Drought Tolerant Houseplants – 3 Houseplants For Forgetful Waterers

By Raffaele DiLallo | September 16, 2020
by Raffaele DiLallo
September 16, 2020

Not all houseplants are created equal. Some are so finicky that you need to almost stand on ceremony to make them happy, and yet others seem to thrive on neglect. How much easier would our lives be if we only had the latter! The most important part is knowing what houseplants fit your own lifestyle. If you can do this, you will enjoy your hobby more and also be more successful.

No Time for Watering Houseplants

If you are pressed for time, don’t want to spend much time watering, or are away from home for long periods of time, there are many houseplants that can take neglect and go long periods without watering. 

Before I talk about these plants though, let me set one thing straight. “Neglect” doesn’t mean that you can place a plant in a dark corner and abuse it. By neglect, I’m talking about watering. There is a difference! Many people will think that just because a plant is tough, you can abuse it all you want. Plants have limits too.

With that said, here are my top three choices for houseplants that need little water:

ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas zamiifolia

This is truly an amazing plant. It is tolerant of low light and can go without water for very long periods of time. I know someone that would water her large ZZ plant once a month and then forget about it. Although I’m not one to preach a watering schedule, this worked for her. The important part for this plant is to water thoroughly (like ANY plant), but you should let it dry out completely before watering again. Once it is dry, you can even wait a little longer. It won’t care! 

These plants will also tolerate lower light, but always do better if you can place these in front of a window. Bright indirect light works well, and some morning sun would be beneficial to keep the growth strong. 

Air Plant – Tillandsia xerographica

This is a type of air plant (which is part of the Bromeliad family), and when it comes to watering, I suspect that these plants almost think they are cacti. Many other types of air plants come from areas with a lot of rainfall. Tillandsia xerographica come from much more arid regions so they tolerate drought very well.

Mine easily go for weeks without watering. Of course, if you do this to many other types of air plants, they will dry out and die. These plants do well in bright light. Even half a day of sun would be beneficial. You can soak them in tepid water for 15 minutes to water them. Then go ahead and give it a good shake to dislodge excess water out so it doesn’t rot. Finally, I like to let them dry upside down and then place them back in front of the window. 

Snake Plant – Sansevieria

One of the most ubiquitous plants, this genus has plenty of different species and varieties to please anyone. Follow the same care that was described for ZZ plant. You can neglect these for quite a long time.

Although snake plants are touted as “low light” plants, just remember that this doesn’t mean that they NEED low light. It simply means that they tolerate it. They will be much happier if they are close to a window. They will even enjoy some sunshine.

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