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5 Houseplants That Are Easier To Grow Than They Look

5 Houseplants That Are Easier To Grow Than They Look

By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Horticulturist
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms

A friend recently decided she was interested in getting started with houseplants and wanted some recommendations. Of course, I was game to help. As we talked about the growing conditions she would be able to provide, I started making recommendations. I was surprised when she pointed a couple out that she said, “looked too hard to grow,” because they were some of the easiest.

The truth is there’s no such thing as an “easy” houseplant. Any plant will be easier to grow in conditions it likes, and more challenging to keep happy in conditions that it doesn’t. But the plants that have earned the reputation as being some of the easiest have the widest range of tolerances, meaning they’ll put up with more or less light, more or less water, and more or less humidity than the “typical plant.” That said, here are five great plants that are easier than they look.

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Little Swiss Monstera

Little Swiss monstera (Monstera adansonii) features leaves cut with a pattern of holes that give them something of a stained-glass-window effect. The highly textural leaves look fussy and tropical, but happily, this variety thrives in the average home. It loves medium to bright light but tolerates low light. It also holds up to drying out better than you’d think for such a thin-leafed plant.

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Colorful Aglaonema

The various varieties of Colorful Aglaonema (Aglaonema spp.) are some of the most durable plants indoors. Their bright leaf colors—that come variegated in shades of white, cream, chartreuse, orange, red, and pink—reliably show up even in low light. And their thick roots allow them to hold up for a couple of weeks—or more in low light—without water. 

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A lot of flowering houseplants need high light levels inside to survive. Anthurium, on the other hand, will endure low light well (though it may not bloom without sufficient light). Its thick leaves also show you that it’s durable in the water department, able to survive a couple of weeks, if necessary, without a drink. For best blooms, though, grow it in bright (indirect) light and water as the top couple of inches of the potting mix dries to the touch.

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Variegated Ficus triangularis

For many houseplant owners, ficus have a reputation for being fussy divas. Just look at a Ficus benjamina wrong and it drops leaves. Without enough light, Ficus lyrata sulks and declines. Miss a watering, and Ficus pumila leaves seem to immediately develop brown edges. Variegated Ficus triangularis is more moderate. With big changes, it will drop leaves, but keep it in consistent growing conditions and it hangs on just fine. The pretty, white-edged leaves give it a more elegant look than your traditional green ficus, too! 

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Network™ Calathea

Calatheas can challenge even experienced plant parents. If they don’t get enough moisture or humidity, the leaves get crispy. Network™ is surprisingly sturdy compared to its cousins. It can dry out (a bit) and still keep its leaves in picture-perfect condition. High humidity is great, but humidity levels in the average home are just fine.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs

The Pantone color of the year is Viva Magenta. Pantone describes it as a “brave and fearless, pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration…” For a list of woody ornamentals that show off this outstanding color, click here .

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