I hate to say this but I’m terrible with plants. I love them for aesthetic appeal and the beneficial qualities plants can have, yet keeping them alive is a challenge. There are some types that make the best plants for bad gardeners due to their low maintenance.
Don’t get me wrong, I know how to properly care for certain types of plants. My downfall? I have a busy schedule so negligence is the main reason I have trouble keeping them alive. We live in a really warm climate where our summers get pretty intense so it makes it easy for soil to dry out in between watering.
When we purchased our new home last year it had the perfect front yard and curb appeal for a beautiful landscape project. Unfortunately I do not have the budget to hire a professional to maintain my landscape. I had to find the best plants for my lifestyle that could thrive even with negligence.
These plants are great for people like myself that tend to forget to water them frequently. They do need a considerable amount of water to saturate the roots, however they don’t need it as often as other plant species. Their ability to retain water make them easily adaptable to long periods without watering making these the best plants for regions prone to droughts.
There are various species of succulents and are typically characterized by thick leaves. While most species are generally pretty easy to maintain, it’s important to know which ones are the right ones for your intentions.
Succulent plants with bright colored leaves, such as reds and purples, are best kept outdoors. These require more (indirect) sunlight than what they can obtain indoors. If you are wanting to start an indoor succulent garden opt for the natural green succulents.
This may come as a surprising fact because it resembles a palm plant with long feather-like leaves, but it belongs to the Cycad plant species. This plant is a great option for beginners and is favorable as an indoor potted plant. It thrives on minimal water and overwatering can actually cause roots the rot and potentially die. During the hot, summer months watering twice a week is sufficient to keep the soil from drying out. They can receive direct sunlight if kept outdoors or place near natural light indoors.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum)
This happens to be one of my favorite hanging plants. Commonly known as the spider plant, Chlorophytum is characterized by long pointed leaves with shoots that run over and dangle from the pot producing ‘spiderettes’. The leaves are typically green with variations that have white or yellow striping.
This plant is ideal for beginners or gardening-enthusiasts with a brown thumb because they can withstand some abuse and various conditions. They thrive best in well-draining soil and indirect light so they can be kept indoors or outside away from direct sunlight. As hardy as spider plants are they grow favorably to rain water or distilled water as too much fluoride or chlorine from tap water can cause browning tips.
English Ivy – This is a great choice for landscapes because it is easy to grow and care for. English Ivy is often characterized as a great climber due to the nature of its growth of small roots which attach to nearly any nearby surface. The leaves vary greatly in size, shape, and colors. This climbing plant creates a nice appeal when planted along a trellis or provide coverage for unsightly structures.
English Ivy thrives well in organic-rich soil and areas of indirect sunlight. When planting in an area where soil is lacking organic matter you can supplement the soil with compost prior to planting. This makes a great ground-cover around trees where grass is scarce and out of full direct sun.
Garden pansies are very popular among gardeners for their colorful appearance and hardiness to grow and thrive in various conditions. These flowers do well in spring and fall during cool weather, however where I live it’s relatively hot and humid even during these months and mine have continued to bloom. These flowers have one of the broadest color ranges and patterns, consisting of overlapping petals and sometimes characterized as having ‘faces’.
These flowers can be classified as annuals or perennials depending on the climate they’re grown and cultivated in. These are some of the hardiest flowering plants as they can survive frost and bounce back year after year. They grow well in well-draining soil and can be planted in direct or partial sun. If you do live in a hotter climate I suggest partial sun and in a container where they can be moved to a cooler area such as under a covered porch or hanging container.
These flowering shrubs are a highly favored plant for beginner gardeners as well as well-seasoned gardeners alike. They are easy to cultivate and grow even from cuttings. This flowering shrub produces numerous bundles of flower heads in an array of bright colors from pink, white, and lavender to clear blue and vibrant rose. Hydrangeas can tolerate nearly any type of soil. They grow preferably well with full sun in the morning and partial shade in the evenings.
You know it’s summer time when you see Sunflowers. These tall, bright sunny flowers are a suitable option as one of the best plants for bad gardeners who may have a tendency to be neglectful. These are pretty tough annual plants that can do really well in heat and periods of drought. As the name somewhat implies, these flowers are meant for direct sun.
While sunflowers are pretty tough flowers that you can plant and forget it’s also important to note where you plant. These put off a substance that will hinder the growth of other plants so they should be grown as a standalone plant or along a fence.
Roses can be a little intimidating for gardeners that tend to have a brown thumb, but don’t let that fool you. Unlike some other rose species, the Knockout Rose doesn’t need special care in order to thrive. In fact it’s one of the easiest flowers to tend to and one of the most popular rose species in North America. Knock out roses are resistant to disease and very tolerant to intense heat; however, like most plants they will need some protection from intense cold and frost during winter.
Californian Poppy (Eschscholzia)
This is an ancient flowering plant known to produce vibrant flowers. They are really easy to grow in poor to average soil quality in gardens and well-draining pots. They thrive well in full sun, but can grow well in partial shade as well. They’re also very tolerant to dry soil and over-watering can actually hinder their growth. Eschscholzias are also self-seeding plants meaning they will set seeds each year to create new blooms the following summer.
This is a very fragrant flowering plant. Their pleasant sweet fragrance also serves well to deter flies so these would be great to keep around the backyard for pest-free BBQs. Sweet peas tend to be a hardy plant that are easy to grow in a sunny area but they are not tolerant to climates with extreme heat.
They’re known to be great climbers making these a suitable flowering plant to create a border or edge along a fence or for an arch. Sowing the seeds can be a little tricky so inexperienced gardeners may want to just opt for sweet pea plants rather than the seeds. Once these flowers bloom they can be cut for bouquets and the plant will produce even more blooms rather than setting seeds!
Odd Tips for Keeping Plants Alive
Gardening takes time and dedication to ensure your plants are doing well. Some of us, however, don’t always have the time to give special care to the soil or feeding your plants. Even the best plants for bad gardeners can fail to thrive if not given some attention. These are some little-known facts that can help your plants thrive and bring new life if they’ve been looking a little droopy.
Add hair to the soil to provide nutrients! This may sound like an odd tip but it’s true! Human hair contains nitrogen which provides really valuable nutrition to the soil and good soil means healthy plants.
One key to helping most plants and flowers thrive in a garden or container is good nutrient-rich soil. You don’t have to go out of your way to spend money on expensive fertilizer, however, if you have less than great soil. You may have these two things in your kitchen right now that you can reuse to feed your plants – coffee and bananas!
Coffee grinds add nutrients to the soil that help plants and flowers thrive such as magnesium, phosphorus and copper. They also deter snails and slugs to keep them from eating at your plants. Banana peels are also a great source of nutrients as they decompose. So after your morning brew or your go-to breakfast fruit toss these remains to your plants.
If you an abundance of eggs or a carton that’s about to go bad you can use them as fertilizer for container plants. Add 1 whole egg at the bottle of the pot before adding soil or the plant and it will gradually decompose adding nutrients to the soil over time. Another way eggs can benefit your garden is saving your water used for boiling them in. Next time you make boiled eggs, allow the water to cool completely and throw it out in the garden to add calcium to the soil.