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5 houseplants that are near impossible to kill

Some of us may not have the greenest of thumbs, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all the benefits of houseplants.

Not only are there plenty of low-maintenance houseplants to grow, houseplants add living beauty to your space and help purify the air, giving you a boost in both body and spirit.

(Though do keep in mind that some houseplants are toxic to pets or children, so check children’s health websites before incorporating houseplants into your home.)

Scroll through the gallery to see these five hard-to-kill houseplants that will flourish under the care of even the most forgetful gardeners. 

1. Philodendron

Add a subtle touch of burgundy or golden yellow to your living space with the wide, waxy leaves of philodendron. Try the varieties McColley’s Finale or Prince of Orange for colourful philodendron that are low-fuss. This houseplant can grow quickly, though, so keep it well groomed by trimming it back, staking upright types or winding the foliage around itself.

Why we love it: There are two types of philodendron: vining and non-climbing, so it’s a cinch to pick the type that best suits your space. It also accents other plants wonderfully.

2. Geranium

A reliable and eager bloomer, even in winter, geraniums come in every shade of the rainbow, and then some. If you want to add more than just color to your living space, explore the world of scented-leaf geraniums, which come in fragrances like pine, peppermint, and nutmeg.

Why we love it: Geraniums are best left to their own devices. Water thoroughly, but only as needed, then sit back and enjoy the show

3. Hens and chicks

Whether it’s a single blooming sempervivum or a whole container of these rosette-shaped succulents, they make for an impressive presentation. These tough little guys need bright light to survive, and just one of these plants will easily propagate many more. This succulent’s only weakness is mealybugs, which can spread to other plants in your home if you’re not careful.

Why we love it: No matter where or how you plant it, hens and chicks will always look orderly and snug in their containers.

4. Aloe

Want the look of an agave plant on a much smaller scale? Try family-friendly aloe. This funky-looking succulent flourishes in south-facing windowsills where they can get plenty of bright light, but east- and west-facing windows work just as well.

Aloe loves company—cluster a few different varieties together in one container for a unique look.

Why we love it: The popular aloe vera doesn’t just look good—it’ll make you feel good, too. The jelly-like pulp inside its leaves is a great home remedy for minor burns and insect bites.

5. ZZ plant

With no blooms when grown indoors and a slow growth-rate, ZZ plant doesn’t have a lot of frills. But what it lacks in pop, it makes up in polish with its glossy green leaves and vertical, palm-like stems. Splurge a little and buy a mature ZZ plant at the outset and give this slender statement plant its best chance to thrive in the indirect light of an east- or west-facing window.

Why we love it: ZZ plant works with every decorating style, because it looks awesome in any kind of container from a woven basket for a bohemian look to a chic glazed container for a modern space.

Written by Birds and Blooms. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.