House plants are a great gift that can enrich any home, but some can be tricky to look after. Not everyone has the knowledge or time to care for fussy plants like orchids, so we’ve compiled a list of hardy, long-lasting pot plants so you can choose a gift that will survive and keep on giving.
Money plant—for success, prosperity & good health
Money plant, or lucky jade (Crassula ovata), is a very resilient house plant. It’s a succulent plant, meaning it’s hardy and doesn’t need much water. In some Asian cultures, money plants are considered lucky, especially for finances. They are often given as gifts throughout Asia, and in Australia many businesses carry on the tradition by having them as indoor plants.
Christmas cactus—a popular indoor hanging plant
A low maintenance succulent, the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera species) impresses with showy, neon pink flowers in December. It’s a tropical cactus, which means it needs more water than desert cactuses.
Aloe vera—first aid for burns
Another hardy succulent, Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) is handy to have in the kitchen because it can be used to treat burns—including sunburn. It is known for absorbing toxins from the air, although you would need a lot of them to have much of an effect.
Bamboo—the fast grower
Bamboo plants (Phyllostachys species) are easy to maintain and do well indoors because they are shade tolerant. Like most plants, they will grow more quickly given some direct sunlight and a larger pot.
Lucky bamboo—the misnomer
Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) looks a lot like bamboo, but actually belongs to the dragon tree genus. Although it can also be grown in soil, lucky bamboo is often kept in water pots or jars. The water needs to be changed regularly to prevent algae growth, but it’s otherwise low-maintenance.
Peace lily—for flowers all year round
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum species) are shade-loving plants that thrive indoors. Too much direct sun can cause their leaves to go brown. A healthy peace lily will flower prolifically and the plant is also known for its ability to improve air quality.
ZZ plant—for air-conditioned environments
Also known as Black Zanzibar, the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamifolia) has striking, dark green leaves. They are often found in large pots in shopping centres, and big specimens can be expensive because they grow slowly. ZZ plant has been described as the ultimate indoor plant because it is almost impossible to kill. Unlike many other plants, it can even tolerate air conditioning. A ZZ plant might die back if you forget to water it, but it can be revived easily.
Indoor plants can benefit from rotation or a holiday in a shady spot outdoors (full sun can shock them into dropping leaves), so you might consider gifting two plants or even an outdoor plant stand. Remember that some house plants can be toxic to children or pets and are best kept out of reach, for example in hanging baskets.