DESTINATIONS
EXPERIENCE
DESTINATIONS
EXPERIENCE
The best houseplants? The ones that are still alive when you come home from a trip. Photo of Sentral Union Station by James Baigrie.

The Flex Life: Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants That Will Survive Your Absence

BY SUZANNE DAVIS
Lush, leafy plants are practically Instagram-required. (Proof:
#cactus
has been hashtagged more than
#Kardashian
, at 18.4 million times). But if you’re constantly on the road or
living the dream as a digital nomad
, how do you keep their exultant beauty alive between globetrotting stints? 
“Having fewer, bigger plants is better for a traveler than a bunch of little pots up in a window,” says Michael Williams, Vice President of Development for Sentral and a de facto plant expert. “The smaller the pot, the quicker they dry out, because they’re not as stable. Large pots distribute water well and drain well. If you like plants, go spend the money and get big huge plants; you only need two or three.” 
Low-maintenance indoor plants are also perfect if you’re planning to
homeshare your place
. Not only will they brighten up your space, but you won’t have to leave little notes begging your guests to water and feed them. 

The Best Low-Maintenance Houseplants

Here are six nearly unkillable low-maintenance indoor plants to know and love. They’ll help
make your apartment as lively as you are
. We give them all two (green) thumbs up.
Meet the green team. From left: snake plant; air plant (photo by Jeff Sheldon); Monstera (photo by Kara Eads).

SNAKE PLANT

These graphically leafed lovelies — known in Latin as Sansevieria trifasciata and also, hysterically, as
mother-in-law’s tongue
— thrive on abuse. “They’re one of the easiest plants to maintain,” says Katie Dubow, a representative for
Plants.com
. “The striking sword-shaped leaves add height and a modern designer feel.” And they almost define the phrase set it and forget it. Water them just once a month with good drainage, and they can grow to several feet tall. Did we mention that NASA scientists say the snake plant can remove everything from toluene to formaldehyde from your air? Win, win.

AIR PLANTS 

Okay, so these otherworldly epiphytes (a.k.a. plants that grow on other plants in the natural world) kind of look like they were tailor-made for a Joshua Tree photo shoot. But
air plants
(Tillandsia) can bring that same sense of
stylish, sun-swept swagger
to any urban high-rise. Plus, they don’t even need soil to live their best lives; just submerge them in water for half an hour every couple of weeks, and keep them in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. 

MONSTERA

When Curbed called Monstera deliciosa
the very best houseplant
,” aesthetes aplenty nodded in agreement. “Their leaves are very sculptural, and they’re very low-maintenance,” Williams says. “They don’t take much water, and you can neglect them. But at the same time, they feel very tropical and lush.” This artful herbage appreciates indirect sunlight and a deep watering every two weeks — once it’s had time to thoroughly dry out.
Love ‘em and leave ‘em. From left: Aloe vera (photo by Kim Schouten); parlor palm (photo by Dominika Roseclay).

ALOE VERA

Yep, the same plant whose calming goodness you slather on after a sunburn is as easy-going as an afternoon at the beach. Like its cactus cousins,
this succulent
(Aloe barbadensis miller) doesn’t ask for much: just indirect sunlight and infrequent watering. We’re talking every three weeks in spring and summer, and even less in the chilly winter months. 

PARLOR PALM

A staple of painfully hip coworking spaces for good reason, these tropical beauties (
Chamaedorea elegans
) are native to the Guatemalan rainforest. But if you think you need to live in a misty abode to get them to look their best, think again. “Palms are slow-growing and need very little water,” Dubow says. “They thrive in bright, indirect light. Their texture will bring pop and design to your entryway.”

ARTIFICIAL PLANTS

Honestly? These days, there’s no shame in turning to truly unkillable
faux houseplants
— they've become so lifelike lately that you can’t really tell they’re fake unless you touch them. Interior designers are placing the silken stunners, from lemon trees to rhododendrons, in some of the world’s most glamorous houses. Just don’t forget to dust. 

NOW THAT YOU’VE CHANNELED YOUR INNER MARTHA STEWART, GET YOUR GREENERY-BEDECKED SPACE INTO SENTRAL’S MANAGED HOMESHARING PROGRAM. DEFRAY YOUR RENT WHILE YOU EXPLORE THE GARDENS OF THE WORLD.
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