Here are some hardy, hard-to-kill houseplants that just might be right for a green-thumb-challenged apartment.
● The cast-iron plant, or aspidistra elatior, was a favorite in the sooty houses of Victorian England. It can tolerate below-freezing temperatures and low levels of light. This is not a showy plant, as it grows very slowly.
● Certain ivy plants can also thrive under the light of a 60-watt bulb. If you like plants with long, trailing vines, a pothos variety should suit you nicely. You can even prune the plant and place the cuttings in water to start new plants. Note that ivy isn’t a good plant for an apartment with pets: the leaves can be toxic, if eaten.
● Snake plant, also known as “mother-in-law’s tongue,” has long, pointed leaves and can make a striking accent piece. Snake plants prefer bright sunlight and can’t take temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but fortunately like drier soil; it’s hard to under-water this plant.
● Zanzibar gem is another low-light-tolerant plant that prefers under-watering to over-watering. Like the ivy, it’s not a good plant if you have children or pets that may try to eat the leaves.
● A cyclamen will go dormant during the summer, but, if you can keep it out of bright light during this dormant period and give it generally high humidity, you’ll be rewarded with a long-blooming flower in winter.
● A jade plant can go up to a month between waterings in the winter, but you will need to give it an annual pruning to keep it healthy.
● If your apartment has room for a tree (and is relatively humid), consider a dwarf umbrella, which can grow four- to five-feet-tall and adapt to different levels of light.
● Finally, for those who really don’t like watering, there are always cacti. These might be best if you have a southern-facing window or a balcony, as they like at least a couple of hours of full sun each day.
Posted by Integra Meadows at Stoneybrook South