A dwelling feels much homier with a little greenery. But, only certain plants will thrive in the low light conditions and lack of airflow typical of indoor environments—which is why most houseplants originate in the dusky, still reaches of the forest floor where conditions are similar. Houseplants are prone to just as many problems as plants grown outdoors, including insect invasions and nutritional deficiencies. That being said, there are a handful of houseplants that are so tough, they're almost hard to kill. Here is a selection to choose from.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
The name says it all—this Asian species needs very, very little light and will tolerate long spells with no water (in case you forget!). Plus, typical indoor plant pests, like whiteflies, seem to find cast iron plant unpalatable. Stick it in a corner and enjoy the lush tropical leaves wherever you need a little greenery. Grows up to 3 feet tall.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Also referred to as mother-in-law's tongue, this plant sounds scary, but it's very gentle on indoor gardeners with brown thumbs. It actually does best with infrequent watering, so it's a good choice for people who go out of town a lot. Snake plant prefers some direct sun, but it will tolerate relatively low light conditions if that's all you have. Its statuesque appearance is a good fit for entryways and other places where it is sure to get noticed.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
This is the ultimate indoor vine. In a big pot it can grow to 20 feet or more, but you can always trim it back if it gets out of hand (or just keep it in a small pot if you don't want it to sprawl). Besides the undeniable good looks of those glossy, heart-shaped leaves, Pothos is also renowned for thriving on neglect. It tolerates low light, infrequent watering and is virtually never troubled by pest or disease—all the makings of an indestructible houseplant!
Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Here is another good-looking specimen for your indestructible houseplant collection. Jade plants, which are a type of succulent, do require a bit of direct sun each day, but that's about it. Watering should be kept to a minimum—you're more likely to kill a jade plant by overwatering, than by underwatering. They can grow into a small tree if the pot is big enough, but they are also happy to remain in a small container for years on end.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
Relatively few houseplants produce flowers and most of those that do fall in the temperamental category. Peace lily is one of the only houseplants noted for its large, elegant flower display, as well as its toughness. It prefers indirect light, and will send up its gorgeous white flowers even when it is nowhere near a window. It prefers not to get too dry, but it usually survives this type of neglect and will regain strength once you start watering it again.