This launched me on a hunt for the easiest houseplants for kids to maintain. Here are seven that I found:
This hardy vine goes by a plethora of names, such as money plant and devil's ivy. You may also know it as philodendron, although this common misuse of store labeling actually refers to a whole different species.
Pothos sports heart-shaped leaves on a climbing vine. It is known for removing the indoor pollutants of formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene.
This plant can also be placed on top of aquariums with its roots in the water to help clean the tank, being perfectly safe for fish. However, this plant is toxic to plant-nibbling cats and dogs, so keep the vines up out of reach. I like this plant in a hanging pot or on top of a tall shelf where the vines can be easily trained to grow out of the way.
Also known as mother-in-law's tongue or devil's tongue, this plant has long leaves that grow straight up from the ground. The species you want for your child is the one with hard leaves, which thrive with infrequent watering.
Snake plants grow easily from cuttings, so if you have a friend with this plant, try placing a part of a leaf in a pot of soil to get it started to save the money to buy it at a store. Like the pothos vine, snake plants prefer warm, well-lit areas of the house.
Snake plants also remove formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air in addition to being promoted for bedrooms in that they release oxygen at night. However, like the pothos, the leaves are toxic when eaten, so be sure to place the pot out of reach of nibblers or small, curious children.
Related: 6 Fun Ways to Teach Children about Plants and Herbs
This prolific plant is also called airplane plant, because the mother plant sends out plantlets at the end of stems as its way of reproducing. Should these plantlets, drooping down from the main plant, find soil, they start growing into a new mother plant.
The houseplant species comes in two varieties, one with white-striped green leaves and another with white-laced green leaves. Either can be grown indoors or outside in temperatures as cool as 35 degrees F.
Spider plants also remove formaldehyde from the air like the pothos vine and snake plant, but are not toxic to animals. Because of their reproductive methods, they do best in a hanging pot but can grow large quickly.
This category of houseplants refers to a variety of species, including cacti, that have thick, fleshy leaves designed to store water in arid environments. Other popular succulents among the 25 plant families identified as such include the jade plant, aloe vera, and century plant -- the last of which I ended up gifting my son for his birthday.
Succulents like warm, well-lit growing conditions and less frequent watering. They grow slowly but are hard to kill. The sap of some species of succulents, like aloe vera, have health benefits such as sunburn relief.
Related: Sunburn? These 5 Natural Remedies Might Help
Now, here is an interesting plant. It doesn't require soil at all, so you can be creative with your container. My airplant sits in a seashell.
To water air plants, you can either spritz it with a water spray bottle or dunk it under the running kitchen faucet once a week. They can only absorb water through their leaves and in small amounts at a time.
And because these plants aren't mushrooms, do keep them in a well-lit area with plenty of air circulation.
Lucky bamboo is not actually bamboo, but it sure looks like it! Many people keep these houseplants in the belief that they bring happiness and prosperity, hence the name.
This plant can be grown in either soil or water, and can reach heights as much as 5 feet tall. Lucky bamboo is easier to grow in water, so select a tall, clear container with enough decorative stones or marbles to stabilize it so it doesn't fall over when the plant is placed inside. The plant needs at least 3 inches of water to grow well.
Lucky bamboo does best in areas of the house that are well-lit and warm. Don't leave this plant in direct sunlight, which will burn the leaves. Lucky bamboo is a little more sensitive to temperature changes than others on this list, so keep it away from the air-conditioning and heating vents.
7. Cast Iron Plant
As the name implies, this plant is definitely one tough plant! Also known as the bar room plant, it has a reputation for not minding neglect and is tolerant of low light, irregular watering, and temperature fluctuations dipping as low as 23 degrees F. The closest the cast iron plant often gets to dying is when the leaves bleach from direct sun exposure, although serious damage can be done to the roots with over-watering.
There are many varieties, including those with green leaves speckled with white, striped leaves, and chocolate brown leaves.