| January 18, 2013

Having plants in your house can be great thing. 

They can bring a bit of nature into an otherwise industrial apartment.

READ: We Tried It: Click and Grow

They can brighten up any room or lighten your mood in these bleak and dreary winter months.

And if the thought of being accountable for another life besides your own is a terrifying prospect (as is the case with yours truly), a plant is a good first step on the road to responsibility.

But caring for a houseplant can get tedious, especially when you already have a hectic schedule.

Here are four (almost) fool-proof starter plants for even the blackest thumbs:


“Mother-in-law’s tongue” (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Origin: South Africa

Getting its colloquial name for the sharpness of its leaves (get it?), this unique plant is perfect for indoor climates, and especially perfect for someone who is rarely home.  These resilient plants only need to be watered once every couple of months in the winter and can withstand low levels of light if you’re tight on window space.  This beauty is even praised by NASA, which concluded that it is one of the best plants to improve your indoor air quality. 

Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Origin: Southern Japan

Another option if you just can’t seem to find the time or willpower to keep a plant alive is the cast iron. It can survive low-light conditions (it actually thrives when away from direct sunlight) and can easily withstand neglect. Although it’s a modest, traditionally “unsexy” plant, it’s a perfect fit for any gentleman who wants to accent his living space without feeling like he’s over doing it.

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Origin: East Africa

A plant that seems to be named for the botanists who didn’t want to constantly pronounce "zamioculcas zamiifoli." The cactus-like ZZ plant is a drought-proof beauty that almost looks artificial just because of how glossy its leaves are. It thrives in medium-to-bright light, but can survive in most low-light conditions. The only precaution with the ZZ plant is that it is poisonous if ingested, so it’s best kept from small children or curious pets.

Air plant (Tillandsia ionantha)

Origin: South America

The air plant gets its name because of its unique ability to grow without soil! Unlike most plants, which get their energy from the ground, the air plant absorbs the nutrients and water that it needs through its leaves.  They’re incredibly small, and can be contained in a terrarium (such as a glass jar, piece of wood, or even a seashell!) Make sure to spray the top of the plants with water, rather than the bottom.