You bring a plant home from the nursery, lovingly replant it, place it in a sunny spot, and water it, but a week later, it dies. Sound like you? Or maybe you have a green thumb, but you don’t want plants that require a lot of time and effort. These easy to care for plants for both indoors and outdoors will help you green up your house or garden without too much effort.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are among the easiest house plants to grow. They are hardy, tolerate light to full sun, and can withstand neglect. The leaves of a spider plant grow up to 15 inches long and an inch or two wide. Some leaves are variegated in color while others are solid green. Mature spider plants will produce “babies”—smaller plants that grow off a shoot and produce flowers. They can be cut off and planted in their own containers.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
The Dragon Tree, also known as a Red Edged Dracaena, resembles a small palm tree. It can grow up to 15 feet tall, and its long, slender trunk can be trained to bend. It can also be pruned to control growth. The leaves of a dragon tree are dark green with red to purplish stripes along the outer edge. New leaves grow out of the top of the leaf mass, while mature leaves on the bottom drop away. The dragon tree is best grown in bright light, but it will tolerate low light. It likes to dry out between waterings, and if allowed to wilt, it will recover. Dracaenas have been shown to help remove formaldehyde from the air.
Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron scandens oxycardium)
One of the toughest houseplants to kill, the heartleaf philodendron can take much abuse. The one thing it cannot tolerate, however, is cold temperatures. Its light requirements are low, and it is a very profuse spreader. The heartleaf is perfect for hanging baskets, as it has long trailing stems. It’s also attractive as a climber. Prune if you wish to control its growth.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum floribundum)
The beautiful glossy green leaves and graceful, white blooms make the peace lily a popular yet easy to care for houseplant. Peace lilies grow in little to bright light. For best results, place within 8 feet of a window, but keep out of direct sun. They do like water, but will let you know when it’s time to give them a drink by drooping. Peace lilies also look and work great in fish bowls. Let the roots dangle in the water, but keep the plant stalks dry.
While many people grow impatiens as annuals outdoors, they also make wonderful indoor plants. They are small, container plants, and add a splash of color to your home. Impatiens like well-drained soil, so add a few pebbles to your pot. Keep the plant moderately watered, and near a sunny window. In the winter, make sure the window doesn’t get too cold for your impatiens, or it will die off. With those few, simple rules, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful blooms in a variety of colors all year round.
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
Bleeding hearts are an attractive perennial that grow 2-4 feet in height, and with a similar spread. In April or May, they bloom pink or white flowers that resemble hearts. They work well in shade gardens, but can also withstand full sun if it is morning sun. In late summer or early fall, the foliage dies completely back, so don’t be afraid to plant other shade loving plants close by to fill in the gaps. Bleeding hearts require little care, and will often survive uprooting and transplanting.
Creeping Phlox [Plox subulata]
Phlox is a semi-evergreen flowering perennial that makes an ideal ground cover for sunny spots, edgings, and rock gardens. It grows 3-6 inches in height, and spreads 2-3 feet. Its flowers are available in pink, lavender, and white hues that bloom in April or May. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but will tolerate other conditions if not too drastic. Phlox is hardy, will survive cold, frost, and snow, and has little to no pest problems.
Shasta Daisy [Leucanthemum x superbum]
An all-time favorite for gardeners, Shasta daisies are hardy, low-maintenance plants that provide numerous blooms that bloom for an extended period of time. Plant in full sun to partial shade, and provide rich, moist soil for best results. Deadheading is advised, so the plant has amble nutrients to survive the winter. Cutting the flowers regularly will not harm, but encourage them to grow. Shasta daisies multiply rapidly, and grow 2-3 feet tall.
For mild, damp, and humid climates, you can’t find plants much easier to care for than the rhododendron. These plants grow as shrubs and small trees, so provide them with adequate room to spread. They prefer light shade to partial, filtered sun, and like well-drained soil. The evergreen version of the rhododendron keeps its large, leathery leaves all year, and flowers large, showy blooms in spring. The blooms come in a variety of colors, including red, pink, and white.
The genus Hosta consists of about 45 species of plants native to Asia. Hostas are well-known shade lovers, but some species can handle sun. While some species produce flowers, most hostas are grown for their foliage, which comes in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes. Some are also variegated, with the leaves containing different combinations of whites, greens, golds, and blues. Most hostas grow 1-3 feet tall with a similar spread. Slugs and deer like to feed on hostas, so you may have to take action to keep your plants safe.