Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum spp.
Burgundy Rubber Tree – Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’
Devils Ivy – Epipremnum aureum
Umbrella Tree – Schefflera amate
Sword Fern – Nephrolepis obliterata
Here are ten plants that only need a few minutes of care every couple of weeks. Whether you’re wondering where to start your plant collection, or you’re a serial plant killer, this is the list for you.
1. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum spp.
Tired of talking to your plants and getting no response? Well here is a plant that practically won’t shut up! Peace lilies are extremely easy to care for because they tell you when it’s time to water by wilting. This visual cue is very easy to spot and means that you can simply glance at this plant and know if it’s time to give it a soak. By allowing the plant to wilt, it makes sure the soil has had adequate time to dry out between waterings. This usually takes between two to three weeks depending on the plant’s location.
They come in all shapes and sizes too, from the giant sensations to miniature chico cultivars. Not to mention they are tolerant of very low light conditions, too. This plant is a timeless classic for a reason, and a great place to start for any amateur plant whisperer!
2. Swiss Cheese – Monstera deliciosa
This is the quintessential plant for the avid indoor gardener’s collection. Like a good wine, or perhaps a swiss cheese, this plant only improves with maturity. The iconic holes that appear in the leaves are known as fenestration, and appear more frequently with each successive leaf.
These plants are great for bright, well-lit areas, and even enjoy a little morning or afternoon sun (be careful in summer, though.) They are even fine for a sheltered balcony, or veranda, as they don’t require protection from wind or dry air like many other indoor plants (even in Melbourne!). From personal experience, we find that the leaves grow larger the brighter the position they are in.
This plant is very closely related to peace lilies and also enjoys having its soil dry out between waterings. Let the top two inches of soil totally dry out before giving this one a good soak, watering once every two to three weeks.
3. Cast Iron Plant – Aspidistra elatior
This is a very accurately named plant, often spotted in a shaded part of yia yia’s front yard in Brunswick. This is another plant that is happy to be almost anywhere that is well-lit but out of direct sun and harsh wind. Enough natural light that you could read a book by is a good guide, but this plant is also tolerant of lower light conditions, making it a great all-rounder! Water this baby once the top two to three inches of soil have dried out.
4. Umbrella Tree – Schefflera amate
If you’re after something with a little more height, this may be the plant for you. With a high tolerance for wind, dry air, and dry soil, you will never have any issues. Allow the top two inches of soil to totally dry out before watering again. These plants love a bright spot and love a little morning sun, but it’s not necessary. This is another versatile plant that can be outside in a sheltered spot (avoid frost,) or inside in a bright spot.
5. Dragon Tree – Dracaena marginata
Another great choice if you are after something with great height, while not taking up heaps of space horizontally. Dracaenas are well known for their distinct architectural form and for being very hardy! They come in a range of different cultivars, sporting black leaves, white and pink leaves, or the ever-classic green! Give these ones a soak once the top three inches of soil have dried out. This should take about 2-3 weeks depending on the location of the plant. This plant loves bright conditions so keep it close to a window, but will tolerate lower light as long as you are sure to reduce the watering to suit.
6. Peperomia obtusifolia
According to wikipedia this plant also goes by the common name ‘Pepper Face’! Even with the silly name this plant is one of our favorites. Its thick, glossy leaves makes it more than happy growing in any humidity level, and due to its compact size this is an excellent plant for your desk at work. Even when they are small they are surprisingly drought-tolerant too! Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before giving this peperomia a water. They prefer a well-lit position.
7. Rabbit’s Foot Fern – Davallia fejeensis
This is one of the more unique ferns that are more commonly available. It gets its name from the fuzzy aerial rhizomes that it sends out in search of new territory and resources. This industrious critter is an Australian native, making it very well-adapted to pretty harsh conditions. Keep this furry friend in a bright position, indoors or outdoors, is fine as long as it doesn’t get direct sunlight. Water once the top inch of soil is starting to dry out. These look fantastic in hanging baskets with the rhizomes trailing out!
8. Burgundy Rubber Tree – Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’
There are many different cultivars of Ficus elastica to choose from. Ruby, shivereana, tineki, and azerbaijan to name a few. All of these cultivars can be treated in a similar way; however, we love the burgundy for its rich colour, and how that can tell us about the plants health. When receiving the perfect amount of light, the plant’s leaves will be a very dark burgundy. If the fig is not getting enough light, the leaves compensate by becoming much more green. We recommend a bright spot that gets a little sun throughout the day. Water once the top inch of soil is dry, usually once every two weeks.
9. Devil’s Ivy – Epipremnum aureum
La hiedra del diablo! This fast-growing vine is a must have for any indoor plant collection. The vines can get up to 20m long, and the leaves as large as dinner plates. Grow it up some timber, or have it cascading out of a hanging basket — this is one versatile plant. Devil’s Ivy is very closely related to the monstera deliciosa, and shares its drought-tolerant characteristics. Allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering again. It is tolerant of lower light conditions but will grow much better in a bright spot, avoid direct sun.
10. Sword Fern – Nephrolepis obliterata
The Kimberley (yas) Queen fern breaks the mould when it comes to what many ferns require to thrive. This fern is happy in any humidity level, requires minimal watering, and is happy to grow in almost any shaded position indoors or out. Water once the top inch of soil is dry, usually once every one to two weeks, but don’t stress if you forget, this plant is tough! The foliage is upright, and a colour I would describe as a cross between ‘Online Lime’ and ‘Treetop’ (thanks Pantone). It does not require any additional misting to stay lush.