The Top Five Hardy Indoor Plants That Thrive in Both Extreme Conditions
We’ve all experienced the unintentional “planticide” that happens when we venture into gardening. It can be challenging to maintain your green friends, especially if you’re a beginner. But fear not, for today, I have curated a list of five resilient plants that are notably hard to kill.
My selection is based on personal experience and the hardiness of these plants under various conditions. Ideal for novice gardeners, these plants are your best bet to begin your journey toward developing a green thumb.
This list is designed in a reverse countdown format. We start with the fifth most complex plant to kill, eventually leading to the ultimate survivor at number one.
This rating system considers multiple factors, which I have categorized as ‘high’ and ‘low.’ These categories refer to the plant’s capacity to endure both extremes. But let’s dive deeper into these parameters with an example.
Understanding the Criteria: The Portulaca Case Study
Consider the Portulaca plant, which thrives under bright light. However, if you shift it to a low-light spot, the plant begins to wilt and stops blooming altogether. It cannot survive indoors.
This example illustrates how some plants cannot withstand certain extremes. But the plants I have chosen for this list are robust and capable of enduring both the high and low spectrum of these parameters.
These champion plants can withstand both bright and low-light conditions. The same duality applies to other variables, such as water, as these plants are equally comfortable in high and low watering conditions.
This blog post will delve into each plant’s specifics, giving you a clear understanding of their sturdiness. Let’s kick off this countdown with our fifth contender, a resilient plant that isn’t just hardy but also carries a lot of aesthetic appeal.
Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
The Aglaonema, commonly known as the Chinese Evergreen, hails from the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. These resilient species can be found in the wilds of Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia, usually nestled under larger plants in the forest.
The typical climate for these regions is high humidity, warm temperatures, and filtered sunlight, characteristic of tropical rainforests. The Chinese Evergreen has adapted to these conditions, which makes it a sturdy and adaptable addition to your indoor plant collection.
The Aglaonema plant has always been a part of my life. My mother nurtured a ‘Silver Queen’ Aglaonema that graced our home with its radiant beauty. Growing up with this plant allowed me to witness its hardiness firsthand.
Today, I can proudly say that my house is full of various Aglaonemas, a testament to their resilience and adaptability.
The dark corners of my house serve as the perfect setting for these plants. Despite the lack of direct sunlight, they survive and flourish, producing blooms that make them the perfect indoor companions. This impressive display is backed by my own experiences, leading me to conclude that Aglaonemas are incredibly tolerant of low-light conditions.
Various variants exhibit an exciting range of colors even within the Aglaonema family. From dark green to light green and even hues of red and pink, there’s an Aglaonema for every palette preference. The dark green variants have a unique advantage indoors, likely due to the higher levels of chlorophyll in their leaves.
Aglaonemas are lovers of humidity, but what truly astounds me is their ability to endure without water. There have been occasions when I’ve forgotten to water them, yet they have persevered without missing a beat.
These plants continue to thrive even under artificial air conditioning conditions, where the room’s humidity is significantly reduced.
The Aglaonema is a ‘bullet-proof’ plant in light of its almost indestructible nature. However, it claims the fifth spot on our list, as the higher plants have shown equally if not more, impressive resilience. Let’s move forward to discover these stronger contenders in our countdown.
Dieffenbachia: The Hardy Dumb Cane
Next up, claiming the fourth spot in our countdown, is the hardy Dieffenbachia, commonly called the Dumb Cane. Native to the hot and dry climates of the West Indies, Argentina, and Mexico, this plant showcases an exceptional adaptability that’s worth noting.
Despite originating from a region of intense sunlight, Dieffenbachia displays a unique capacity to tolerate and even thrive in low-light conditions. This propensity for shade makes it an excellent choice as an indoor plant.
Although, do beware of exposing it to harsh and direct sunlight, as this may result in scorched tips. Nevertheless, it doesn’t shy away from a fair share of bright light, underlining its versatility.
Regarding watering, Dieffenbachia showcases an impressive tolerance to drought. It’s healthier to allow the soil to dry completely between waterings, indicating its preference for periods of dryness.
While the Dumb Cane has good disease resistance, it can occasionally succumb to bacterial and fungal infections, leading to brown spots or leaf yellowing. It may be more susceptible to such issues than others on our list.
The Dieffenbachia needs to improve its ability to withstand cold temperatures. It favors a warmer climate, and low temperatures are bound to have a visible impact on the plant.
However, this setback is compensated by its broad range of humidity tolerance. It thrives in dry and humid environments, making it an adaptable addition to various home settings.
Let’s continue our countdown to discover the next hard-to-kill plant.
Golden Pothos: The Adaptable Devil’s Ivy
Securing the third spot in our lineup is the Golden Pothos, called Devil’s Ivy or the Money Plant. The robustness of this plant makes it an ideal choice for indoor gardening.
The Golden Pothos originates from southeastern Asia’s tropical, humid, and hot regions, where it thrives exceptionally.
However, its resilience extends beyond its native environment; the plant demonstrates an uncanny ability to survive even in the darkest rooms. It is not uncommon to find it gracing bathrooms and other low-light areas of homes.
I’ve also had the opportunity to witness its impressive growth outdoors. Mainly when it climbs up a tree, the size of its leaves noticeably increases, demonstrating a strong vitality. This testament to its remarkable tolerance to bright and low light is rare in the plant kingdom.
While the Golden Pothos relishes good humidity, it can also tolerate less watering and dry climates. However, prolonged periods of dryness can result in wilting and yellowing of its leaves, indicating its preference for regular hydration.
The plant’s resilience takes a slight hit regarding disease resistance. It’s known to be susceptible to various bacterial and fungal infections.
Despite this minor setback, its robust nature and ease of care make it a deserving contender in our list of hard-to-kill indoor plants.
Let’s continue the countdown to discover the top two hardy plants ideal for beginner gardeners.
Sansevieria: The Resilient Snake Plant
Our runner-up is a personal favorite of mine: the Sansevieria, also colloquially known as the Mother-in-law’s tongue or the snake plant. This plant is renowned for its extreme resilience, even jokingly considered nearly impossible to kill unless you’re cursed with a so-called ‘black thumb.’
The unique attribute of the Sansevieria is its ability to thrive on neglect. Simply put, the less attention you give it, the better it grows. This plant’s hardiness extends to an aversion to over-watering. Overindulgence in water can lead to wilting, yellowing, and eventual dropping of its leaves.
However, leave it alone, provide minimal water, and the Sansevieria will thrive and grow, even over extended periods of neglect.
Hailing from the hot and dry climates of Africa and Madagascar, the snake plant is naturally inclined to flourish in similar conditions. Yet, its love for brightness doesn’t limit it to only well-lit areas.
One of its most impressive qualities is its exceptional tolerance for low light. This ability is so renowned that the gardening community has a running joke: you can grow a Sansevieria in a closet!
While it appreciates moderate water, this plant is known for its high disease resistance. However, it isn’t completely immune, with certain fungal diseases occasionally affecting it. Another aspect of its low maintenance is its minimal need for fertilization, allowing it to go without any.
Remember that the Sansevieria is a slow-growing plant, so patience is vital if you start with a small specimen. Its steady growth rate, however, doesn’t deter from its status as an ideal choice for beginner gardeners seeking a hard-to-kill indoor plant.
Now, let’s proceed to the number one spot in our list of hardy indoor plants.
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia: The Unstoppable ZZ Plant
We have finally reached the pinnacle of our list, proudly occupied by the ZZ plant or Zamioculcas zamiifolia. This plant has rightfully earned its spot as the hardiest indoor plant we have encountered. Given its mouthful of a scientific name, it’s often fondly referred to as ZZ.
One of my favorites, the ZZ plant, captivates me with its stunning glossy green foliage. Its beauty, however, is more than matched by its robustness. This plant has an outstanding survival record, having never succumbed under my care.
The ZZ plant’s resilience extends to its light tolerance. It comfortably endures both brightly lit and dimly lit conditions. Despite being placed in one of the darkest rooms in my home, it thrives, albeit at a slower pace. It’s a testament to its hardiness that my ZZ plant, situated in a room with no direct sunlight, has lived and grown for two years.
While a lack of sunlight does slow its growth, this can be a hidden advantage. The plant requires less pruning and repotting, making it an even more hassle-free addition to your space.
Optimally, the ZZ grows best under bright light, but harsh afternoon sunlight might scorch its leaves. The plant exhibits a remarkable tolerance to drought, capable of surviving weeks without water without showing signs of wilting. However, yellowing leaves serve as a distress signal that the plant is thirsty and requires water.
The ZZ plant’s hardiness also extends to its resistance to diseases. In my experience, I’ve yet to encounter a ZZ suffering from any disorders.
In terms of temperature, it can endure a broad spectrum, comfortably living in hot climates and cool, air-conditioned spaces alike. This impressive range extends to its humidity tolerance, thriving in low and high-humidity environments.
The ZZ plant’s remarkable adaptability to varying conditions and overall hardiness earns it the top spot in our countdown of the most resilient indoor plants.
As a concluding note to all budding gardeners, this list can guide you if you consider adopting an indoor plant. These plants have been tried and tested, proven to survive even the unintentional neglect of your initial gardening years.
Learning to tend to your plants may lead to a few missteps, but these forgiving greens will endure and flourish.
People Also Asked Questions
Q: What is the toughest indoor plant?
A: The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is often considered one of the toughest indoor plants, tolerant to low light, irregular watering, and various temperatures.
Q: Which indoor plants live the longest?
A: Many indoor palm trees and jade plants are known to live for decades if well cared for. Other long-lived houseplants include the spider plant, snake plant, and philodendron.
Q: What houseplants are sensitive to cold temperatures?
A: Tropical indoor plants like the Peace Lily, Philodendrons, and many types of Ferns are sensitive to cold temperatures. Anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can cause them to exhibit signs of distress.
Q: What is the longest blooming indoor plant?
A: The Kalanchoe is known for having one of the longest blooming seasons amongst indoor plants. Other long-blooming indoor plants include Begonias, African Violets, and Orchids.
Q: What are the easiest houseplants to keep alive?
A: Snake plants, spider plants, and pothos are some of the easiest houseplants to keep alive. They’re very resilient, require minimal attention, and are known for their ability to thrive in various light conditions.
Q: Which indoor plant grow faster?
A: The Pothos plant, known as Devil’s Ivy, is among the fastest-growing indoor plants. Others include the Spider Plant and English Ivy. These plants can grow in various lighting conditions and are generally easy to care for.