The Houseplant You’ll Never Kill

I’ve always been a houseplant lover. I love the energy they bring into a home and how a plant-filled room has the ability to make you forget you’re even inside. The only problem I have with houseplants is that I physically cannot keep them alive. Even the ones that are supposed to be un-killable, like aloe. I killed an aloe plant, and it makes me sad to think about it.

I TRY to give them the amount of light they need. I TRY to water them as often as they’re supposed to be watered. Still, I must be doing something wrong, because I can’t keep a gosh-darn one of them alive. Except for one kind: philodendron.


Philodendrons are leafy plants that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Most of them can be grown in low light, which is great for me because my apartment isn’t the brightest, but I think the real reason I have such an easy time keeping philodendrons alive is that they can be grown in WATER!

All you have to do is cut the plant just below a leaf (cutting at this location is necessary in order for the plant to root), discard some of the bottom leaves, and place the plant in a container of water!



Pretty soon the plant will root and you’ll have a beautiful, growing, lively houseplant. I love the way philodendrons look in all different bottles and vases scattered around the house. The way the leaves spill out and over the container is just so lovely.



The only maintenance these little guys require is a yearly water change and root trim. The plant you see above has been in water for many months, so you can see that it’s rooted quite a bit. I actually gave the roots a little trim right before taking this photo. There are other plants that can be grown in water, too, like ivy, coleus, and purple passion!


Do you have any advice on keeping houseplants alive? Share, share, share!

Photos by Brigette

More home decor inspiration on BLDG 25. :)


  1. Ha!! I have the same problem; I managed to kill the “cast iron” plant (anything with that name should be invincible *haha*

    I’m gonna go plant shopping this weekend and pick up these little guys! Thanks for the tip about ’em!! :)

  2. I can’t keep plants alive either. I killed a few aloe plants in my day as well as others :( I am, however, doing great with my lucky bamboo as it is growing in only water. I do change the water about once a week or so. But I would love to try this, it seems Krista proof enough lol!!!!!!!!

  3. I love succulents! I’ve had mine for over 6 months now and they’ve grown tremendously! They are super low maintenance and as long as they’re getting good sunlight, they’re pretty impossible to kill. :)

  4. I have exactly the same problem. And I try with a lot of plants, flowers, trees… Unbelievable, everything die.
    I will buy some of these plants, I hope they will survive.

    I also have a non-used room between my neighbour’s appartment and my appartment, which is pretty dark but lovely. Do you think that this kind of plant can survive in half darkness ?

  5. I killed bamboo AND a little succulent. I don’t understand so please give me tips! I will definitely be picking up some water loving plants!

  6. I’m pretty good at killing plants, along with my kitties eating them. I forget to water them or pretty much just forget about them all together. I really wish I had a green thumb because I really enjoy watching plants grow from something tiny to something huge and beautiful. I have always been fascinated with the way plants and trees grow.

  7. Other common household plants that are really low maintenance (require little watering and not too much light) are:
    1. snake plants
    2. money trees
    3. zygo cactus (also known as christmas cactus)
    4. any kind of bromeliad

    a really easy way to kill a plant is by over watering it. a good way to water is to first feel the soil to see how moist/dry it feels and water accordingly. another good tip is to make sure when you water there is drainage. most plants come in plastic planters that have holes in the bottom, which allow for drainage. take your plant in just its plastic planter and water it over the sink, allowing the soil to get really wet, but also allowing the excess water to drain out.

  8. ALSO- you can sometimes revive dead (wilted) plants by soaking the bottom half (the planter and soil) in water overnight

  9. If you get a couple of succulents/cacti and put them in a giant clear glass cookie-jar turned terrarium, you pretty much water them once and then don’t even have to check on them ever again until they outgrow the container. I put one on my porch and it’s still alive, I haven’t touched it in over a year and its lived through this year’s weird Virginia winter!

  10. Try an Arrowhead plant – same family as philodendron. Someone put a cutting on my porch about ten years ago and I stuck it in a vase full of water, intending to plant it after it rooted… except I never got around to it. It’s still going strong in the water and I’ve started several more from it. Well, actually, we got around to planting a cutting last summer and it grew like crazy on our mostly shady front porch. It’s in the garage right now for the winter, near a window and surviving just fine. That’s a pretty easy plant.

  11. Philodendrons also thrive under fluorescent lights, so they’re good for the office. I can return to work on Monday and see how it’s grown toward the light. I think they also help improve air quality. It’s the one plant I don’t kill!

  12. PHILODENDRONS ARE POISONOUS TO CATS! Do not keep as a houseplant with kitties in the house!

  13. A friend gave me a garden planter. Most of the plants have died but, I have a philadendron that is still thriving. It is small and planted in dirt. Can I remove it, wash the soil away and grow it in water instead?

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