Indoor Plants for the Black Thumb - Lollipops & Laptops

Graphic via Love the Garden

When I say I’m not a green thumb, I can’t stress it enough. I kill plants faster than they die naturally. How long is a bouquet of flowers supposed to last? More than two days? Could have fooled me. I’m not really into plants, except for the whole life-giving-oxygen-provision thing. So I have happily gone about my life without them inside my house. I tried to get some fake stuff, and to be fair, I’ve recently happened upon a few decent-looking items here and here. But I started to look around our house and feel like it was looking a little, well, dead.

My colleague recently gave me a little potted bamboo plant, and after a few weeks of successfully keeping it alive in my office, I decided it would be a nice addition to the abnormally large counter space behind my sink in the kitchen. I’m happy to report that the thing is still living five months later! My new confidence of keeping living things alive (toddler and baby included) led me to do some research on plants that aren’t high maintenance.

I’m all about practicality, so I decided if I’m going to put effort into keeping anything alive in my house besides my kids, I might as well make them useful. So I focused my research on plants with air cleaning or other good qualities. Thankfully, NASA already did the work for me. Check out my list below for some mean, green, hard-to-kill, poor-air-quality-fighting machines.

Bamboo Palm

Indoor Plants for the Black Thumb - Lollipops & Laptops

These palms do best in full sun or bright light, so choose the brightest area of your house. They can grow up to twelve feet tall, so check with the botanist at your local store when purchasing. You don’t want to end up with a twelve foot tree in a home with a nine foot ceiling. Bamboo palms remove benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from indoor air.

Aloe Vera Plant

Indoor Plants for the Black Thumb - Lollipops & Laptops

Skip the Neosporin and use this for those toddler ouchies. Its anti-inflammatory properties makes it especially useful in a household with kids. Easy on the watering–these plants don’t like standing water. Aloe vera plants remove formaldehyde from indoor air.

Snake Plant

Indoor Plants for the Black Thumb - Lollipops & Laptops

My company uses these in many of our office buildings. They only require occasional watering and some sun, so they’re ideal for indoors. Snake plants remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene.

Garden Mum

Indoor Plants for the Black Thumb - Lollipops & Laptops

I suppose something other than greenery can be nice as well. These pretty flowers are cheap and easy to find at your local garden store. They require bright, indirect sunlight and need watering when the top one inch of soil is dry. For maximum life expectancy on the plant, trim away wilted blooms and leaves. These bad boys are air-purifying pros removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene.

Pretty Pots

If you’re investing in some air purifying plants, you might as well use it as an excuse to buy some cute new pots. I found my local hardware store significantly lacking in cute pottery, so here are some options for better decor in all price ranges. Who says practical has to be ugly?