- Some plants are a bit more difficult to keep alive as they require certain levels of humidity, consistent temperature levels, or specific amounts of water.
- Zebra plants, orchids, and gardenias can be difficult to keep alive.
- Peacock and Wandering Jew plants shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight because it could impact the colour of their leaves.
Houseplants add a splash of greenery and vibrancy to indoor spaces, but keeping them alive can sometimes feel like a part-time job. Although some plants are hardy enough to survive on haphazard watering and the occasional dose of fertiliser, others are a bit more demanding.
Here are a few of the most difficult houseplants to keep alive and what you need to know if you decide to bring one home.
Fiddle-leaf fig plants are surprisingly difficult to keep alive.
This wildly trendy indoor plant is actually pretty tricky to keep healthy. As Good Housekeeping pointed out, it prefers just the right amount of sun – too much exposure will brown its leaves, but too little will stunt its growth.
Think your fiddle-leaf fig would actually fare better in your bedroom rather than the living room? Be careful when moving this plant around, as it doesn’t tolerate changes to its environment well. You should also be sure to mist your plant’s leaves to keep them moist if your home is on the drier side.
Gardenias smell amazing but are pretty temperamental plants.
Gardenias boast lovely white blooms and a heavenly scent. They’re also pretty finicky when it comes to temperature. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, these houseplants need to be kept far away from heating vents or radiators, as too much hot air can kill gardenias. They also prefer plenty of light and are prone to infestations of aphids and other pests.
Boston ferns have lush foliage and need lots of attention.
Boston ferns are a great option for people looking to brighten up their home with greenery, but they require quite a bit of care. According to The Spruce, these guys don’t fare well in direct sunlight. Instead, they prefer filtered or indirect light.
It’s also crucial to keep their soil nice and moist as these plants can quickly wither if their root ball is allowed to dry out. Boston ferns might also struggle in a home that’s frequently chilly since they prefer year-round temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Miniature roses often stymie novice indoor gardeners.
Miniature roses are a popular indoor plant and it’s easy to see the appeal of cultivating a tiny rose garden in your living room. However, newbie houseplant owners are often perplexed by how easily these plants seem wither.
According to Dengarden, miniature roses won’t bloom if they don’t get enough light. They should be placed by a sunny window and they need at least six hours of full sun every day. Their soil also needs to be kept damp (but not sodden) in a pot with good drainage. The plants are also prone to getting black spots on their leaves if water droplets fall on them.
Orchids are striking plants with very particular needs.
Orchids are whimsical-looking plants that are known for their vibrant colours. Although they’re popular houseplants, many indoor gardeners fail to keep up with their strict watering schedule and specific light needs.
According to the Royal Horticultural Society, these plants should be placed in indirect light near a north- or east-facing window to shelter them from the intense afternoon sun. They should only be watered about once a week and their roots shouldn’t be allowed to become waterlogged. It’s important to know what variety of orchid you have, as different types have slightly different needs.
Croton plants are vibrant but fussy roommates.
These plants have a reputation for being difficult to grow indoors. According to Gardening Know How, croton plants depend on bright light to develop their signature bright colours, so they should be kept near a sunny window. If they’re placed in a dark corner, their foliage might become dull and turn dark green. Croton plants also hate to be moved, which can send them into shock and cause them to drop their leaves.
Azaleas thrive outside but tend to be tough to care for inside.
Outdoor azaleas tend to erupt with blooms in the springtime. This is because these plants actually love cool yet humid conditions, which can be pretty tough to recreate in your living room.
The Royal Horticultural Society advised that indoor azaleas can grow fairly well if located somewhere like an enclosed, unheated porch. You’ll also need to add vinegar to any water you use to maintain your azaleas, as they like slightly acidic soil that isn’t too wet or too dry.
The Wandering Jew plant is beautiful but tough to keep alive.
Tradescantia pendula is commonly referred to as the Wandering Jew plant in reference to a Biblical character. These plants are prized for their distinctive leaf markings, but these will quickly fade if the plant is left in direct sunlight.
According to Gardening Know How, the leaves of these plants are also prone to drying out in the winter and should be misted to prevent this. Watering this plant is tricky as well – you’ll need to keep the soil slightly damp, but you shouldn’t let the crown of the plant get too wet.
It’s important to keep zebra plants warm all year long.
If you’re someone who likes to keep your house on the frosty side, a zebra plant might not be a good fit. According to House Plants Expert, these striking plants like to be kept at a toasty 70 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.
You’ll also need to supply this plant with a source of moisture if you don’t live in a tropical climate, as they thrive in 60% to 70% humidity. The soil around zebra plants should always be slightly damp, so be prepared for a fair amount of plant sitting.
Banana plants are great for a tropical look but also need tropical growing conditions.
It should come as no surprise that these tropical plants need an abundance of light and warmth to stay healthy. Gardening Know How advised that you should be prepared to provide your banana plant with about 12 hours of light each day – if you live in a northern climate with short days, that might mean investing in a grow lamp.
You’ll also need to feed this fellow with a fertiliser mixture every month and keep its growing environment moist and warm. If you’re lucky, you might get some fruit for your efforts.
Venus flytraps need to be fed small insects by hand.
If you’re looking for something between a houseplant and a pet, a Venus flytrap might be the solution. These carnivorous plants need to be fed small insects to survive. This means that you’ll need to give your Venus flytrap a few live insects to snack on at least a couple of times a week, according to Better Homes & Gardens. They also crave bright light, acidic soil, and a humid environment.
Peacock plants are showy and needy houseplants.
Also known as cathedral window plants, peacock plants offer stunningly good looks but also demand a special care routine. According to House Plants Expert, peacock plants need to be kept humid and warm; misting the leaves regularly is a must.
These plants should be kept in low light to prevent dulling its bright foliage. You’ll also need to use distilled or rainwater to water your peacock plant, as the fluoride added to tap water in many places can damage its leaves.
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