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  • Writer's pictureLily Dittschlag & Dennis Dittschlag


Passive House Toronto

Let's face it, not all of us are blessed with a green thumb. As much as we strive to incorporate biophilic design in our home, keeping plants alive is no easy feat. We have had our fair share of houseplants that did not survive. But we did have some plants that we managed to revive. If you're hoping to increase the greenery in your home, here are our top five houseplants that we found easy to maintain.

Peace Lily

If you're looking to get a houseplant but unsure if it'll survive in your indoor climate, a peace lily is a good option. It'll thrive in a room full of light, or a room with no windows at all. This gives you many options to play around with if you're unsure where the plant will fit in your interior design. But keep in mind, if you prefer the plant to flower more, you'll need to give it more light. Either way, the peace lily still looks great with its vibrant green leaves.

Watering a peace lily is fairly simple. When the leaves start to slightly droop, it's time to water. This is usually about once a week. But don't worry, even if you forget to water, you can still revive the plant. There have been countless times we came home from vacation to find the peace lily drooped entirely to the floor. We were sure it dried up beyond rescue. Nope. Just one watering and it sprung back to life. The peace lily is very drought tolerant, which makes it resilient and easy to care for. In fact, overwatering is more likely to harm the plant. So it's best to water only when necessary rather than on a schedule.

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Snake Plant

The snake plant is also popularly known as the mother-in-law's tongue, or by its species name Sansevieria. It has tall, thick and leathery leaves that are near indestructible. It thrives in shadier rooms with little attention. Perfect for dark corners of your house that could use some décor while not taking up too much floor space.

While the snake plant can be placed in any room, it is an ideal plant for the bedroom. Because unlike most plants, the snake plant releases a large amount of oxygen at night. This means as we sleep, we get a fresh supply of oxygen while it absorbs the stale carbon dioxide we breathe out. The healthier air can mean a good night's sleep.

If you are looking for a plant that is truly low maintenance, then the snake plant is for you. Dry conditions are preferred and it only needs to be watered occasionally. As it is extremely drought-tolerant, you won't do much harm if you forget to water it now and then.

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Devil's Ivy

The devil's ivy, also known as pothos, is a great plant to place on a shelf or window frame. Because of its dangling look, we prefer to place this plant on a floating shelf. It's a great plant for our powder room as it does not take up much space and adds a bit of greenery to help clean the air.

It is best to have the soil dry out completely before watering. If left continually in damp soil, this will cause root rot. This means the roots can no longer absorb moisture and nourishment from the soil resulting in the entire plant slowly dying, leaf by leaf. This has happened to us and the devil's ivy was down to a few leaves. Initially, we had little hope of reviving this plant. But it's called devil's ivy for a reason, right? Meaning "impossible to kill"? Right indeed. With root rot, the best way to revive this plant is re-grow new roots to propagate new plants. By taking clippings of the remaining leaves with the stem intact, we simply submerged the stems in water and left them on the window sill. Within weeks, new roots emerged and it was ready for planting. Within months, new leaves grew. Pretty soon, the devil's ivy had a dozen of new leaves and was looking as healthy and plentiful as before. Yes, patience was required.

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Money Tree

The money tree, also known by its species name Pachira Aquatica, is one of the easiest trees to grow indoors. In some cultures, the money tree gets has a symbolic meaning for good luck and prosperity. So it's only fitting to place this tree in a home office to invite financial abundance. It can grow as a small desk plant or as an indoor tree, which can reach six feet tall.

It is a very hardy plant that can withstand low light conditions and infrequent watering. It is best to water the money tree whenever the soil looks dry. Depending on your indoor climate, this can be once a week or once a month.

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Swiss Cheese Plant

The Swiss cheese plant, also known as the Monstera species, has leaves with noticeable holes, hence its name. While this plant requires a little more care than the others we mentioned above, we like this plant because it livens up our home with a more tropical feel. As much as we would have liked to put this plant in the upstairs home office that we initially had in mind, it did not thrive being on the top shelf of our desk. Within days, the edges of leaves were browning and the plant was often very dry. We realized the air in the room upstairs was far too dry for this tropical plant. We have relocated it downstairs to the living room and it has been growing nicely ever since. As long as we water every week, allowing the soil to dry out between watering, the plant seems to be thriving, which makes it fairly easy to maintain.

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Other plants...

There are many other easy to maintain plants that we may add to our collection later on, but for now, the peace lily, snake plant, devil's ivy, money tree, and Swiss cheese plant remain our top five low maintenance choices.

We wish you good luck with your indoor plants! Remember to get the name of the plant you bought so you can always search for care instructions later. And we found it very helpful to move plants around in the house to explore with different light, humidity, and temperature conditions.

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