By Albert Mondor, horticulturist and biologist
In spite of all your efforts, your houseplants keep dying one after the other… You have perhaps even thought about buying plastic plants! Before doing that, get yourself one of the indestructible plants presented in this text. Success is guaranteed, even if you do not have a green thumb!
The bowstring hemp forms long, thick leaves that emerge directly from the soil and that look like spears or tongues, which is why it's commonly called "mother-in-law's tongue".
Some bowstring hemps have a dark green foliage with grey spots or striae, while the foliage of other varieties is green with white or yellow edges. Some cultivars also have completely grey or silver-coloured leaves.
Very resistant, the bowstring hemp can remain in the same container for years without receiving a drop of fertilizer. The bowstring hemp will withstand neglect and can survive several weeks without water. It is even recommended to avoid watering it too often in the winter, which means about once a month. If you ever succeed in killing a bowstring hemp, gardening probably isn't your thing!
Obviously, it will give best results when placed in a well-lit room. However, it also tolerates lower light levels and can be grown near an east- or north-oriented window, or even quite far from the source of light. In fact, few succulents are as well adapted to shade as the bowstring hemp.
This drooping plant is at its best in a hanging container. Its foliage grows quickly and becomes very thick in little time, sometimes covering the container in which it is placed. Its leaves are particularly decorative: the top is purple green and grey, while the bottom is violet.
Although it prefers sunny, warm and humid places, the Wandering Jew easily adapts to various conditions. Water this plant only when the surface of the soil is dry, every 7 to 10 days.
‘Vittatum’ spider plant
The ‘Vittatum’ spider plant is most certainly the easiest houseplant to grow. It has long, thin leaves with creamy white marks. As its leaves are drooping, it is preferable to place it in a hanging container.
It prefers bright light, especially in winter, but it can easily deal with lower light levels. However, during summer, it must not receive direct light. Otherwise, its leaves will turn brown.
The ‘Vittatum’ spider plant must be watered on a regular basis, so its soil is always cool, but it will survive without water for over two weeks. Although it likes humid atmospheres better, it tolerates the warm and dry climates of our homes in winter.
Crown of thorns
The crown of thorns is certainly one of the most resistant houseplants. It can tolerate the worst treatments. In fact, the only thing that really affects it is too much water.
In the spring and summer, it produces several small yellow flowers surrounded by highly decorative pink or red bracts. But be careful! It has thorns, so make sure it's not easily accessible.
The spathiphyllum, commonly called “peace lily”, is among the easiest houseplants to grow. It can flower even when installed in a dark place such as a bathroom or basement. However, for more abundant flowering, it should benefit from higher light levels. Water this plant only when the soil’s surface starts to dry. Avoid overwatering it.