Decorating & DIY

5 No-Fail Houseplants to Brighten your Home

5 no-fail houseplants to brighten your home

When it comes to decorating with plants, my philosophy is definitely the more the better. Aside from the health benefits (hello clean air!) there’s something about the pop of green that brings life to any room. Look at virtually any space curated by a professional designer and you’ll find lush greenery featured throughout.

That said, my personal success rate in terms of keeping our plants happy (and, well just plain alive) has been anything but perfect. Perhaps some people are born with green thumbs… I happened not to be. Regardless, I won’t let that stop me from adding more gorgeous foliage to our home 🙂

Many of our plants have suffered over the years… too much water, not enough water, not enough sunlight, mystery ailments, being eaten by the cats… I could go on. There are, however, a select few that seem to withstand whatever poor treatment we throw at them.

These are some of my favorite low maintenance, no-fail houseplants. Oh and by the way, the pictures were taken in my own home as evidence that they really are alive and thriving!

#1 ZZ Plant

ZZ plant

Otherwise known as Zamioculcas Zamifolia, the ZZ plant is an attractive addition to any home, and blends with a variety of contemporary or more traditional styles. And the best thing is that it’s super easy to take care of – it will tolerate a reasonable amount of neglect without adverse effects and is for the most part impervious to annoying bugs and other pests.

Light: anywhere from low to indirect bright light

Watering: only required when soil is dry


#2 African Violet

African Violet

The African Violet (aka Saintpaulia) is a compact, widely available and inexpensive plant that can work in many locations around the house. The pretty blooms have no specific flowering season, which means that you can get flowers at any time of the year and for long periods, for a lovely pop of extra color!

Light: moderate to bright indirect light

Watering: required when soil is slightly dry (allowing the soil around the roots to dry out will encourage blooming)


#3 Snake Plant

snake plant

Not only is the snake plant, or Sansevieria, an easy care plant, but its interesting appearance and clean lines make it a dream for interior design. I already have a couple of these and plan on getting some more. It’s one of the top rated air purifying plants identified by NASA and removes more than 100 known air pollutants!

Light: prefers bright light, but will grow anywhere expect deep shade

Watering: only required when soil is dry


#4 Crispy Wave

Crispy Wave

This is a unique type of fern, first cultivated in Japan (botanical name, Asplenium nidus). Like the snake plant, it’s a natural air purifier, but perhaps the best thing about the Crispy Wave is its longevity – it can apparently outlive almost any other potted plant and will grow endlessly if put in a large enough container.

Light: prefers low light, keep out of direct sunlight

Watering: once or twice a week is sufficient


#5 Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen

Looking for beautiful, glossy foliage with minimal hassle? Then the Chinese Evergreen might be the plant for you. They’re available in many sizes with a variety of leaf patterns, so it’s easy to find one that’s just right for your space. And best of all, they tolerate just about every indoor condition.

Light: low to bright indirect light

Water: required when soil is slightly dry


Now here’s a pro tip for you… when you get your new houseplant home, don’t immediately transplant it to a decorative planter. This can cause transplant shock, which might make the leaves droop or fall off. Instead, just keep it in the plastic container and pop it inside a cute planter or basket, along with a saucer to catch the drainage.

When it comes to finding beautiful planters, most of the big home improvement stores have a great variety of reasonably priced terracotta, although begin to scale back their selection during the fall and winter months. Our local nursery is one of my go-to spots for attractive containers all year round. Also, Ikea has lots of nice, inexpensive ceramic pots.

One final bit of advice? Pick the same day to water your plants each week. Having a little routine can reduce (if not altogether eliminate) your chance of forgetting!

I hope that you find these suggestions useful. I’d love to hear which houseplants you’ve had most success with – let me know!

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  • Reply Cecilia Leffew

    This is fantastic information thank you!

    November 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm
    • Reply Polly

      Thanks Cecilia… it definitely takes a lot of trial and error to figure out which plants work best where!

      November 5, 2016 at 7:08 pm
  • Reply Emma Sayer

    Great article! I love African Violets. I always have one brightening up my kitchen windowsill ?

    November 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm
    • Reply Polly

      Thanks Emma! African Violets are so bright and cheery 🙂

      November 5, 2016 at 11:42 pm

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