5 Stylish Houseplants You Can't Kill (Spoiler: They're Not Succulents)

Updated 10/10/19
A rubber tree on a pink background.
Scott Webb / Unsplash 

It's a common predicament: You want a #plantsofinstagram-worthy apartment, but you can't keep a green thing alive to save your life. Not watering enough, watering profusely, giving too much or too little light: We've made every plant owner's mistake in the book.

Sure, there are all sorts of houseplant hacks to get them to love where they live, such as watering with lukewarm water, cleaning leaves with mayonnaise, and careful fertilization in their growing seasons, but who, besides the most avid indoor gardener, really has the time—or the wherewithal?

Rather than rebuying the succulents you destroyed (which, let's face it, are a bit played out) or a second $200 fiddle-leaf fig tree, consider these five stylish houseplants (no, they're not succulents) deemed "unkillable" by most houseplant experts.

Air Plants

Despite what they look like, air plants aren't succulents. They're evergreen perennials without "roots" to speak of, or epiphytes, that thrive without soil.

They basically flourish with neglect and only require semi-regular misting and a good bath every so often. "Soak them in a bowlful of water once every two weeks and keep them indoors, in indirect light," instructs Shannon Fleming-Barnhardt, a former merchandise product manager for ProPlants. For a whimsical display, hang a few air plants from the ceiling with clear, low-gauge fishing line.

Simple and Soilless

An air plant photographed on a taupe background.
The Sill Xerographica Air Plant $20
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Lucky Bamboo

So named for its auspiciousness in Chinese culture, and touted by feng shui devotees for its positive energy, Lucky Bamboo isn't bamboo at all. It's actually dracaena sanderiana, a resilient plant in the lily family whose thick, jointed stalks and leaf clusters can be trimmed, crisscrossed, and braided as it grows with wild abandon.

The other great thing about Lucky Bamboo: Unlike real bamboo, it doesn't rely on soil to grow—although you can pot it. Just sink a stalk into a glass of water and check out the tangle of roots in a couple of weeks. Et voilà! You can set and forget this cutie.

Feng Shui-Approved

A braided bamboo plant in a white planter with striated lines.
Costa Farms Lucky Bamboo $26
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Peperomia

With thick, fleshy foliage that holds water in times of drought (aka when you forget to water it), the low-maintenance peperomia plant, or radiator plant in some circles, is pet-friendly and doesn't require constant fuss. Just water when its soil is dry to the touch and place in a bright spot to properly enable its pretty patterns and colors—from marbled to variegated and solid to red, gray, and purple)—appear.

Colorful and Drought-Resistant

Two potted peperomia plants in terracotta planters.
Pistils Nursery Peperomia Hope $12
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Rubber Plants

These puppies grow into massive, 10-foot trees if you let them. (Just repot them as they get bigger, and put them outside in the summertime.) Not vigilant with watering? No problem. In the winter, when it's in its dormancy, you could get away with watering just once or twice per month. Now that's low-maintenance.

Hardy and Low-Maintenance

A potted rubber tree in a charcoal terracotta pot.
Bloomscape Burgundy Rubber Tree $150
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Yucca

The yucca plant is an evergreen perennial shrub that can go for long periods without water. Its spiky beauty and large size make it a perfect choice in any room in need of a sculptural element, regardless of style. Native to the U.S., the potted yucca doesn't need much. It doesn't have specific soil requirements, it likes the sun (but not too much), and you don't really need to fertilize it once it's established. (Hint: Buy one fully-grown.)

Big and Sculptural

A potted yucca plant in a white planter.
My City Plants Yucca Plant $235
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