by Allison McClure

To put it plainly, houseplants are good to have around. Research increasingly suggests that indoor plants can positively impact individuals’ health, well-being and sense of contentment. They are known to improve air quality; besides producing oxygen, research by NASA found that houseplants remove harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air. In addition, a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that caring for indoor plants can reduce stress and promote feelings of comfort. Other research has suggested that having plants around might help recover from mental fatigue even in terms of task performance.
But is there any hope for people who do not have a so-called “green thumb”? Plant after plant comes home from the store, only to meet its demise—even after the best effort to keep it happy and thriving. Fortunately, there are a few good choices for those who have yet to succeed with finding houseplant homeostasis. Whether the search is on for a plant to withstand a neglectful office atmosphere or a shady corner of the house, there are a variety of houseplant choices that won’t throw a fit in less-than-optimal conditions. Here are five to consider:
Snake Plant
Right now, snake plants are on-trend. With spiky, variegated leaves in green and yellow, they’re striking and exotic and can grow relatively tall inside the home. The best part is, while they prefer bright indirect sunlight, snake plants are also not fussy in low light, making them suitable for various locations around the home. Too much water is bad for them; in fact, snake plants prefer drainage holes and infrequent watering. To top it off, they prefer to have their roots fit tightly in their pot. So, forgetting about them for a while can be a good thing.
Spider Plant
A popular and undemanding hanging plant, mature spider plants are showy with long offshoots containing tiny white flowers and baby spider plants. They are fast-growing and adapt to a range of lighting conditions (although direct sun can burn their leaves). Bonus points: When the baby spider plants grow to about two inches in diameter, they can be snipped, propagated and given away as gifts. Now, who’s got a green thumb?
Pothos plants grow to have streaming, leafy vines. While they do not withstand full sun, they will make do in low light conditions and bright, indirect light, making them a good choice for sunny kitchens and dimmer hallways. Pothos plants do not require frequent watering; in fact, too much water can cause them to yellow and drop their leaves. Propagation is also fast and straightforward, creating one full, luscious plant or a new, smaller plant.
Cast-Iron Plant
An attractive houseplant with oblong, glossy leaves, cast-iron plants tolerate various conditions, including very low light. Cast-iron plants dislike being overly saturated with water; allowing the soil to dry out after watering is best. And, they only need a new home every so often; since they grow from a rhizome, cast-iron plants only need to be repotted every few years.
Often called a Swiss cheese plant because of the holes in its leaves, monstera plants can thrive just about anywhere in the home. They tolerate lighting levels ranging from shade to bright, indirect light, and they only need water every one to two weeks. An excellent bathroom plant, monsteras particularly enjoy warm, steamy areas—although they are undemanding about their love for humidity. When they’re happy, monsteras are relatively fast-growing, reaching about three feet high and wide when mature.
Note: While they are easy to keep alive, some of the plants above are toxic to pets. The ASPCA has a comprehensive database of plant toxicity to animals, which pet parents are advised to check before purchasing a new plant.