Indoor plant guide – 5 beginner plants you can’t kill

Indoor House plants guide - beginner plants you can't kill 1

So as you might know, I’m a major plant addict. I’ve loved plants, gardening and everything found in nature for as long as I can remember and have always been fascinated with plants and flowers as a little kid. Aside from my veggie patch adventures outdoors, one of my favourite things to do inside the home is decorating it with indoor plants. I just love the feeling of bringing the outdoors in and blurring the line between the two. Plants bring life to indoor spaces, give it a fresh feel and can also literally clean the air as well! Over the past couple of years, my indoor plant collection has slowly grown and grown. The picture above, only shows a third or quarter of my collection .. oops!

Wearing: Gorman embroidered leaf tee | Assembly Label denim shorts | Bared Shoes Cardinal boots

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Steve Jobs quote print from the lovely folks at Universal Studios

Through trials and experimentations, I’ve learnt that some plants are easier to look after than others. On one side of the spectrum, there have been ones which I have sadly killed (hi, every single fern that has walked inside my door also once, a pilea peperomioides I paid $85 for – how heartbreaking) and then on the other side, there are ones which I have magically kept alive without much effort. Today, I want to share with you my guide for anyone who wants to add some greenery to their home, starting with plants that you just can’t kill.


1. ZZ plant / Zanzibar Gem / Zamioculcas zamiifolia 

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DIY pot made in a pottery class I’ve been attending.. Totoro inspired!

The ZZ plant is one of those plants that thrives on neglect. It’s one of the few plants that can survive in dark corners and only needs to be watered maybe once a month in summer and once every couple of months in winter. My ZZ lives in the darkest corner of my bedroom and I have so far only watered it 4 times in 4 months, yet it seems extremely happy having shot out three new shoots already. Oh and I lie, unfortunately there is a way to kill this plant – by watering it too much. So keep it on the dry side. Trust me, it won’t die.


2. Devil’s Ivy / Epipremnum aureum

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Mr Kitly x Decor self-watering pot

Devil’s ivy was my first ever house plant and the fact that it’s still alive means that it was one easy thing to look after. At home, it’s lived in a medium brightness indirect spot on the top of my shelf with its vines trailing down. I water it every so often when the top inch of the soil is dry and sometimes, I’ll even forget to water it yet it keeps shooting out new leaves. The plant grows very fast in summer, shooting out new leaves non-stop and it is super easy to propagate as well, simply cut about a few leaves worth of stem off the ends, cutting just under a root node and popping it in water.


3. Swiss cheese plant / Monstera deliciosa

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Marbled terracotta pot picked up from Bunnings

Monsteras have been a part of my household for as far as I remember. When I was a child, I used to hate this plant because it was so big and frightening and dare I say, ugly. It eventually actually got so big that my parents had to plant it outdoors and so my first personal indoor monstera was actually a cutting from our old outdoor one. I planted the cutting indoors and it had massive leaves! I wanted something smaller so I eventually bought a small one (pictured above) from a nursery and have been looking after it for about a year now. It’s grown heaps since! Monsteras are quite easy to look after, I keep mine in a bright indirect spot and turn it every now and then to encourage the leaves to sit how I want them to sit (they always face the sun so you can play around and figure out what position turns the leaves how you want them to sit). I water it when the top inch of the soil looks dry and again, it seems like one of those plants that can tolerate an irregular watering schedule.


4. Zebra/prayer plant / Ctenanthe burle-marxii

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Pot picked up from Notre Dame, a Danish homewares store in Copenhagen

I always thought this plant was a calathea but it actually belongs to a related family, the ctenanthe genus. Gosh these plants grow so fast! I originally bought one of these for a friend, who then gave me a cutting from it. I only had it for a few months when it shot out two new shoots so I separated these and put them in another pot. This is one of them. These plants are so easy to look after. It loves indirect light and watering when the top inch of the soil is dry. If the leaves droop, it means it’s thirsty. If you watch carefully, the leaves change direction all the time!

5. Heartleaf / Philodendron scandens

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Kikki-K gold pot plant holder & Kikki-K watering can

My heartleaf philodendron is one of my more recent acquisitions but the speed and ease at which it grows makes me think that it also deserves to be on a ‘plants you can’t kill list’. I treat it much like how I treat my devil’s ivy, having it in an indirect spot and watering it when the top inch of the soil is dry. The leaves just keep popping out and they are so cute, in a dark green heart shape.

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I hope you enjoyed this plant-filled post! Let me know if you’d like to see another one, I have so many more plants to share!

Photography: Rowena Cao & Connie Cao

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  • Reply
    Mike Smith
    March 29, 2017 at 9:31 PM

    great post – where did you get the A frame shelves from?

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      March 31, 2017 at 3:34 PM

      Hey Mike, they’re from Kmart :)

  • Reply
    April | April Everyday
    March 30, 2017 at 8:30 AM

    I love this! I’m always buying new houseplants! I’ve actually got a Swiss Cheese plant, but it’s so feeble in comparison to yours haha! I’ve taken a cutting as my main plant is just starting to look ridiculous now so hopefully the new one turns out a little better! I’m definitely going to be searching for the rest of these plants!
    My favourite is my fiddle leaf fig tree – i’ve had it almost 3 years and it’s still going strong, even after being neglected for a few months hah!
    xo April | April Everyday

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      March 31, 2017 at 3:35 PM

      Thanks April! I think I got lucky with my one, they tend to grow in all sorts of funny directions don’t day. Good luck with your cutting! I’ve had originally heard that fiddle leafs can be temperamental from my friends so I have always shy-ed away from them haha. But I just love them!

  • Reply
    March 30, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    I grew up with a Giant Zebra plant, but I think I prefer the Swiss Cheese Plant now that I’m older. I’m glad to hear it can also tolerate neglect!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2017 at 5:36 AM

    i love your plant shelf/ladder – so pretty! and i’ve always loved gardening and plants as well:-) xx

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      March 31, 2017 at 3:36 PM

      Thanks Laura :) So much fun to be in and amongst green things!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2017 at 10:33 PM

    sp pretty. What is the plant on the top left??

  • Reply
    April 4, 2017 at 10:35 AM

    Definitely saving this post for future reference. My little suite gets so little light sometimes so the ZZ plant would be great for adding some green into my space. I like how you have descriptions on the pots you used too (its all part of the owning plant babies experience!)

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      April 5, 2017 at 10:05 AM

      haha totally! love finding the perfect pot for a plant :)

  • Reply
    Angelee M Butters
    April 22, 2017 at 12:12 AM

    Loved this post! Would like to see more like it, PLEASE :)

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      May 15, 2017 at 3:58 PM

      Will try and arrange quickly !!! ;-) I love writing about plants, actually

  • Reply
    May 5, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    Where do you find these types of plants? My local lowes/Home Depot don’t carry any unique ones. Online maybe?

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      May 15, 2017 at 3:58 PM

      Hello! I buy my plants from local nurseries and private sellers/hobbyists :)

  • Reply
    May 5, 2017 at 8:50 AM

    Do you buy most of your plants online?

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      May 15, 2017 at 3:59 PM

      Never bought a plant online, would recommend local nurseries so you can see the plant’s health in person before purchasing :)

  • Reply
    May 9, 2017 at 6:12 AM

    Are any cat friendly? Our cat eats every type of plant we’ve ever owned, and the cacti he couldn’t eat, he knocked over and killed :( I have a brown thumb when it comes to indoor plants and I can never find an easy to care for plant that my cat will be okay injesting 😜

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      May 15, 2017 at 4:00 PM

      Hey June! I’m sorry I have no experience with cats and plants as I don’t have a cat. But I do know that some plants are toxic to pets so I would advise you checking online before purchasing just in case :) Would hate for your cat to get sick. However that said, I’m sure there are plenty of plants that are suitable for a cat loving household!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2017 at 6:16 AM

    Hey Connie,

    Where is your ladder from?

  • Reply
    slow morning - K is for Kani
    May 16, 2017 at 5:01 PM

    […] you don’t already know, I’m obsessed with indoor plants. I just love the feeling of bringing the outdoors in and living in an indoor jungle. When it comes […]

  • Reply
    June 4, 2017 at 4:08 AM

    This was super helpful! I am wanting to start a “garden” indoors and also on the balcony of my apartment. I’m curious about what the difference is between bright/low light versus direct/indirect light. If it’s outdoors in a covered space does that automatically mean direct? What does a window space count for? How can a plant need indirect yet bright light? I’m just confused by the terms :)

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      June 11, 2017 at 4:04 PM

      Hey Jessica :)

      I’m no expert but if it’s outdoors in a covered space that doesn’t get direct rays, I would be calling it an indirect light spot. Window space – depends on if there is direct rays hitting it. If so it would be direct light, if not it would be indirect. Indirect bright light would just be somewhere where there are no direct rays hitting it, but it is still quite a bright area where you could say, read a book :). Low light would be a pretty dark corner far from a window.

      In my home, the northern facing windows would be giving direct light, and the southern facing windows would have indirect light. Hope that helps a bit!

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