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    Updated on Jan 26, 2020. Posted on Jan 25, 2020

    Houseplants You'll Want In Your Home If You Suck At Keeping Plants Alive

    Black thumbs, assemble!

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    Plants: They purify the air, they’re pretty to look at, and they’re even known to reduce stress. What can’t plants do, amirite? Well, depending on the houseplant and its owner...live, perhaps.

    Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed

    If you’ve ever brought home a leafy new pal only to watch it meet its fate within months and wonder where you went wrong, you’re not alone. But before green guilt overwhelms you and you dub yourself the Chlorophyll Killer, you need to know one thing: All houseplants are not created equal.

    There are some plants that can thrive under varied conditions while others require very specific amounts of water and light to live their best life. No matter your level of expertise, it can take some practice to figure out which ones are the best fit for you and your home.

    Common plant-killing mistakes:

    Warner Bros. / Via giphy.com

    Overwatering is one of the top mistakes for new plant owners, so be mindful of how much water your houseplant really needs. “The best tip for any plant parent is to have a well-draining vessel to avoid root rot and keep the soil aerated,” advise Roy Paar and Milana Naumenko, co-owners of NYC-based plant shop Water and Light.

    You’ll also want to get the ideal light exposure for your new plant down, which can take some time; observe how your plant reacts to wherever you place it, and if it shows signs of new growth. “Shriveling or crispy leaves may indicate too much sun, whereas new growth appearing long and leggy with smaller leaves usually indicates that the plant wants more light and is searching for it,” Paar and Milana say.

    And if your plant is stressed, says Summer Rayne Oakes, author of How to Make a Plant Love You, it may invite plant pests, which can kill a plant if you don’t act fast. (You can find some of her plant pest-control tips here.)

    So if you don’t have the greenest thumb in town, you’re going to want to avoid some of the most fickle houseplants. The ‘grammable fiddle-leaf fig ranks among the top, along with begonias, fittonias (nerve plants), and a few kinds of alocasias, according to Paar and Naumenko. Also, there’s a prevailing misconception that succulents are tough to kill, “but they actually require lots of bright light and almost no water,” the shop owners explain.

    That said, there are some resilient houseplants you might want to consider if your goal for the new year is to keep your green decor alive and well.

    For Newbies Who Are Green to Houseplants: ZZ Plant

    Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed / Amazon

    Ask any plant expert and they’re likely to recommend the thick, waxy-leaved Zamioculcas zamiifolia, or ZZ plant, for noobs on the green scene. The ZZ is actually a succulent, but it’s a species that thrives across a variety of lighting conditions — though it’ll grow more quickly in brighter light. “Additionally, ZZs can be over-potted, under-potted, overwatered and underwatered, don't require much humidity, and are super resilient to pests, which makes them a perfect plant for a newbie,” Oakes says. These plants can be watered every two to three weeks; increase the frequency of watering with increased light.

    Get it from Amazon for $24.38 or Water + Light for $95+.

    For Anyone Who's Forgetful or Travels Often: Snake Plant

    Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed / Amazon

    The Sansevieria trifasciata, more commonly known as the snake plant, is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, as it can thrive in just about any lighting condition (but, like the ZZ plant, will grow faster in brighter light). The hardy plant comes in several variations, and “they all require minimal water — once every two to three weeks in summer, every three to four weeks in winter,” Paar and Naumenko say. It’s pretty tough to underwater a snake plant, so this is a perfect choice for any home or office.

    Get it from Amazon for $19+ or Water + Light for $89+.

    For Homes Where Light Is at a Premium: Aglaonemas

    Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed / Amazon

    These slow-growing plants aren’t fans of full sun — especially the darker-green varieties — making them an ideal choice for homes that aren’t particularly well-lit. Also known as a Chinese evergreen, they can tolerate a range of lighting conditions (notice a pattern here?), and, Oakes says, they “are fairly drought tolerant (though watering regularly will be appreciated). There are lots of different colorways and patterns, but I'd recommend getting more standard green ones. They are the most resilient.”

    Get it from Amazon for $23.99+.

    For Those Looking for a Hanging Plant: Pothos

    Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed / Amazon

    With pretty heart-shaped leaves and a trailing vine, the pothos is a fantastic low-maintenance houseplant that does well in medium to low light; it should be watered once a week. Oakes recommends Scindapsus pictus, aka satin pothos or silver pothos, which thrives in a range of lighting conditions. “If you have a low-light scenario, I would recommend getting the greenest varieties,” she says. Similarly, you can go with an Epipremnum aureum, or golden pothos, which has a beautiful marbled look and aggressive growing habits (again, go for the greener varieties if you're placing it in low to medium light).

    Get it from Amazon for $25.99+ or Water + Light for $28+.

    For Folks Willing to Do Absolutely No Maintenance: Eucalyptus Leaves

    Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed / Amazon

    If you’re looking for a rustic green accent that goes beyond low-maintenance, you can grab a bunch of eucalyptus branches at a local flower shop on the cheap. They’ll fill a room with a clean, fresh scent until they dry out, but once they do, you can continue to display them (I’ve had the same dried bunch in a vase for nearly a year, in fact) or use them to supplement a bouquet of fresh flowers. You can also hang some fresh eucalyptus around your showerhead for a dose of aromatherapy in your very own bathroom; when you shower, the steam will release the plant’s essential oils, which can help clear sinuses.

    Get it from Amazon for $21.04+ or Etsy for $4.90+.

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