Whether you are an avid gardener or just starting out, it can be tricky to find the right plants for minimal maintenance. To help you out, we’ve curated a list of plants that will have you running to your local nursery in anticipation of growing an easy, vibrant collection of plants in next to no time.
What is not to like about this lime-green healing succulent? Famed for its medicinal properties, particularly in aiding burns, aloe vera tolerates harsh, dry conditions like no other plant. Happy to be potted, bound inside or left out in the garden, aloe vera needs strong direct sunlight with minimal watering. If you decide to plant your aloe vera outside, then ensure your garden bed or standing pot has good drainage as aloe vera cannot survive standing in water or in over-watered soil. The most common reason for a dying aloe plant is overwatering. Aloe vera is part of the cacti family, therefore the less watering that occurs the better.
This houseplant is very tolerant of bright, in-direct sunlight and low watering. Don’t be fooled though, this plant does need some level of care including a well-drained pot and occasional watering to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out. The spider plant gets its name from its long spider-like leaves, called spiderettes, that dangle down away from the mother plant, appearing like spiders on a web. Spider plants are soft green in colour with a yellow-white border along its leaves. Spider plants can grow significantly in size from original propagation. If it becomes difficult to water the plant or if the fleshy roots are highly visible it is time to re-pot. Spider plants need to be divided from the mother plant by removing the spiderettes and planting them separately. All you need to do is submerge the roots in water and keep it well watered until established.
Commonly known as the ribbon plant or mother in law’s tongue, this plant is perfect for those who cannot commit to plant care. Happy indoors or outdoors in dry shady areas, the snake plant doesn’t mind low light or lack of watering. The snake plant has long stiff leaves which are mottled green to flecked yellow in colour, with a sleek rubbery texture mimicking the appearance of a long tongue. The snake plant is also recognised for its air quality, known to remove toxins, making it a popular choice for displaying inside. Snake plants are rapid growers and may need to be divided annually and re-potted if you find the plant outgrowing its container. When propagating in a new pot, ensure the soil is well-watered and has good drainage before potting. Water around once per month but no more as snake plants are highly susceptible to root rot.
Peace lilies are tropical evergreen plants naturally found growing on the forest floor where they can obtain consistent moisture and varying sunlight, the ideal environment for these plants (most easily replicated inside). Peace lilies bear dark green glossy leaves with large off-white flowers that bloom in early summer and periodically throughout the year. The flower is unique in that it contains one large cupped leaf which exposes a white spiked stem. From a distance the peace lily flower looks like a yacht sail, providing a stark contrast against its dark leaves. Peace lilies require well-drained soil and re-potting every spring. Peace lilies are adaptive as they are often seen growing in water. You may even see peace lilies sold in vases without soil. The plant survives in this way by being suspended and only the roots touching, preventing the base of the plant from obtaining root rot. Peace lilies are the perfect decorative plant.
This plant is a succulent available in a variety of shapes and colours; from soft purple to vibrant green and grey-blue, making it the ideal plant for interiors and decorative gardening. Echeveria is one of the easiest plants to propagate. You can propagate your own echeveria from a single leaf pulled off the plant and pushed into the soil. Echeveria thrives in hot climates and can survive with little to no water. The plants are effective singularly as a desk plant or grow together for an artistic display. This plant is best left undisturbed as its leaves are delicate and have the tendency to fall off if moved. Echeveria is pet-safe and child-friendly with no harmful toxins or sharp spiky leaves.
Commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant, split-leaf philodendron has large heart-shaped green leaves that, as the plant matures, split from the leaf edge to the centre vein. Due to the tropical nature of this plant, the spilt-leaf philodendron grows rapidly indoors due to the warm, humid climate. If the plant does not receive adequate light the leaf perforations will not develop, and you will end up with a disk-shaped leaf with no slits. Ensure the plant has some exposure to bright light and keep the soil damp but not soggy. Split-leaf philodendron has a unique feature which indicates how the plant is coping with water levels. You will see water droplets on the leaves if you have overwatered and if you see the leaf edges turning brown it is time to give your plant a good watering and a drop of fertiliser. If you are growing a split-leaf philodendron indoors, please be mindful that this plant is poisonous, so be extra careful of consumption by animals and children.
Yucca cane plant
Yucca cane plants are a great focal point in any indoor or outdoor setting. The plant grows on a thick woody stem with glossy leaves that vary in colour from green to yellow and even bluey white. Yucca cane plants like partial-shade with indirect light. They can survive in direct sunlight, but their colour will change significantly. More sunlight means a brownish tinge and white necrotic spots forming on the leaves, which can eventually kill the plant. Yucca cane plants have low water requirements but need light fertilisation in a well-drained pot or garden bed from time to time. Yucca cane plants can survive in sandy soil; however, it needs to be dense enough to hold the plant upright. The major killer for yucca cane plants is frost. It is advised to move your plant indoors or somewhere shielded from morning frost or cold snaps during winter. You must divide the yucca cane plant into separate pots when your plant becomes too large for its original container. The smaller roots, called pups, must be removed with a clean, sharp cutting tool, such as the Hoselink's Stainless Steel Multipurpose Garden Knife.
The rubber plant gets its name from its artificial plastic look. The leaves are large and dark green in colour with a thick centre vein. They are best grown in pots either indoors or outdoors with bright, indirect sunlight and moist soil. You’ll have to be patient to grow your own indoors as the rubber plant takes several years to officially mature, with many of reaching impressive heights hovering close to the ceiling. The rubber plant makes an impressive focal point in any room. You can restrict the height of your plant by planting it in a small pot and refraining from changing the pot size. If you are growing the rubber plant indoors be sure to frequently check how moist the soil is. It is important to wipe down its leaves every couple of weeks as dust can inhibit its ability to absorb crucial sun rays.
NB - Some of the plants listed may be considered environmental weeds in some regions of Australia. Please check your local state government website for further information or to find alternatives.