Best Houseplants for Busy Professionals

Houseplants add atmosphere to any home or office and provide other benefits as well. Many busy professionals are concerned about the care needed for house plants and therefore, often shy away from becoming plant parents.  These five varieties are consistently noted as easy care houseplants, along with some honorable mentions and resources on where to buy and how to care for them.

Devil’s Ivy (Marble’s Queen Pothos)

Devil’s Ivy, part of the Pothos varieties, is always on the top of the list because they can survive all levels of abuse, including low water. Cuttings of Pothos can be propagated in the soil even during the winter. Since the leaves and plant can grow to be quite large, placing a pole inside the pot can do well for the plant.

“Devil’s Ivy, are notoriously hard to kill and they thrive in low light conditions like an office setting making them an excellent window sill or desk companion,” says Dane Dickerson, California-based cactophile and owner of Persistent Plants.

Succulents and Cacti

When it comes to ease of care, and the lowest water usage, look no further than a succulent or cacti. Dickerson shares that some very hardy and forgiving cacti are trichocereus, mammilaria, opuntia, and notocactus, and succulents include aeonium, euphorbia, echeveria, sedum, and pachyphytum.

“For a busy professional they can make excellent plants because they require the least maintenance. Cacti and succulents retain water in their hard and plump leaves and stalks, they have evolved to go long periods without rain,” he says. “If you make sure they have adequate drainage and correct sunlight, they can get by with a good watering every nine days and some fertilizer in the spring.”

He also noted that depending on weather conditions, most types enter dormancy in fall and require no watering all the way until spring. “As long as you make sure they don't freeze through the winter months, they are plants that can basically be ignored for half of the year!”

Snake Plant (Sansaveria)

Snake plants make every list as good for beginners and require little maintenance. It’s also notorious for several benefits which improve home and office environments. In fact, A NASA study found that one species of snake plant, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, removed 52.6 percent of pollutants from the air in 24 hours. This makes a snake plant very good for bedrooms because it allows for more quality sleep. Besides producing fresh oxygen, a snake plant can also absorb mold and cancer-causing toxins from the air like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, carbon monoxide, and toluene. Imagine how easy it is to relax with outdoor air pollution being managed by a plant.

Vladan Nikolic, founder of Mr. Houseplant LLC, and the blog, Mr. Houseplant, which aids newcomers in the houseplant world to become great plant parents, says this about snake plants. “It's a low-light tolerant plant that can go without water for months if needed. Of course, you should water it regularly, but in case you forget, this plant is very forgiving.”

Aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Miller)

Aloe—the plant many turn to when they’ve spent too much time in the sun, usually in gel or lotion form. Aloe is a type of succulent that is very low maintenance and easy to care for. Since they store moisture in their leaves, watering once a week is okay—and can go as long as two to three weeks, particularly in the winter.

Kelly Martin, the founder of the gardening blog Urban Garden Gal, talks about caring for an Aloe plant. “To check if your Aloe Vera needs watering, stick your finger into the soil about an inch deep to make sure it’s dry before watering.” In addition, she states it’s also very easy to propagate from the baby plants that grow around the base of the plant. “Just cut them off the mother plant and pot them up.”

Heartleaf Philodendron (Philondendron Cordatum)

Heartleaf philodendron is on the list of best low-maintenance plants for a good reason, according to Nikolic. It tolerates very low light levels, which means it can grow well in low-light homes, as well as in dark corners or bright homes. It is relatively forgiving of watering mistakes. Unlike succulents which can die from a single overwatering, a philodendron might lose some leaves, but it will generally survive overwatering or underwatering. This makes it an excellent plant for beginners.

“People like to keep plants in spots where they look good, not necessarily where they will get the most light” states Nikolic. “And heartleaf philodendron is very forgiving in that sense, as it can grow in any spot.”

Honorable Mentions

Martin also adds two to her list—jade plants (crassula ovata) and air plants (Tillandsia spp.) For jade—a type of succulent with thick rounded leaves—she says they are easy to care for and live for many years in the same pot. “Jade plants actually prefer to dry out between waterings, so it won’t matter if you forget to water them for a few days!”

For Air Plants (Tillandsia spp.) she says because they don’t need soil to grow and don’t need to be watered, they are ideal for busy people as well.  “Air plants can absorb moisture and nutrients through their leaves, so they only need an occasional misting with a spray bottle,” she says.  Nikolic adds ZZ plant and Marimo moss balls to his recommendations because they are low-light tolerant plants and don’t require frequent watering.

Where to Plant Shop

Leading online plant marketplaces such as Ansel & Ivy and feature guides on best plants for beginners making it easier than ever to choose the right plants. Ansel & Ivy also features a care guide.

“We help customers pick plants that match their commitment level and their environment by offering a number of online filters that guide them through their shopping experience. We also include digital care instructions with each order,” stated Hiraa Khan, co-founder of Ansel & Ivy, in this 2019 Forbes article.

Nikolic also suggests the busy professional might want to turn to Etsy when purchasing their houseplants since they deliver right to homes and local plant shops since their products will generally be in better condition. “It's important to note that nobody was born with a green thumb,” he says. “Even houseplant experts, nursery owners, and plant shop owners have killed hundreds of plants, not on purpose of course. If it happens, we learn something from it and try again.”

Proper planning can aid even busy professionals in their quest for the perfect plant. There are so many great benefits of a house plant, making them an excellent addition to a home or office and there is one out there for everyone.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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Kelley Dukat is a freelance writer, photographer, and event planner currently based in the United States. She has spent the last year as a nomad traveling and house-sitting. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and previously served as a trade magazine editor. Her favorites include dog-friendly travel, road trips, and nomad life. She is currently working on a memoir and a series of personal essays.