10 Easy Plants to Grow For Beginners (Hard to Kill? Tested!)

With more than thousands of different plant species available, it’s hard to know which ones are easy to grow and which ones are not. But to help you out in the process, here’s a compilation of some easy and low-maintenance plants you can grow at home!

The 10 hard-to-kill plants that beginners can easily grow and maintain are:

  1. Fishbone cactus
  2. Heartleaf philodendron
  3. Monstera
  4. Pothos
  5. Purple heart
  6. Snake plant
  7. String of hearts
  8. Burros tail
  9. Zebra plant
  10. ZZ plant

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a budding plant owner, fuss-free plants are a must when it comes to building your own collection. Plant care in general isn’t always easy, so here are some of the easiest plants to grow and help make the journey a little more effortless!

1. Fishbone Cactus (Epiphyllum anguliger)

Fishbone cacti are easy-to-grow houseplants that can tolerate low-intensity lighting. But for optimum growth, keep it in filtered sunlight and water the cactus weekly.

Water Requirements: Once a week. Reduce watering in the winter

Sun Requirements: 6+ hours of bright indirect light

Best House Spot: Southeastern windows

A funny-looking plant, its signature zigzag leaves will remind you of fishbones, hence the name.

Fishbone cactus is great for plant parents with zero gardening experience. It might look a bit wonky, but it’s not picky about its lighting and doesn’t need water often.

The fishbone cactus can tolerate low-light conditions and even small amounts of direct sun. Place it in bright, indirect light near a windowsill facing southeast.

Fishbone Cactus Leaves
Eugenia castro (cc-by-sa)) PlantNet – Epiphyllum Anguliger Leaves

Its growing medium must be kept moist, but not wet, so be sure its pot has enough drainage holes. You can water this cactus every week in the summer. When winter comes, however, reduce watering to once every three weeks.

A high-standing plant rack in a naturally lit room will make the perfect display for your trailing zigzag plant!

Find more cacti like this in 16 Low-Maintenance Cacti.

2. Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron cordatum)

The heartleaf philodendron is a fast-growing plant that requires little care. Reduce watering in the winter and keep this plant in filtered light for easy growth.

Water Requirements: Once a week

Sun Requirements: 8+ hours of bright indirect light

Best House Spot: Western or eastern windows

Nicknamed the sweetheart plant for its heart-shaped leaves, this philodendron is a great first plant for beginners. Even those with supposed black thumbs will find it easy to care for.

Its leaves might droop when thirsty. But it will reward those with keen eyes and bounce back in no time once its watering needs are met.

Heartleaf Philodendron Leaves
Cynthia Alicea (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Philodendron Cordatum Leaves

Heartleaf philodendrons will thrive being watered once a week. Water must be given cautiously in the winter—no more than twice a month.

Position it in the filtered sun by west or east-facing windows with curtains. This way, your plant can get ample indirect light without burning.

It’s a gorgeous plant that can be kept in small pots with its vines spilling over. This will be one of the plants I’ll be testing later on, so keep reading to see what happens!

3. Monstera (Monstera deliciosa)

Due to its ability to survive multiple stressors such as low light, monstera is popular among new plant owners. This easy-growing plant can be watered twice a month. If given proper care, it can grow over 4 feet tall.

Water Requirements: Once every 1–2 weeks

Sun Requirements: 9+ hours of bright indirect light

Best House Spot: Curtained southern windows

When I got my monstera, the first thing I noticed was how easily it adjusted to its new environment. For the entire time I’ve had it, it had no issues and never dropped any leaves.

When it comes to caring for monstera, there’s little to be done. You can water your monstera every 1–2 weeks when the first 2 inches of the soil is dry and let it be.

Monstera Deliciosa Leaves
E unek (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Monstera Deliciosa Leaves

Although greedy when it comes to lighting, the monstera actually tolerates shade better than most other houseplants. It can be left near a south-facing window to soak up at least 12 hours of diffused or indirect light.

Just like that, it’ll quickly tower over 4 feet tall and grow 12-inch leaves. It doesn’t need much attention and is an excellent plant to dress up the bare corners of your home!

For more plants like this, here are the 19 Stunning Houseplants with Large Leaves.

4. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos plants are commonly cultivated for their fast and easy growth. Keep this trailing plant in well-lit areas and away from pets and children.

Water Requirements: Once every 1–2 weeks

Sun Requirements: 6+ hours of bright indirect light

Best House Spot: Eastern windows

Closely related to philodendrons, pothos is very easy to grow. This classic houseplant is suitable for beginners on account of how readily they survive in low-light homes.

Since overwatering can cause droopiness in pothos though, make sure that the first inch of soil is dry before watering.

Pothos Leaves
Laurence Bernard (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Epipremnum Aureum Leaves

Provide the plant with plenty of filtered sunlight, but avoid direct sun exposure as this can scorch their leaves. Wipe the leaves with a damp cotton cloth every few weeks to keep them glowing and shiny.

These plants are lovely when kept in hanging pots that allow their leaves to drape down. For a fancier display, you can grow them in water-filled clear jars to admire their roots.

An example of a Pothos or Philodendron growing successfully in low light.
YouTube Video – Pothos or Philodendron Growing Successfully in Low Light

Again, as in all the previous cases, direct sunlight is not necessary for pothos. They’ll do just fine in the shade. It is, however, mildly toxic to consume and can cause mouth irritation and vomiting, so keep it away from the reach of your little ones and fur babies for safety.

5. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida)

The purple heart has few troubles and even fewer needs, making it a good plant for beginners. It can survive weeks without water but grows best when watered weekly. Grow the plant in full sun for brighter colors.

Water Requirements: Once a week. Reduce watering in the winter

Sun Requirements: 6+ hours in full sun or partial shade

Best House Spot: Southern windows

This interesting-looking plant can survive heavy neglect and will still grow rather quickly. It is extremely forgiving, making it ideal for busy or forgetful plant owners.

With a deep purplish color not common among houseplants, this plant tends to trail. But rather than hang purple hearts from a basket, they are best placed where their stems will be supported.

Purple Hearts Leaves
Jean berenger (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Tradescantia Pallida Leaves

When it comes to lighting and location, purple hearts can be grown in full sun by south-facing windows or kept in low-light conditions.

It is drought-tolerant when mature but will benefit from being watered every 7 days.

If you forget about it though, don’t worry. These plants have been found alive in homes that were left empty for months!

6. Snake Plant (Sansevieria stuckyi)

Snake plants are extremely low-maintenance and can be left without water and strong light for weeks. During high heat, however, water is best given twice a month.

Water Requirements: Once a month

Sun Requirements: 6+ hours of indirect light or partial shade

Best House Spot: Southern windows

This is by far a favorite of many plant enthusiasts. Snake plants are very resilient and easy to grow, so it’s no surprise that they can be found in almost every home.

It can also tolerate drought very easily, making it perfect for those that forget to water. I know a girl who hasn’t watered her snake plant in 3 months, and it’s still alive to this day!

Snake Plant Leaves
Mary Kingfishers (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Sansevieria Stuckyi Leaves

Snake plants are versatile; they can cope with shady conditions and even direct sunlight exposure. They can be placed anywhere so long as the area isn’t overly wet or gloomy.

In my case, I placed it on the corner of the windowsill where it mainly receives indirect light. Even then, it is still growing tall.

For water, as a general rule of thumb, snake plants need to be watered once every three weeks. But if it’s the middle of the summer or the plant is in full sun, you can water them as frequently as twice a month with no worries.

7. String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)

String of hearts can be watered monthly, requiring very little care, making it an easy-growing plant. It’s a low-maintenance plant that only needs to be watered when the soil is fully dry, as it is susceptible to rot.

Water Requirements: Once every 3 weeks

Sun Requirements: 8+ hours of bright indirect light or partial shade

Best House Spot: Southwest window

This is another plant that is near and dear to my heart. Despite its delicate appearance, the string of hearts is not a fussy plant and can be grown easily, even with zero gardening experience.

Because it is a succulent, it stores water inside its thick but tiny leaves and can live for weeks without being watered. It’s prone to overwatering though, so only water it every few weeks when the soil is bone dry.

String of Hearts Leaves
Audrey Guella (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Ceropegia Woodii Leaves

Pro Tip: You can tell that a string of hearts plant is thirsty when its foliage is wrinkled.

They can also tolerate shade. But this does not equal perpetual darkness. If given some bright light or even full sun, it will rapidly grow to be over 4 feet long.

Grow it in a hanging planter or a small, 4-inch deep pot and watch its vines grow longer and longer.

Struggling with this plant? Here are the 6 Causes of Yellow String of Hearts.

8. Burros Tail (Sedum burrito)

Burros tail succulents can thrive without being watered for weeks, making it an easy plant for new plant owners. Water the succulent only when the soil is dry and its leaves are soft to prevent overwatering.

Water Requirements: Once every 2–4 weeks

Sun Requirements: 8+ hours of bright indirect light

Best House Spot: Eastern windows

Burros tails are charming yet straightforward succulents with fleshy leaves that overlap with each other. This is one of the first plants that beginners pick because it has very low water needs.

It establishes quickly and is also non-toxic to cats and dogs!

Like the other easy-growing plants on this list, the burros tail does not have strict sun or water needs. It’ll do best with plenty of bright light.

Burros Tail Leaves
Nathalia Chicale (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Sedum Burrito Leaves

The only rule you should keep in mind is to never give your burros tail more water than it needs, as it is at higher risk of developing root rot. Avoid watering altogether in the winter unless the plant is in dire need of a drink.

Place the burros tail in a well-lit office or a sunny balcony and this easy-to-care-for plant will be content with either.

9. Zebra Plant (Haworthia Fasciata)

For a low-maintenance choice, grow zebra plants. These succulents are easy to care for as they can withstand low-light homes and do not need water often. Use well-draining soil and water only when completely dry to avoid rot.

Water Requirements: Once every 3–4 weeks

Sun Requirements: 6+ hours of bright indirect light or partial shade

Best House Spot: Eastern Window

Zebra plants are small succulents with thick dark green leaves covered with a white, striped pattern. This is an uncomplicated and forgiving plant well-suited for novice plant parents.

It doesn’t need frequent watering and can thrive for several weeks without water. Even with little light, it will endure for a couple of weeks without drying out completely.

The zebra plant also has more resistance to pests like mealybugs and spider mites, making this plant even easier to maintain!

Zebra Plant Leaves
Cuevas Esteban (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Haworthia Fasciata Leaves

To keep your zebra plant glowing and happy, water it deeply till water drips out of the drainage holes. Ideal watering is once every 2 to 3 weeks. But always let the soil completely dry before watering again.

Your zebra plant will enjoy a well-lit room with dappled sunlight. Moreover, its soil should be gritty and well-draining to avoid root rot. So consider using cactus soil or perlite instead of regular potting soil.

The zebra plant will grow well near an east-oriented window, where the morning sun is less intense.

10. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

The ZZ plant is an easy-to-grow houseplant that needs little light and water. Water it sparingly and allow its soil to dry completely before watering. Due to its toxic sap, however, this plant must be kept away from pets and children.

Water Requirements: Once every 2–3 weeks

Sun Requirements: 6+ hours of indirect light or partial shade

Best House Spot: Northeast Windows

ZZ plants are ridiculously hard to kill, which is why they’re one of the most rewarding plants to own. They’re also commonly found in museums, boutiques, and of course, in many homes.

It is exceptionally drought-resistant and needs less water than the average houseplant. Moreover, ZZ plants can still grow well in rooms with low light levels.

ZZ Leaves
Gee Dee (cc-by-sa) PlantNet – Zamioculcas Zamiifolia Leaves

This plant requires you to do nothing more than water it only when the soil feels dry. It thrives in indirect light but again, if your home doesn’t have a ton of sunlight, that’s fine too!

Just be careful with this plant because its sap can be toxic and irritating when touched or consumed, so keep it out of reach from infants and pets.

Leave it in high window sills or tall plant racks to be safe and enjoy your thriving ZZ plant!

Plant Neglect Experiment

The heartleaf philodendron and the monstera were kept in the shade and left unwatered for 2 weeks. Despite the lack of sunlight and care, the philodendron grew new leaves and the monstera remained alive and green.

To put these so-called “hard-to-kill” plants to the test, I’ll pick a couple of choices from the list and give them little light and no water for 2 weeks.

With this experiment, I will show you exactly how well these plants handle complete neglect in real-time. Let’s see if they truly are low-maintenance and easy-to-grow plants!

Experiment Materials and Setup

A healthy monstera and heartleaf philodendron were selected for the project. The plants were kept in a shady corner 10 feet away from a curtained window with less than 5 hours of diffused light. Additionally, they received no water.

To begin this process, I needed to determine which plants I would test and how I would conduct this experiment. Here are the houseplants I used and the setup they were put in.

The Plant Samples

Two separate plant species, a monstera and a heartleaf philodendron, were chosen for the experiment. Both specimens were healthy. The samples were originally growing in bright areas and were watered regularly before the test.

For this test, I chose the heartleaf philodendron and the monstera. These two species are some of the first houseplants that people buy when they start growing plants.

The heartleaf philodendron is healthy and was bought specifically for this project. Its soil was already dry and the plant was kept near a bright, northern window.

This monstera plant has been in my care for quite some time now. But it’s still young and healthy too. Originally, it was in a hallway with lots of bright ambient light. I also watered it a week before this test.

The Set-Up

The potted heartleaf philodendron and monstera plants were moved to a low-light corner of the house and given no water for the entire testing period of 2 weeks. The nearest light source was a western window blocked with curtains 10 feet away.

I took both plants out of their usual sunny spots. Then, I kept them in a shady corner 10 feet away from a west-facing window with curtains.

This window lets through soft, filtered sunlight for less than 5 hours daily. However, with the distance, both plants are likely too far away to absorb much of this diffused sunlight.

How about the water? If these plants could understand human speech, I’m sure they’d be sad to hear they’ll be receiving no water at all for the duration of this experiment.

This will allow us to see if they can handle being forgotten by a novice plant owner. Now, all that I needed to do was apologize profusely to the plants before purposefully neglecting them for the next 2 weeks.

Experiment Results: Neglecting Plants

For 2 weeks, the heartleaf philodendron and the monstera were neglected and kept in low light and left unwatered. At the end of the experiment, the philodendron formed new leaves and the monstera leaves still remained healthy and green.

Now, the heartleaf philodendron and the monstera were left in the dark. In this case, literally.

I monitored the plants on a daily and weekly basis to see how they responded, and I was surprised! After reading the following sections, you’ll understand why.

Week 1: Stunted Growth and Leaf Development

Neglecting Plants Experiment: Week One
Neglecting Plants Experiment: Week One

At the end of the week, I took the philodendron and the monstera out of their shady positions and put them out in a brighter room temporarily to better examine them.

The Heartleaf Philodendron

Despite being placed into a low-light environment without water, I noticed the philodendron had slowly started to develop a new leaf.

I suspected that this leaf would not open at all during this experiment, as the plant was receiving no water or sun. Regardless, this leaf development is still a surprise and a sign that it is doing better than expected.

The Monstera

There were no changes found on the monstera after its first week of neglect.

Its leaves are still healthy in appearance, but the smaller leaf has not grown any bigger.

Week 2: Slow but Continued Leaf Growth

Neglecting Plants Experiment: Week Two
Neglecting Plants Experiment: Week Two

This week was gloomier than the first. The first few days were cloudy and overcast, so this meant the two houseplants were receiving even less light than before.

The Heartleaf Philodendron

The leaf development from last week has now uncurled and become a new baby leaf of its own.

I could also spot some more growth points towards the front of the plant, in the same direction as its limited light source.

The Monstera

The monstera showed no changes still, most likely now facing slightly stunted growth with less water and light available. But it was still alive and looked the same as it did before.

The Final Results

Overall, the houseplants have survived this less-than-ideal environment better than expected.

The philodendron drooped a little, but it responded to the lack of light quickly and was most likely trying to thrive in the shade by growing more leaves where the light was.

The monstera hadn’t developed anything new, but it didn’t die either. It still looked perfectly healthy and clearly did not fear the shade at all.

Despite not being watered for roughly 2 weeks, these plants handled things well! Safe to say, these make excellent plants for beginners and are sure to help them feel more at ease if they ever forget or miss a day of watering.


What easy houseplants are pet-friendly?

The fishbone cactus, burros tail, and zebra plant are all easy to care for and are non-toxic to both animals and humans.

Which plant will survive the longest without water or care?

ZZ plants, burros tails, string of hearts, monstera, purple hearts, and fishbone cacti can all survive at least 2–3 weeks without water. In some cases, the snake plant can live without water for up to 3 months. It will not easily die due to underwatering.

Summary of Easy Plants to Grow and Maintain

The best houseplants for beginners that are the most easy to care for are fishbone cacti, heartleaf philodendrons, monsteras, pothos, purple hearts, snake plants, string of hearts, burros tails, zebra plants, and ZZ plants.

After an experiment involving 2 weeks of neglect, potted heartleaf philodendron and monstera plants have shown to be tolerant of drought and shady conditions. Despite not being watered or cared for, the philodendron grew new leaves while the monstera stayed healthy, proving that these plants are low-maintenance and ideal for beginners.


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