Tropical plants are just perfect for on-the-go homeowners who appreciate the beauty and benefit of houseplants but don’t always remember to water them. These five plants were put to the test and survived in a dark closet for THREE weeks!

By Megan Hughes
April 02, 2019

Whether you are new to the world of houseplants or are looking for an ultra easy-care plant to add life and a dynamic vibe to a forlorn room, here are five houseplants that are among the easiest of all tropicals to grow.

Our friends at Costa Farms, a wholesale grower of plants, dug into the science of tough plants. They devised a study to find the toughest of the tough indoor plants. The chief challenge for plants was a three-week stint in a lightless closet without supplemental watering. To receive a commendable rating the plant not only had to look magnificent upon retrieval from the closet, but it also had to maintain its good looks for months beyond. In short, the plant had to endure three-week closet vacation and remain in great form.

Five houseplants met the criteria outlined in the study. These tough plants don’t mind low light (or long periods of no light!). Low humidity doesn’t pose a problem for them and they are exceedingly forgiving when you forget to water them. They are perfect plants for houseplant newbies and busy folks who love tropicals.

Image courtesy of Costa Farms (photo by Kritsada)

Ponytail Palm

Beaucarnea recurvata

Grasslike leaves atop a bare stem give ponytail palm delightfully dramatic and contemporary appearance. Very slow-growing, this plant is perfect for tabletops. It thrives in medium light and stores water in its thick trunk. Ponytail palm can survive for extended periods without water.

Sago Palm

Cycas revolata

Feathery, dark green leaves on top of a short stem give sago palm a texture-rich appearance. Often wider than it is tall, sago palm has a pronounced tropical appearance and is at home in all kinds of design styles thanks to its bevy of texture. Grow it in bright to low light and water it only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch, as it doesn’t tolerate wet soil.

Credit: Kindra Clineff

ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia

The dark green, glossy leaves of ZZ plant make some people mistake it for a plastic plant. The waxy leaves are not only part of the plant’s beauty, but they also contribute to its ease of growing. The leaves seal in moisture, making ZZ plant tolerant of dry conditions. Grow it in bright to low light and water it when the top of the soil is dry. ZZ plant is one of a few plants that doesn’t need natural light—it’ll thrive just fine under fluorescent lights. Do you have an interior office? ZZ plant is perfect for you.

Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata

A decade-old favorite houseplant, snake plant is especially popular today thanks to its bold, upright leaves that exude a modern vibe. Call on this slow-growing plant to add beauty and form to a tabletop or use a large plant to anchor the corner of a room. Snake plant grows well in all types of light and is not demanding when it comes to water. Water plants when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.

Credit: Kindra Clineff

Chinese Evergreen


Sporting patterned leaves that are splashed or speckled with silver, gold, red, or cream, Chinese evergreen is at home in all decor styles. Young, small plants are perfect for desktops while larger plants are well-suited for growing on the floor. Exceptionally tolerant of low light, Chinese evergreen will even grow in areas with no natural light. Plants do just fine in offices with fluorescent lighting. Water Chinese evergreen when the soil is dry to the touch.

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