"Thrivus Neglectus"

6 Houseplants That Are Really Hard to Kill

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March 2024 Issue
"Everyday Cheapskate" by Mary Hunt

I love houseplants, and boy, do I have some beauties!
The truth is I don't have a green thumb; I just know a few secret tricks and tips that I will gladly share with you.

Only consider plants in what I call the "thrivus neglectus" family, which comes from the Latin root meaning "really cheap" and thrives even under the harshest conditions of poor light and neglect!

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<< Aspidistra
is also known as the "cast-iron plant," and for good reason. This baby can survive any condition, including low light and a dry environment. And it is not ugly.

<< Pothos
comes in many varieties that tolerate poor light and actually enjoy being
left alone.

<< Ficus elastica,
or "rubber plant," likes a cool, dimly lit space. But, if you should happen to set it in a sunny area, watch out. It will grow like crazy, and you'll be searching on the internet for how to prune the darned thing.

<< Chlorophytum comosum,
also known as "spider plant," is tough and does well in low light. It sends out really cool trailing vines.

<< Dracaena,
or "corn plant," is a great choice for hot, dry apartments.

<< Philodendron
likes a medium to low light source and even moisture. It will survive even under the most severe conditions of neglect.


Unlike silk and plastic, live houseplants do require water, and weekly is good. Pick a day, any day, then water your plants on the same day every week. Don't overdo it.

Houseplants need to eat from time to time, but don't think you have to buy them food. I feed mine selected garbage. Caution: While a little garbage is good, more is not better. Go easy.
• Coffee Grounds: Just work used coffee grounds into the soil.
• Eggshells: Crush, then work into the soil.
• Water From Boiling Potatoes and Pasta: Plants love that starch.
• Milk Solution: No, I'm not kidding, but it has to be very, very, very weak. Rinse the empty milk container with water and feed that to your plants. That's how weak it should be.
• Banana Peels: Chop them very fine and mix a small amount into the soil.

Keep the leaves of your plants clean. Dust plugs the pores and prevents plants from taking in the carbon dioxide from the air. A damp cloth once every few weeks will do the trick.

Now about the pets:
Some houseplants are toxic to cats and dogs. Rather than turn this column into a thorough treatise on the who, what, and when of that subject, I would advise pet owners to do their own independent online research before bringing a new plant into the house.

Live plants are an inexpensive way to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere in any living space. As a bonus, plants can improve indoor air quality. And when you select plants that require little or no care, you save yourself time and money, too!

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services.
Mary invites questions and comments at www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living. ©2024 CREATORS.COM

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