The 10 Best Indoor Plants That Are Impossible to Kill (We Asked the Experts)

Fiddle-leaf fig in a modern styled space

Talisa Sutton

Whether due to millennials' subconscious desire to nurture something or Instagram's ironclad influence on aesthetics, indoor plants are now the hallmark of any well-appointed space. Once fodder for landscape architects and gardeners, terms like fiddle-leaf fig, bird of paradise, and monstera have infiltrated our cultural lexicon and become the object of an entire generation's social media-fueled obsession.

That's not to say we're not fully on board with the trend—our homes are brimming with snake plants, succulents, dried eucalyptus, and the like. We find that plants add the perfect touch of color and a subtle dose of nature to our white-walled, urban apartments, and we can't get enough of them.

Considering our own trials and tribulations as new plant parents (there have been plenty), we tapped the experts over at The Sill, a New York-based plant store and online marketplace, for insight into the undisputed best indoor plants for new plant owners. Erin Marino graciously shared her five recommendations with us, focusing on aesthetics and maintenance when making her selections.

Meet the Expert

Erin Marino is the Director of Brand Marketing at The Sill, where she promotes easy-care potted plants for delivery, plant design, and maintenance in a way that fits your personal style, your lifestyle, and your budget.

Read on for Marino's top 10 best indoor plant picks for new plant parents.

01 of 10

Snake Plant

Snake plant and various plants

Kelsey M Clark

  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Free-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

"This no-fuss tropical plant has thin, upright leaves with irregular banding that resembles the skin of a reptile. Depending on the variety, it can be different hues of green, and sometimes has yellow edges," Marino told MyDomaine. "Its adaptations for surviving drought (it's technically a succulent) make it a suitable plant choice for any plant parent, in almost any environment. Although it prefers bright light, it can survive lower light levels than other succulent houseplants." Additionally, snake plants have been shown to filter benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene out of the air.

Snake plants thrive in medium, indirect to full light, but also tolerate low light. Water about once every two weeks and allow the potting mix to dry out between waterings.

Snake plant in black scalloped pot
The Sill Snake Plant Laurentii $43
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02 of 10

Pilea Peperomioides

Pilea peperomioides on a kitchen countertop

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Pilea peperomioides
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

The cute, round leaves of the Pilea peperomia—also known as pancake plants or coin plants, for obvious reasons—will bring a smile to your face day after day. Its compact size tops out at 12 inches tall, making it a great side table or nightstand plant, too.

To keep your Pilea happy, let the soil dry out completely in between waterings. With enough light and appropriate care, your plant will begin to shoot out offsets from its stem that can be propagated into new plants.

Pilea peperomioides in a black ceramic pot
The Sill Pilea Peperomioides $35
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03 of 10

Pothos

Pothos plant on a wood dresser

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

"Nicknamed the 'cubicle plant'—as a term of endearment!—the pothos is our go-to for self-proclaimed brown-thumbed customers with less than ideal plant conditions at home or work," Marino explains. "Like the similar-looking philodendron mentioned below, the pothos's trailing vines can grow to over 10 feet long, even indoors. This easy-to-grow houseplant is also incredibly easy to propagate. Don't have the ceiling height for 10 foot hanging vines? Snip one and propagate in water to create another plant." Another bonus: The pothos plant has been shown to filter benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene out of the air.

Pothos plants enjoy low, indirect light to dappled sun. Water weekly and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Marble pothos plant in black ceramic planter
The Sill Marble Queen Pothos $57
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04 of 10

Succulents

Succulent and palm on a kitchen table

Coco Lapine Design

  • Botanical Name: Varies
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained succulent or cactus mix
  • Soil pH: 4.0 to 6.5

Small but mighty succulents are great starter plants, especially if you're short on space. All you really need is a few square inches near a window. Try planting a couple of different varieties together for a succulent garden effect.

Water only once the soil has completely dried out (basically, every couple of weeks when you remember to). It's also simple to propagate brand new plants from fallen leaves so you can expand your little plant family.

Succulents in grower's pots
Succulents Box Pet-Friendly Succulent Pack $11 $9
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05 of 10

ZZ Plant

Woman sitting in a bright living room next to house plants

Jessie Bush

  • Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

"A ZZ plant, or Zanzibar gem, is a great plant choice for any lower light environment," says Marino. "They are drought tolerant and incredibly low maintenance. You might spot the ZZ's large, potato-like rhizomes under the surface of its surrounding potting mix. These rhizomes store water and help the plant survive drought in its natural environment. They'll also help it survive infrequent waterings in your space (think once a month in medium, indirect light). In addition, many cultures believe a ZZ plant symbolizes prosperity and friendship—making it a great housewarming gift."

ZZ plants thrive in low, indirect light to dappled sun. Water once every two weeks and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

ZZ plant in a terra cotta planter
The Sill ZZ Plant $52
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06 of 10

Spider Plant

Spider plant in a boho bedroom

Tracey Hairston

  • Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-drained potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.2

You've likely seen these classic houseplants before—their lush, full leaves and hardiness make them a popular choice. Even beginners will find them nearly impossible to kill.

Let the soil dry out in between waterings, as their plump roots can hold onto moisture, which makes them prone to root rot if overwatered. Hang your spider plant near a window and you may soon be rewarded with tiny flowers and baby offshoots that can be grown into new plants.

Spider plant on a wooden stool
36Vine Spider Plant $26
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07 of 10

Philodendron

heartleaf philodendron on a styled shelf

Modern House Vibes

  • Botanical Name: Philodendron Heracleum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Peat moss-based potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

"In the right indoor conditions, the philodendron’s heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines can trail to over 10 feet long like the pothos, making it the perfect plant for a high shelf or hanging planter," explains Marino. "Also like the pothos, it is incredibly easy to prune and propagate if you prefer a more compact shape. The green heartleaf philodendron also has a reputation of being one of the easiest houseplants to grow." Additionally, philodendrons have been shown to filter formaldehyde out of the air.

These houseplants thrive in medium, indirect light to dappled sun and are not well-suited for direct sunlight. Water your philodendrons weekly and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Green philodendron in a mint ceramic pot
The Sill Philodendron Green $38
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08 of 10

Money Tree

Small money tree on a styled kitchen shelf

Sara Toufali

  • Botanical Name: Pachira aquatica
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Moist to wet potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5

The money tree has long been thought to bring luck and financial fortune to its caretaker, hence the name. With that in mind, you'll be happy to know it's a great plant for first-timers.

Given the right care, the money tree can grow several feet tall, making it a great statement tree. Set it near a bright south or west-facing window and water it when the first few inches of soil have dried. It loves humidity, too, so a sunny bathroom is an ideal home for your new plant baby.

Braided money tree in black pot
Modern Garden Braided Money Tree $79
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09 of 10

Bird's Nest Fern

birds nest fern on a modern desk

Cathie Hong Interiors

  • Botanical Name: Asplenium nidus
  • Sun Exposure: Medium to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 5.5

"The bird’s nest fern is characterized by its bright green, ripple-edged fronds that grow out of a nest-like crown. It is a great plant pick for a hanging planter," Marino continues. "The bird's nest fern thrives in medium, indirect light, and a humid environment. It would do great in a bathroom with a shower, as long as there are windows that receive natural light, because of the higher humidity levels in that room of the home." Additionally, ferns have been shown to filter formaldehyde out of the air.

Bird's nest ferns enjoy low to medium, indirect sunlight. Water your fern weekly when the potting mix is half dry, about two inches down. These plants handle moisture and humidity well.

Bird's nest fern in a white ceramic pot
The Sill Bird's Nest Fern $57
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10 of 10

Dieffenbachia

houseplants on wooden shelf against white wall

Bogdan Kurylo / Getty Images

 

  • Botanical NameDieffenbachia
  • Sun Exposure: Low, medium, or bright light
  • Soil Type: Moist and well-drained
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

If a jungle vibe is what you're after, the dieffenbachia, also known as dumb cane, is a great choice. This lush, leafy bush comes in all different sizes, so make sure you know what size you're looking for before buying.

As a jungle plant, the dieffenbachia needs consistently moist but not soggy soil and loves humidity. Keep it in a bathroom with a window or on a pebbled tray full of water. It's not as picky about light and can adapt to low-light spaces if necessary.

Lime green dieffenbachia in a grower's pot
Lively Root Dieffenbachia Carina $36
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Article Sources
MyDomaine uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Reduce Indoor Air Pollution with Houseplants, Part 2: Golden Pothos and Snake Plant. New Mexico State University Extension. March 5, 2019

  2. Improve Air Quality Naturally With Plants. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. May 4, 2016

  3. Su Y-M, Lin C-H. Removal of Indoor Carbon Dioxide and Formaldehyde Using Green Walls by Bird Nest FernThe Hortic J. 2015;84(1):69-76. doi:10.2503/hortj.CH-114

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