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If you’re like me, the gardening gene may have skipped a generation. My kids even laughed at me once because I managed to kill not one, but two featured plants in the book, “37 Houseplants Even You Can’t Kill.”

Determined to change my thumb into a green one, I’ve since been able to nurture and keep alive several indoor and outdoor plants that have brought me the sheer joy of success. Discover these eight maintenance-free plants that will make you, too, the proud owner of a green thumb.

Indoor Plants to Brighten Any Décor

Aloe Vera


Not only does the aloe vera plant lend a pretty cactus-like look to any room without the prickly spikes, it also provides a soothing salve for cuts and burns. This plant requires only water when the soil has become completely dry, so it’s a great candidate for people who often travel. Depending on humidity, check the soil and water it one to three times a month.

The Snake Plant

Close-up of houseplant sansevieria

Don’t let the name fool you – there are no slimy, slithering snakes here. Also known as the mother-in-law plant, this plant has wavy, thick, waxy leaves that don’t mind being left alone. It thrives in low or moderate light, so you can put it in a darker room and still enjoy its air-purifying properties. It can go weeks without water and still survive. Like the aloe vera plant, check that the soil is completely dry before watering.


Jade plant

Image: Gardening Know How

Named for its resemblance to the color of the gemstone, jade is a succulent that needs very little maintenance. Keep it in a small pot and transfer to a larger one when the shoots start to cast a shadow on the edge. Jade likes sunny spaces and doesn’t mind going without water for several days. Check that the top of the soil is dry before watering, but don’t let it go more than a week without water.


Echeveria plant

Image: World of Succulents

This succulent blooms in a rose pattern with the petals overlapping each other. It comes in a variety of colors to complement any décor. It loves light, so make sure to set it in or near a sunny window. Unlike some other succulents, keep the soil moist and don’t go more than a couple of days without watering. It will survive the weekend if placed in an office space, but it will like to be watered first thing when you get back.

English Ivy

English Ivy

Image: Good Housekeeping

For a climbing plant that will fill your rooms with greenery, consider English ivy. You can hang a pot from the ceiling and watch it overflow like a waterfall or set it on a countertop and add a stake to watch it climb up the wall. English ivy likes cooler temperatures, so it’s perfect for interior rooms with lower natural light. Like the echeveria, keep the soil moist by watering at least every couple of days, but don’t worry if you forget a day here and there.

Outdoor Plants to Spruce Up the Landscape

Groundcover Roses

Groundcover rose bush

Image: Monrovia

If the idea of cultivating beautiful but fussy rose gardens has put you off to the idea of ever trying roses, groundcover roses could be for you.

These roses were bred to destroy the well-known temperament of most rose bushes. They’re drought-tolerant, disease-resistant and will continue to grow even if you try your hand at pruning.

One great method is to plant groundcover roses either straight in the yard or pot them in a large container. They’ll sprawl over your yard or planter in an array of vibrant colors for the entire growing season. Water in the morning every few days and prune new sprouts in any way you want to frame your space.

Itoh Peony

Itoh peony bush

Image: Monrovia

This cross between a herbaceous and tree peony will grow in most regions and fills your garden with giant blooms.

Peonies have a reputation for being hard to grow, but this variety comes back year after year if you just feed it with a good, organic mulch at the beginning of each season. Plant them along the edges of your house or fence line, or dedicate a space directly in your flower garden.

Red-Flowered Yucca

Red flowered yucca bush

Image: Texas Heritage for Living

You don’t have to live in the desert to enjoy this drought-tolerant showstopper, but it’s OK to act like you do. The red-flowered yucca plant spreads out with its bushy blue-gray foliage and then reaches up to the sky with spikes topped with red flowers.

It does well in high-heat areas and makes a great space-filler because it can double in size in just one growing season. For deeper red varieties, it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to bring your yard to life.

Plant it wherever you need a focal point or just want to add depth and texture to your yard. To care for this plant, surround the base with dry mulch and let nature do the rest.

Caring for plants may not be the first thing you think of every day, but even if you’ve inadvertently killed as many plants as I have, these maintenance-free superstars will renew your faith in household plants and outdoor planting. Give a few of these a try and let us know in the comments how it worked for you.

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