf looking healthy as ever. While I definitely don’t approve of neglectful plant parenting, this just goes to show how completely adaptable these babies are to any conditions. Depending on the lighting and temperature of your room, watering them can be as infrequent as every two weeks, to really infrequent as every six weeks. As for sunlight, their preferences are non-existent as they can tolerate anything from low light to high light. If these reasons aren’t enough, may I also add that snake plants are known for filtering out toxic air at night? I’m sure we’re all needing to cut a little bit of toxicity out of our lives, and this plant will do just that for you.
Owning plants that barely require caring are great and all, but if you’re really looking to dive into the life of plant parenting, consider the lovely peace lily. With dark green leaves spreading out of the pot, and white lilies blooming in the spring and early summer, these plants will certainly liven up any room. My peace lily taught me everything there was to learn about being a true Plant Mom™! There’s a bit more commitment needed, as watering is required every three to four days, or once the soil is completely dry. The benefit, though, is that these plants prefer low light and are even sensitive to direct sunlight. This makes them perfect for spaces that may not have access to windows. It may sound as if taking care of these plants is a lot of responsibility, but I kid you not, these babies will literally communicate all of their needs to you. If they’re feeling thirsty, their leaves will droop until you provide them with sufficient water, to which they will quickly rise back up. If they are too warm or are given too much direct sunlight, they may develop brown tips on their leaves to let you know. This one is definitely a good starter plant for those looking to up their plant-parenting skills.
Despite my dislike for coffee — shocking coming from a college student, I know — my coffee plant is probably one of my favourite plants that I own. And yes, before you ask, they do grow coffee beans too. However, I wouldn’t suggest waiting on these guys for your next caffeine fix, as they will require at least three to four years to come in. It has only been a few months since I received this plant from my boyfriend, and already, he has grown twice the size as to when I first got him. As a tropical plant, this one does require the most watering out of all the plants mentioned in this list. It prefers to live in moist soil, which means that you may find yourself replenishing him nearly everyday or every other day. In terms of sunlight, I would strongly urge to keep it away from any direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight could keep its leaves looking brown on the edges, as you can tell from my poor choice of placement by the window when I first brought him home. At this point, you may be thinking that I’m stretching the definition of “low maintenance” with the last one on this list. You are absolutely right, but hear me out. Seeing this plant grow from all the hard work I’ve put in is one of the most gratifying feelings I have ever felt. And if that’s not the epitome of plant parenting, I don’t know what is.