Whether you’re away on business a lot, or you frequently visit family throughout the year, it can be hard to keep fussy plants alive when you’re away from home. Thankfully, there are plenty of suitable houseplants for frequent travelers.
My house is starting to resemble a jungle these days. I’ve been adding greenery during the pandemic because it feels comforting to bring the outdoors in, for some reason. While I’m not heading off on vacation anytime soon, I’m well aware of the challenge involved in keeping plants alive while away.
What to look for
When picking low-maintenance houseplants, there are a few things to consider, including:
- Light requirements. Chances are that if you’re traveling often, you’re not leaving your curtains open. You should choose plants that are tolerant of low-light conditions.
- Water requirements. Don’t pick plants that need daily watering if you’re someone who is away from home a lot. Choose species that don’t mind (and even prefer!) if the soil dries out.
- Disease-resistant. If you’re away often, you might not spot problems like pests and diseases early enough. Avoid these issues right off the bat by opting for disease and pest-resistant varieties.
- Toxicity. If you have pets, always check whether a plant is toxic before bringing it into your home. Someone who stays in your home with your dog may not realize the plants are poisonous. Likewise, if you ask someone to feed your cat every day, your kitty, when left alone, might enjoy a harmful nibble.
Best plants for frequent travelers
Here are my picks for top houseplants for frequent travelers.
Cacti and Succulents
This is a grouping of plants that require very little TLC. In fact, being away might actually a plus for these oft-spiky and plump plants. Neither needs much water, and overwatering can even cause deadly root rot. Your time away is likely to be beneficial to your relationship.
This is a notoriously easy plant to care for. It grows quickly, looks great in a tabletop or hanging container, and doesn’t mind a bit of shade. The plants also produce “babies,” which you can re-pot for more spider plants!
I have had a heart leaf philodendron in my kitchen for five years now. I often forget to water it for weeks on end, and it never seems bothered by my neglect. It’s a lovely low-maintenance plant that looks gorgeous in a hanging planter.
This is one of my favorite plant varieties. Snake plants are such a visual marvel. They don’t mind low light conditions, and they’re very tough to kill. Don’t worry about not watering for a few days or weeks, these sturdy plants can handle it.
These cute lil’ plants are easy to maintain and come in a variety of textures and colors. They don’t mind low light spaces, and they prefer for their soil to dry out between waterings. In fact, I killed my first peperomia because I overwatered it! Most of the houseplants I’ve murdered have met their end because I was overzealous with watering. Oops!
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.