When it comes to growing a garden, some of us have green thumbs and some of us are all thumbs. If you have the touch of death when it comes to leafy greens, or simply haven’t the patience for a plant, worry not, we’ve got a few easy-going plant suggestions for you.
Quite possibly the easiest plant on the planet to grow, bamboo is is technically a grass, but it grows like a weed. “Running bamboo” can quickly overtake a yard, so unless you plan to raise a family of pandas, you’re better off growing this variety in a pot. Alternately you can go with “clumping bamboo,” which has a less itinerant temperament. Both varieties are pretty hands-off plants, requiring only occasional watering, and able to tolerate lots of sun.
Lucky bamboo — which, despite its name and appearance, isn’t a type of bamboo at all — is a great way to add a bit of greenery to a desk or countertop. You can ruin most plants by both watering too little and too much, making a gardener’s job a constant struggle to find the optimal hydration level. Lucky bamboo, however, can be grown right in a jug of water, so there’s no risk of overwatering.
Often found on wind-lashed beaches, deserts, or arid plains, succulents are perfectly suited to extreme weather conditions. Grabbing moisture whenever it can, these plants have thick, glossy leaves that trap water in, saving it for more parched days — a quality that makes it the perfect plant for the gardener that can never remember to water on a regular basis. In the succulent family, aloe vera is a great addition to any home, and its leaves double as a skin-healing salve for sunburn victims.
For an easy-going alternative to the ubiquitous aloe vera, check out the donkey tail plant, which has long, trailing branches that hang down like a donkey’s trail.
While many plants can survive bouts of neglect, few will actually flower under the cruel hands of the careless gardener. The peace lilly, however, is an elegant addition to the home that produces a sail-like white flower even with little or no coaxing from the gardener. Expect this shade-loving plant to flower throughout the summer, and even in the winter months in more humid conditions.
The cactus is designed to be ignored. Heat loving and requiring little water, there are few plants as hardy and hard to kill as a cactus. Most cacti will be easy to grow indoors, but if you’d like one with a little flair, check out the holiday cactus, which produces vibrant flowers in a range of color. These plants lack the stabbing spines of most cacti, making it a great addition to a home with children.
If there was ever a plant that you’d want to neglect, it’d be ivy. Thriving in low-light rooms and requiring little water, ivy grows quickly and can completely take over a room in a short time. Devil’s ivy, one of the most common, will probably grow in a dark closet; it’s really that easy to take care of.
Gadgets for Lazy Gardeners
Even the hardiest species of plants need an occasional splash of water and hint of sunshine. If you feel you’re not the sort to give a plant even a minimal amount of care, worry not, there are plenty of gadgets on the market to help take the effort and guesswork out of raising a plant.
Most would-be gardeners go awry by forgetting to water their plants. The TriPot self-watering planter does the job for you by releasing a slow drip to you plants. Fill the pot up once, and your plants are good for the next eight weeks.
For a more high-tech plant care solution, the EasyBloom Plant Sensor is a digital tool that gathers data on soil moisture levels and light intensity. Plug the USB-enabled sensor into your computer and check your stats to see if your plant is getting the right level of care.
For a more low-tech option, a terrarium is a great addition to a indoor garden. Filled with a few worry-free species like moss, lichen and succulents, these glass enclosures trap in moisture, so they require only the most occasional watering.