Philodendron iStockphoto


Plants don't seem to want to live in my house. After the last plant I had turned almost completely brown, I decided to give up on growing anything indoors for awhile. Recently, I was inspired to give it another try after I heard Kamal Meattle talk about his experience with plants. Kamal had asthma so badly that doctors predicted he could die if his living environment didn't change. Then, by simply adding plants in his home and workspace, his health drastically improved and his asthma symptoms subsided (you can listen to his Ted Talks presentation here).

Not only do plants provide a nice aesthetic quality in the home, but they can have actual benefits on health. Many plants filter toxins like formaldehyde, xylene and toluene, which can seep into the home from building materials and paint. Beyond cleaning the air, plants can reduce stress and symptoms of depression.

With sheer determination to find something that won't die in my cave-like bedroom, I've perused some websites and nurseries in search of the most hearty houseplants. The following eight seem to be the best candidates, all requiring low-to-moderate levels of light and water.

1. Jade plant, (also called Money Tree), is a beautiful succulent that requires very little water (it can go all together without agua for up to a month). It is tolerant of a little shade, but will do better if placed next to a window. If grown under particular conditions, Jade plant may produce small white or pink leaves.

2. Peace lily: winning the award for the most elegant, the Peace lily has white flowers with long, dark leaves, and does not require too much sun; yellowish leaves may indicate that the plant is receiving more sunlight than it needs. The plant may do best if placed within 6 to 8 feet of a window. If the leaves begin to droop, it may need more water; make sure the soil dries out between waterings.

Caution: Lilies are considered highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure if ingested. They have not shown the same poisonous effects to dogs. Click here for a listing of plants that are poisonous to pets.

3. African Violet: this striking plant is a popular houseplant, and is one of the easiest flowering-plants to maintain. When watering African Violet, suggests using a long-spouted watering can to get to the soil and avoid getting cold water on the flower petals. They also suggest using room-temperature or warmer water.

4. Philodendron have heart-shaped leaves and are hearty plants. They will do well next to a window, but they can withstand neglect and low levels of sunlight.

5. Zebra Plant: although the Zebra Plant probably would not do well in my cave-like bedroom, it's a beautiful plant if you have a good window to supply it with bright, indirect light. Mist the plant once or twice a week, and if the leaves start to droop, add a little more water.

6. Lucky Bamboo: according to Feng Shui, Lucky Bamboo brings peace, strength, and luck to the homes it inhabits. Additionally, it is one of the easiest plants to maintain! Change the water once every two weeks and leave in a place with medium exposure to indirect sunlight. If the leaves turn yellow or brown, it may be getting too much sun. 7. Cast iron plant can thrive in deep to moderate shade, and (hence the name) can last forever in seemingly adverse conditions. With its hearty reputation, this is the plant I will adopt in my bedroom. 8. Mother-in-law's Tongue converts CO2 at night (so it is suggested that it be placed in a bedroom), and removes toxins in the home. It prefers sun, but it is a very forgiving plant and will tolerate shade. Let the soil dry between waterings, and err on the side of underwatering. Have you had success growing other indoor houseplants? List your favorites below! At Care2, we believe that individual actions can collectively make a difference. Whether you start making differences in your home, your community, or across the globe, we are glad to help you on your journey. Join us today! With more than 11 million members, Care2 is the largest online community of people making a difference in healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare. Join us today!