Plants That Can Survive Without Water
Although there's no such thing as plants that do not need water, because no plant can survive without water indefinitely, there are certain types of plants you can grow that will survive without much water for long periods of time or during certain times of the year. Aloe, cactus, cast-iron, century, jade, ponytail, rubber tree and snake plants still thrive and yield great results even for the forgetful houseplant owner.
Versatile Aloe Vera Plant
Many plants that need very little water to survive are called succulents, and a prime example is the aloe plant (Aloe vera, USDA zones 10-12). Handy to have around whenever you suffer from a kitchen burn, aloe also treats sunburn and cuts, among other skin conditions. Because of its healing properties, the Missouri Botanical Garden notes that this plant is also called "medicinal aloe." It only needs water once or twice a month in the winter. During the warmer months, just check the top inch of soil to see if it's completely dry. If so, sparingly water it.
Desert Cactus Plants
Desert cacti (Cactaceae) are able to store water for long periods of time. Especially during the winter months, you can forget to water this plant for quite a while and it'll still stand tall. Even though you do need to start giving a desert cactus plant a little more water in the spring, you can still let the soil get very dry beforehand. Stick a pencil deeply into the soil; if any particles stick onto it when pulled out, then you should hold off watering.
Cast Iron Plant
The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior, zones 7-11) earns its common name. This slow-growing, tough-to-kill plant not only survives with little water, but it also still grows without a lot of sunshine, which made it a popular houseplant back in the Victorian Age as well. Although you should aim to keep the soil regularly moist, missing a week here or there of watering proves no problem; the cast iron plant rarely shows signs of any neglect.
American Century Plant
Related to the cactus, the American century plant (Agave americana, zones 8-10) is native to Mexico and the American Southwest. You may need to give this plant a drink only once a month. Another slow-grower, the century plant gets its name because of the long time it takes to bloom. Instead of 100 years, as its common name implies, outdoor plants bloom after 10 to 25 years. The North Carolina State Extension notes that plants die after blooming. Indoor plants rarely produce flowers.
Succulent Jade Plant
The jade plant (Crassula ovata, zones 11-12) originates from South Africa and is a favorite among feng shui believers who think it brings good luck. Since it possesses the same trait of water and nutrient storage as other succulent plants, it doesn't need a lot of water. In the summer, water it once a week. When the weather turns cooler, however, you can wait 6 to 8 weeks before the next watering.
Pony Tail Plant
The pony tail plant (Beaucarnea recurvata, zones 10-11), also called ponytail palm, is not a true palm but a member of the asparagus plant family (Asparagaceae). This slow-growing houseplant is native to Mexico. Long, thin leaves grow from a knot in the center, resembling a ponytail. That knot acts as a reservoir, holding water; therefore, you can miss or deliberately skip watering for a month without major effect. The plant needs very little water at all during the winter.
Rubber Tree Plant
Even if you're extremely forgetful and don't water your rubber tree (Ficus elastica, zones 10-12) for months at a time, it might show signs of neglect, but it'll still survive. However, aim to water it once or twice a week during the warmer months and only once every 2 weeks or once per month during wintertime.
Resilient Snake Plant
Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata, zones 10-12) doesn't need a sitter when you take a vacation. Sun or shade, watered or not, the snake plant still stands tall even if you only water it whenever you think about doing so. Go for weeks at a time without watering it, especially in the winter.