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Top 20 hard to kill indoor plants

Top 20 hard to kill indoor plants
Image via mydomainehome.com.au

Here at Style Curator HQ we love indoor plants… trouble is, we’re not that great at keeping them alive!

Some of our recent victims include that pretty lace fern, a chili plant and a CACTUS! Yes, seems we can even kill a cactus, ha!

We know we’re not alone in this struggle so we’ve searched high and low for the hardiest indoor plants. Keep scrolling for the top 20 hard to kill indoor plants list that even someone with a black thumb could keep alive.

Related article: 12 Reasons why you’re killing your indoor plants: How to keep indoor plants alive
Related article:
Growing pothos: Easy tips to propagate and care for this plant like a pro

1. String of pearls

This oh-so-pretty succulent gets its name from its pearl-like strands that can become large and round like marbles. The trick to keeping this beauty alive is to pot it in soil that drains well, such as cactus soil that has a sandy consistency, and to keep it out of direct sunlight. String of pearls likes to dry out completely in between waters so be sure not to overwater it!

DIY travertine wall decor
It’s also incredibly easy to propagate string of pearls, just place cuttings in water and plant when roots grow | Check out our travertine wall decor tutorial

2. Peace lily

Gina’s peace lily has been going strong for over 6 years and the best thing about this plant is it shows you when it needs water (all the arms of it just flop down) and once you give it water, it’s back to being A-OK.

Don’t worry if it looks like it has well and truly died with every single leaf turning brown, this plant has a way of rising from the ashes. Simply remove all the dead leaves (you may be looking at nothing but dirt) and just water well once a week β€” there’s a good chance you’ll see new leaves coming up in just a couple of weeks.

Peace lily
Image via urbanplantparent_

3. Golden pothos

This attractive, durable and easy-to-grow vine plant loves bright, indirect sunlight and can withstand high temperatures. They’re also said to be among the best indoor plants for air purification.

4. Spider plant

Possibly the hardiest indoor plant on the list, you’ll love how forgiving the spider plant is. It can grow in a wide range of conditions and suffers from few problem, making it ideal for beginner gardeners. The only things to look out for with a spider plant is not to overwater β€” too much water can lead to root rot and it likes to dry out completely in between watering β€” and to place in well-drained soil.

5. Mother-in-law’s tongue

This beautiful, sculptural plant requires minimal maintenance. Simply water when soil is dry and transplant every year or two, when it has outgrown its pot. Like most of the plants on this list, you also need to watch out for overwatering which can drown the plant. When the plant is large enough, you can also propagate it by pulling away a clump and placing it in a new pot.

Snake plant in bathroom
Image via oursouthwestnest

6. Aloe

Aloe is one of our fave hard to kill indoor plants and has too many health benefits to name, such as helping with insomnia and air purification. It’s hardy and beautiful and should be treated it in the same way as any cactus plant β€” keep watering to a minimum and ensure there are plenty of drainage holes in the pot.

Aloe vera plant

7. Echeverias

Echeverias is the succulent on our desk below and not only is it still going strong, we’ve been able to take cuttings and propagate it many times.

You can find out more about propagating succulents here.

Home style curator hard to kill indoor plants

8. Ponytail palm

Over recent years, this plant has gained popularity as an indoor plant. With sleek curly leaves and bulb-like trunk, it grows happily in most conditions. Keep watering to a minimum during winter and fertilise once or twice a year to keep it happy and healthy.


9. Ox tongue

This aloe-like succulent has been crossed many times over the years so there is a wide range of unusual varieties now available. This plant prefers dryer conditions and can form a fungal infection in high humidity but otherwise it’s a robust plant that can tolerate more shade than most succulents, making it ideal for indoors.

Aloe vera plant hard to kill indoor plants
Aloe vera plant

10. Zebra haworthia

A small but striking plant that requires minimal care. It can store water in its leaves so will survive with even less frequent watering than most succulent plants. It can also withstand full, direct sunlight.

11. Jade plant

The other week we used a jade plant in our DIY mini moss ball tutorial (shown below) and it is one super hardy plant!

It can tolerate a lot, including infrequent watering and strong sun, and is said to be a lucky tree or money tree πŸ™‚

DIY mini moss ball planter hard to kill indoor plants

12. Philodendron

For a mega dose of botanical vibes, you can’t look past this stunning plant with large, glossy leaves. It’s easy to care for this plant if you look for the signs β€” if the leaves turn yellow, it’s a sign it’s getting too much sunlight. Also, test the soil before watering as the top 2-5cms should be dry before watering again.

13. Prayer plant

You also need to keep a bit of an eye on the Prayer plant as it doesn’t cope in direct sunlight and benefits from an all-purpose fertiliser feed every month. This minimal upkeep is worth it for those striking leaves #hearteyes.

14. String of hearts

Another of our favourite plants is this dainty vine succulent. String of hearts can grow long, fine strands up to several metres long with delicate heart-shaped leaves. This plant will enjoy the sunniest room of your home.

String of hearts hard to kill indoor plants
String of hearts

15. Fiddle leaf fig

It wasn’t so long ago that this was the hottest trending indoor plant and while others have now rivalled its position, it’s still a beautiful and low-maintenance plant β€” provided you know a few simple tips to care for it. Keep your fig in a bright room but out of direct sunlight or the leaves will turn brown and shrivel. Also, avoid over watering (it can go almost all winter without any water) as it cannot tolerate overwatering.

If your fig looks like it’s dead, you may be able to resuscitate it by giving it a home in your bathroom for a few months. The lighting and humidity of a bathroom works wonders and brought our fiddle back to life.

16. Umbrella plant

A bit of an under-appreciated house plant is the umbrella plant and we think it’s due for its time in the limelight soon! This plant can grow to several metres tall but there is also a dwarf variety available. Like most of the plants on this list, it prefers dry soil to wet so go easy on watering. It doesn’t require fertilising but you can give it some to promote growth.

17. Burro tail

Also known as ‘Donkey tail’ this is one cool looking succulent that grows happily in a pot but looks especially great and thrives in a hanging planter. Caring for this plant is easy peasy, simply keep it out of harsh sunlight (some direct morning or afternoon sun is ok), make sure the pot and soil offer good drainage, and give it a good dose of plant food at least once a year. A healthy and happy Burro tail can flower with a spectacular cluster of small reddish flowers.

18. Dracaena

One of the most common indoor plants and for good reason – it’s easy to care for, has impressive spiky tropical foliage, and helps to purify air. This plant thrives in warmer conditions and prefers lower light conditions.

Aloe vera plant

19. Rubber plant

Also known as a Ficus elastica, this large indoor plant has beautiful deep green glossy leaves and is easy to keep alive when you know how.

Position the plant in a room where it gets bright light but not direct sunlight. When it comes to watering, you can water it 1-2 times a week during summer months and only 1-2 times a month during winter months. It’s also a good idea to wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to avoid dust build up β€” your plant will love it and it will look more beautiful too.

20. Ivy

Although considered a pest in some regions (as it can grow wild in nature and threaten other species), it cannot do any harm in a pot in your home. In fact, it actually does a great job at improving air quality in your home. This evergreen vine requires part shade and well-drained soil.

If you love these plant suggestions, you might like to also check out the Top 10 trending indoor plants right NOW here.

Many diseases that kill plants can also be reduced by growing plants in water, here’s how!

Be sure to ‘Pin’ the graphic at the start of this article to your Pinterest account so you can easily find this list of hard to kill indoor plants πŸ˜‰

What’s your go-to indoor plant? Have you discovered other hard to kill indoor plants? Tell us in the comments below!

Check out more plant inspo here

Top 20 hard to kill indoor plants

This article was originally published in June 2015 but was updated with new information and images.


  1. I have had really good luck with asparagus ferns. I have never tried them indoors, but they’re very hardy outside.

  2. I had a hard winter for a lot of my plants but the one that keeps growing with no sign of letting up in my Moses in a Boat.”. In fact it’s grown so much it’s time to transplant again. My problem is that other than the bedroom window, my sliding door is the only place to grow my plants. Now with spring and starting seedlings I’m plain out of luck for space. Going to have to read up on the hanging plants and those that require next to no light, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

  3. My pony tail plant had a fungus on I cleaned withdrawn dish detergent washed it off the leaves. Looked terrible and I bought another pot and put new soil in it trimmed the roots witch looked good not dead at all but I found the top of it rotten I cut the top off with clippers and it’s been about two months I see no leaves coming back ! Do you think it will comeback with greenery?

    • Hi Karen, very interesting, I’ve never heard of treating plant fungus with dish detergent before – do you think it got rid of the fungus or is that still an issue? Many natural remedies include a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide, or bicarb… Transplanting can help but they say you shouldn’t increase the pot size too significantly as it can put your plant into ‘shock’… it’s hard to say for sure if your plant has a chance of coming back to life without seeing it but there’s always hope. I once killed a plat to the point that no leaves were left and now it’s thriving, it’s amazing what they can do. Just be kind to it, don’t overwater and hopefully it will start to come back to life πŸ™‚

    • Hi Zozo, most plants only require watering once a week but it depends on the conditions in your house. During winter it can often be dropped to once a fortnight. The best way to test is to touch the soil, if it’s dry then it’s ready for another water but if it’s moist, don’t water. Overwatering is the biggest killer of plants. Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  4. Is lavender appropriate for a bedroom as I have really bad chronic asthma, almost to the point of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  5. My go to indoor plants are the African violets. They are easy to care for. I let my African violets dry out and after one or two days I place them in the sink with water and fertilizer and then let the excess water drain before putting back on window sill. I have two African violets for ten years and they are still going strong.

    • Wow Judy, sounds like you’ve definitely got a green thumb if you can keep a flowering plant alive for over 10 years! Thanks for sharing x

  6. An old standard indoor plant that is still providing pleasure is the “Cast Iron Plant” Aspidistra elation.
    Beautiful deep green that enjoys no direct sun, and loves to be put out in the rain for a freshen up, before being returned indoors away from the sun. Relative slow grower requiring minimal care.

    • Thanks for that great suggestion David! Just googled it and it’s a beautiful indoor plant… now to put it to the test and see if we can keep it alive πŸ˜‰

  7. Great selection of plants Gina. I love African violets and Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchids but these are definitely not for the beginner. The biggest killer of indoor plants is over watering,especially in winter so my tip is only to water when the potting mix is dry to the touch. Don’t leave succulents sitting in water either. Indoor plants only need a fraction of the fertiliser of those in garden beds so check you are using the right application rates. The most important thing is to give indoor gardening a go.

    • Wow, thanks for sharing your expert advice Diane! Yes, Moth Orchids are definitely not for the beginner… we managed to kill one of these too, ha ha. Great tips on how to care for them – overwatering is definitely our biggest issue but we’ll try your trick of testing the soil first πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  8. THANK YOU thank you thanks you!! OMG I have zero gardening skills and all my plants seem to die. Even my succulents go all weird and tall and stringy. Fingers crossed I can keep one of these alive!

    • Ha ha Rachel, sounds like us! Good luck keeping one of these plants alive, we’re pretty sure you’ll do just fine πŸ™‚


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