Vermont Garden Journal: Easy Houseplants For The Non-Gardener

Dec 22, 2017

This time of year, our houses are filled with poinsettias, Christmas cactus and amaryllis flowers. All of their colorful flowers are quite festive during the holidays. But if you're still looking for a holiday gift for the black thumb in the family, allow me to share three suggestions for shade-tolerant, low maintenance houseplants that even they will find hard to kill.   

The ZZ plant, or Zamioculas zamiifolia, is an unusual houseplant that hails from East Africa. It has dark green stems with glossy leaves paired along the stem. The plant almost looks plastic; but also, tough as nails. It tolerates low light, can go weeks without water and will even grow in an office with only fluorescent lights.

Chinese evergreens, or Aglaonema, are foliage houseplants with silver and green leaves. It will need a little more indirect light and more regular watering, but still requires less care than most other houseplants. 

Another easy houseplant is the snake plant. It has thick, sword-like, green or yellow-green leaves that come to a point. This plant is also tolerant of low light and low water and looks great on the floor, a desk or table.

Now for this week's tip: keep poisonous holiday plants such as amaryllis, daffodils, lilies and hyacinths away from children and pets. Decorations including holly, yew and bittersweet berries can also cause illness if ingested. However, Christmas cactus and orchids are safe and poinsettias have low toxicity.