The internet is filled with exotic tales of hard to find plants that are even harder to keep alive. Yes, we do have most of these unusual plants, but this column is dedicated to the new home gardener just starting out. It’s best to start with easy to care for plants. This is even more true when adding plants to a low light office, the throngs of people in a commercial setting, or RVing calls more than plants at home. This list of plants love the indoors and bound back with even a little love for easy to grow houseplants.
Aloe Vera is a straightforward plant to grow and cultivate. The key to keeping an aloe alive is not over-watering it. Aloes like dry soil, so you only give them a good soak about every two weeks. They prefer low light rooms away from the sunlight pouring directly through windows.
Jade – You’ll find more than a few succulents on this list because they’re some of the easiest plants to grow. While Jade doesn’t need a lot of water, it does require more than aloes do. If the soil is dry on top, give it some water. Also, unlike aloe, jade plants need to be in a bright room or direct sunlight.
Hen and Chicks flourish indoors and out. The plant grows many offshoots, the ‘chicks,’ which can be separated from the original plant, the ‘hen’. You can then transplant these chicks into their own pots. If you like to gift plants, a hen and chicks provide endless gifts for everyone in your life. Naturally, it grows in dry, rocky areas. They are so tough gardeners like to plant them in old boots and other fun DIY planters.
Lucky Bamboo is closely related to asparagus. It acquired the “lucky” reference because it is frequently gifted to new homeowners to bring good luck to their new place. The real luck is how easy it is to care for. Short of pure neglect, you’ll be hard-pressed to kill a lucky bamboo.
African Violet is one of the rare plants that bloom in low light. An east-facing window is the magic placement for seemingly endless blooms. Repot them in a designer African Violet pot, and this bloomer is even easier to grow.
Spider Plant just looks elegant. This plant got its name from the offshoots extending down from the mother plant that resemble spider legs. They make excellent hanging plants and perform well when dangling off a plant stand, table, or cabinets.
English Ivy never stops growing with a full long life. Ivy likes drier soil, so don’t water too often. You will find several varieties at the garden center, but English ivy is most common. These plants grow almost anywhere but seem to prefer bright rooms and sunlight.
ZZ Plant – With its tall succulent stems and architecturally bold structure, this plant is a favorite for homes with modern decors. It requires little maintenance and is nearly indestructible. It is the perfect plant for those that travel a lot. Place ZZ in medium to high light and water only when the soil is bone dry.
Madagascar Palm – The swollen stem grows upwards with the leaves surrounding the crown. This palm has a healthy Southwest style that is sure to please. Just don’t poke yourself on the spine covered trunk.
Garden Alert! There is an outbreak of spider mites on local houseplants. If your plants appear dusty, dry with possible spider webbing, your plant needs help. Another test is to tap an infected sample over the glass of your cellphone; if the dust appears to crawl over the surface, your plant has a spider mite infestation.
Plant death is certain if left untreated. Treat the soil with Systemic Granules and spray the foliage with Triple Action ASAP. Reapply the spray in 10 days, and the plant will rebound quickly. Just catch this pest early. If you have any doubts, bring an enclosed sample to the garden center. We will place it under the insect microscope for instant clarity.
Feed with Root & Grow Houseplant food after the last Triple Action application to encourage rich new leaf growth.
Until next week, I’ll be helping local gardeners choose the easiest plants to grow in their homes.