Most homes present a challenging environment for house plants: Dry air, limited sunlight and fluctuating temperatures combined with occasional neglect take a toll on many sensitive plants. The best indoor houseplants are able to withstand the rigors of an unnatural habitat and thrive under varied conditions, staying healthy and robust with minimal care.
Many species of cacti are able to survive with only a monthly watering, but there are other, less prickly choices if you tend to keep a limited watering schedule. Drought-tolerant aloe (Aloe barbadensis) is a succulent plant with short, fleshy leaves. The leaves of easy-care aloe plants can be snipped and applied to burns and other minor skin conditions. Sculptural jade plants (Crassula argentea) perform better with less water; in fact, overwatering can kill these popular plants. Agave, also known as the century plant, has gray-green leaves and can survive for several weeks without water.
Many homes lack abundant natural light but there are several houseplants that will be content in the dimmer corners of your home. Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema species) have attractive, sword-shaped leaves that can be solid green or variegated. These plants flower occasionally, but are more commonly known as an upright foliage plant for low-light conditions. Tall and narrow cornstalk plants (Dracaena fragrans) prefer dry soil and indirect light. A popular choice for dark corners, the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) maintains a deep green color in limited light.
There are several indoor plants that are known to be hard to kill. Leading the list is the aptly named cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior). The cast-iron plant has sword-shaped solid green or variegated leaves and needs little care. Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) and Pothos (Epipremnum) are usually grown in hanging baskets. With minimal watering and moderate light, these plants will grow robustly. Both plants can be rooted easily and shared with other plant-loving friends. The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) grows slowly and rarely needs to be repotted. This versatile plant tolerates filtered sun or low light and can reach a height of 36 inches with a similar spread.