I’m embarrassed to admit this, but full transparency is what we offer around here.
My life has been chaotic over the past few months. Between traveling, family weddings, my oldest preparing to leave the nest, and a lot of other life events, my garden was left to survive without much help from me.
If you all had driven by my house, you would’ve seen the yard being mowed, but I didn’t tend to the soil as I normally would before planting, the weeds weren’t tended to as I normally would, and to be honest, I didn’t feel guilty about it.
This is life. We have busy seasons and seasons where we have more time. Therefore, I base my garden and other plants around what season of life I’m in.
Thankfully, I’ve learned which plants can handle being left alone and still produce. I’ve also learned which to avoid during my busy seasons of life.
Whether you’re busy, have the farthest thing from a green thumb you can imagine, or you’d like to only dabble in raising plants, I have you covered.
Here is a list of hard to kill plants, both indoors and out:
Hard to Kill Plants in the House
I love having plants in my house, but I have cats who like to eat everything I bring in. I need durable plants that can handle being roughed up by 2 fat cats, survive when farm life calls, mom-duty is intense, or I don’t have enough hours in the day.
Here are the plants I turn to:
If a cactus can survive in the desert, it can survive in a busy person’s home. They require little water and aren’t particular about soil conditions.
An even brighter side to having succulents in your home is how gorgeous they are. They come in a variety of colors and can liven up your home with little effort.
2. Cast-Iron Plant
Does your home not have enough light for growing plants? Or, on the flip side, do you have an area in your home which is too hot and cooks plants?
The cast-iron plant should be your plant of choice. It thrives in either low or high light. Plus, if you live in an area (like I do) where the temperatures can go from hot to cold overnight, these plants can handle riding the wave.
3. Rabbit’s Ear
I’m a fan of rabbit’s ear because they add a modern touch to your home and look rather cute. The dark spots on the tips of the plants along with the fuzzy leaves make the plant seem cuddly.
However, the cuteness of the plant is also practical. The hair on the leaves helps the plant retain water which keeps it watered for longer periods and makes evaporation more difficult.
Do you wish to grow a plant that will take care of itself and save you money on your growing efforts? The jade plant is for you.
Not only do the leaves store an abundance of water, which lessens its dependency upon you, it also easily reproduces into more plants by dropping leaves in the soil. You can buy one plant and end up with an abundance if you choose.
5. Rubber Plant
The rubber plant is what you commonly see in office settings, but it can be used around your home to add some warmth to a room.
However, there’s a reason the rubber plant is a choice for office settings. The plant retains water well and prefers to be fully dried before more water is added. This is the epitome of a low-maintenance plant.
Aloe is an extremely useful plant. It’s filled with a gel that is beneficial for a natural skincare routine and is wonderful at soothing burns.
However, what puts aloe over the top is how little attention it requires. You should only water the plant once or twice per month because it too prefers fully dry soil before being watered again.
The best house plant I’ve ever grown was a philodendron. There are many varieties, all of which are hardy and they’re beautiful in your home. They can make great hanging baskets, or can even be used as a natural fence when allowed to grow up a trellis.
What puts this plant over the top for me is you only water it when it’s dry and rarely must switch out the pot. It gives you a great deal of beauty but expects little from you.
8. Snake Plant
My sister travels a good deal with her job, but she likes for her home to still look (and feel) like a home when she’s there.
If you share the same feelings, the snake plant is a great way to give your home a welcoming feeling with little effort. The plant only needs to be watered a few times a month, and it thrives when you leave it alone.
9. Spider Plant
My mother-in-law loved plants that were easy to propagate. She wanted to spend as little money as possible but have plenty of plants.
A spider plant is an excellent choice if you share the same goal. It creates pups that allow the plant to easily multiply by placing the pups in soil. It also requires little care beyond watering a few times per month.
Hard to Kill Plants – Fruits
You may have been under the impression fruit plants require a lot of work. They do need to be well cared for when you start to grow them.
However, once they’re established, they’ll produce without much help from you.
Here are the fruits which are great during a busy season:
1. Fruit Trees
When fruit trees are well established, they take care of themselves in most cases. There’s little need to water or fertilize them. If you fail to treat for bugs, it’ll obviously harm your harvest. Pruning is a good idea for most years as well.
However, if you have a busy season where you can’t do it all, pick what you can, and leave the rest until life slows down. They’ll be there for the next growing season and hopefully, you’ll have more time for proper care.
I’ve already mentioned how busy my year has been. We ran out of time to prune this year. I know (gasp!) I’m the worst homesteader ever!
No, I’m simply a real person. Though my schedule was busy, I still received a bountiful harvest from my blueberries. I picked when I could, had enough to fill my freezers, and I’m making plans to catch up this fall. Your world doesn’t have to stop because of your blueberry plants.
When strawberries are well established, if you take a few steps to make them self-sufficient, they’ll forgive you too if you get busy during their growing season.
The biggest issues with strawberries are disease and weeds. If you can take steps to avoid weeds and check your strawberries occasionally to make sure no disease is taking over, they should do fine without constant care for a season.
Our blackberry bushes were established when we moved to our property. I normally baby my property, but you know, life happens. They didn’t quit producing because I was falling behind. Instead, I picked when I could and filled my freezer.
Once they’re established, they don’t need watering unless you’re in a drought. Pruning is a good idea, but if you miss a year, it isn’t the end of the world. Berry bushes are the type of plants you hope to have when you’re in a difficult or busy season of life.
Grapes don’t produce any stress in my life. They make our property gorgeous but require little care. We prune them every year and take steps to keep bugs away, but beyond this, they’re low-maintenance crops.
Hard to Kill Plants – Vegetables
We’ve discussed perennial fruits and houseplants, but what if you wish to grow a traditional garden? Are you feeling concerned because of your schedule or lack of experience?
Here are the crops which will forgive you if you fall behind in your gardening efforts:
As long as the temperature is cool enough outside, lettuce will grow. You shouldn’t face many difficulties receiving a harvest from your crop.
However, make sure you take the proper steps to keep moisture in your soil and thin the lettuce plants out to give them room to grow. Leaf lettuce would be the best option to grow for the least amount of maintenance.
You must thin the carrots out when they begin to grow, but if grown in proper soil, they’ll be able to go longer between watering sessions and should still produce a harvest even if you get too busy to care for them as you intended when planting.
This is full transparency here. My potatoes proved to me this year, they don’t require a great deal of work. Between traveling and too much rain, I didn’t get to hill them once.
The funny thing is, when we harvested them, we had low expectations. Much to our surprise, we received an amazing harvest. I won’t make this my new way of raising potatoes, but I’ll say, if you plant potatoes and life happens, they’ll most likely forgive you.
Squash plants are big producers. It doesn’t take many plants for you to be overrun in them. This makes them a great choice for most gardens.
However, they’re also a wonderful choice because of how little maintenance they require in a proper grow-setting. If they receive adequate water and are planted in nutrient-rich soil, they should do fine. Bugs would be the greatest risk if you aren’t able to care for them on a regular basis.
Do you need a low-maintenance vegetable which will produce in a hurry? Radishes are what you should be planting.
They’ll produce a harvest in as little as 45 days and require little maintenance from you. Taking the time to thin the plants out is wise to ensure they have room to grow. With proper watering and space, your harvest should be fantastic.
6. Cherry Tomatoes
In my experience from this previous growing season, cherry tomatoes will take a great deal of abuse before they die. I grew cherry tomatoes in a bucket this year.
However, they became one more plant to water when I was away from home. These tomatoes could go days at a time without water in high temperatures, and they still produced an amazing harvest.
7. Jalapeno Peppers
As long as you have a sunny location to plant them, can provide quality soil, and water them occasionally, you should have thriving plants.
The only drawback to green beans is they must be picked regularly. If you leave them on the plant for too long, they become tough. Some people prefer eating them when they’re larger and have a tougher exterior, but this will all come down to preference.
There are a variety of different green options. Some of the most popular types are turnip and mustard. Regardless of which you prefer, they’re easy to plant and care for.
Where the seeds are smaller, you basically cast them out on fertile soil. Be sure to water them occasionally and pick when mature.
Hard to Kill Plants – Herbs and Flowers
Our last stop on the ‘hard to kill plants tour’ is flowers and herbs. This is going to be a brief general overview of my experience.
In general, if you plant perennial flowers or shrubs, they’ll make it without a great deal of care once established.
Perennial flowers should be cut back and covered with mulch when cold weather hits. However, if you’re receiving adequate rainfall, they shouldn’t require an abundance of care on your part.
Proper mulching will also reduce your responsibility because it’ll help contain moisture and reduce weeds.
Herbs are another amazing low-maintenance variety of plants to grow. In my experience, with proper mulching, weeds can be greatly reduced in your herb garden.
The mulch also helps maintain proper moisture which reduces your workload as well. If your herbs bolt, and you’re busy, let them go.
I usually become swamped at the end of summer, preserving food and preparing for my children to return to school, and my herbs will bolt at some point.
This is a great thing for me because I leave them. The seeds drop, and I end up with more herbs each passing year.
I no longer plant annual herbs because their seeds fall into the mulch which protects them over our mild winters.
You now have a variety of hard to kill plants. They’re great to grow during busy seasons, they’re forgiving if life happens in the middle of the growing season, and they’re wonderful for a beginner gardener.
Whatever your reason for needing to grow durable hard to kill plants, this list should be a great starting point for you.