5 Easy Plants I Have Managed to Keep Alive

A departure from the usual book talk to address one of what I like to call the literary triad: books, plants, and coffee. Yep, I’m going to talk about a few of the easy plants I have managed to keep alive on my bookshelves.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably seen quite a few plants in my photos. So, I figured I would write this post to be completely transparent: I’m terrible with plants.

Some easy plants: Grace's plant collection lined up on a windowsill
Close up of monstera leaves
Close up of new monstera leaves unfurling

I’ve owned a lot of plants in my short lifetime. A lot. And consequently, many plants have perished under my care.

I love plants so much — unfortunately, I am not blessed with a green thumb. It’s a rough time. (I write this as I look out into the garden of my partner’s parents — they have true talent, and I am both envious and inspired at once by all the plants thriving under their care. How?!)

Nevertheless, I like to think I’ve learned quite a bit about keeping plants alive. I am absolutely not a plant expert, so don’t take any of the following as advice if you’re, say, trying to bring a pothos back to life. Save that for the dedicated plant bloggers. This post is simply to document my experience and maybe give some plant owner wannabes/fellow plant killers some hope.

As you might know if you’ve read my blog before, I moved to the UK last year. Of course, I had to leave behind my plants with my mother (and I’ve never asked about their fate) and start a new little collection over here.

Being in my twenties, I’m also relegated to potted plants and a windowsill rather than an actual garden. Nevertheless, I soldier on in my pursuit of the perfect indoor jungle. If you’re curious, you can check out my aspirations on my dedicated Pinterest board. Those people have green thumbs.

The Basics of Plant Care

When acquiring new plants, I have a few rules I stick to. First, I tend to stick to the good ole’ green and leafy variety. The purple and red leaf colors might be pretty, but that also tends to signal that they are finicky.

Succulents are the easiest to care for? Based solely on my own attempts to keep them going, that’s a huge lie. I’ve only ever kept one kind of succulent alive (I will show you exactly the one I’m talking about further down), and the rest suffered long, drawn-out deaths. I’ve tried pretty much everything: water less, water more, well-draining soil, direct light, indirect light . . . the list continues. Anyways, I refuse to doom any more of them.

5 easy Plants to Care For

Pilea

You’ve probably seen these guys around before — they are the funky ones with stems sticking out at all angles with one circular leaf at the end. They are sometimes called a Chinese Money Plant.

They love indirect light — be cautious of leaving them in the sun as their leaves can burn rather easily. I tend to water mine when the leaves begin to droop a little.

In full honesty, I’ve killed a pilea before, but the one I have at the moment is absolutely thriving. I’ve even gotten two little baby pileas off it, so I’d say this time is a success.

A small jade plant and a pilea on the windowsill with a candle
Baby pilea plant
A pilea plant

Jade

This is the succulent that has never failed me. I have a smaller one at the moment, and just adopted a larger jade from a friend who is moving. Yay for free plants!

Like I said, I don’t normally go for succulents, but this one is difficult to kill and relatively fast-growing. I only water it once in a while, and that seems to work. Paying attention to the thickness of the leaves helps determine how thirsty they are.

Pothos (all of the types)

The absolute best. Pothos plants are maybe the most basic of the houseplants out there, but do not underestimate them. They might be easy plants to care for, but they will always have a place in my home. These things grow fast, and there are so many variations to choose from — I own two different ones at the moment, but have owned a few over the years — and I would be happy to add more to the collection. Also super easy to propagate — more on that later.

Monstera deliciosa

Another fast grower, and the trendiest of the easy plants on this list. Absolutely worth the hype and I find them so fascinating to watch grow! I get excited whenever I see a new leaf unfurl, which mine does pretty regularly.

Also a great propagation candidate. In fact, mine is a cutting from another mature plant, because it produces those classic swiss cheese leaves with the holes that everyone wants. If you get a younger plant, you’ll have more heart-shaped leaves for a while — they only start to “split” when they are older. Still a gorgeous plant, but an important piece of information to know if you want those iconic leaves right away.

Monstera plant viewed from the top with a new stem
A potted monstera plant and a pilea plant
Close up of small monstera leaves

sensitive plant

Okay, hear me out: This thing is resilient. It is also the coolest plant I own. If you haven’t come across this plant before, know that it is exactly what the name says. Sensitive. It has fern-like leaves, and when you touch them, they close up in a defense mechanism.

As cool as it is, I try not to touch the leaves as it takes the plant a lot of energy to do so, and I’d rather it use that energy on growing nice and strong.

I have nearly killed this guy twice — once when it travelled in the car for two hours and (I suspect) got way too stressed out, and another when I went away for a while and left it with a friend (who felt terrible but shouldn’t because it came back from the grave!). He isn’t in the most gorgeous shape at the moment, but making a valiant effort and looks like it will be back in no time. I read somewhere that the sensitive plant is actually quite invasive in some places? I believe it.

Propagating

Propagating plants is one of my favorite parts of being a plant owner. Basically, it’s the process of taking clippings from one plant and growing them into an entirely new one. Have one plant, and there’s basically no limit to the number of plants you can have with a bit of patience. Propagated plants are also a fabulous gift, if you’re like me and on a very tight budget.

The propagating process can vary, so make sure to look up your particular plant before you attempt it, but the easiest ones in my experience are pothos and monstera.

And that’s basically all my plant wisdom! If you have any tips for others (or more suggestions on easy plants), please share them below!

Wishing you strong and healthy plants,

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