Die Hard Plants You Just Can't Kill

Still convinced you've got plant-killing "black thumbs?" No problem. The following is a list of plants you'd need a stake through the heart to destroy. Go ahead - do your worst. With these troopers you'll finally get the satisfaction of keeping plants alive and thriving. Who knows? You just might become a plant person after all.

Sansevieria The most famous member of the Sansevieria family is the prosaically named Mother-in-Law's Tongue, with its tall, pointy, sword-shaped leaves. But there are many other colorful varieties, and the whole clan is virtually indestructible. Sansevierias like bright light with some sun, but can tolerate shade also. They're drought-tolerant and rarely need repotting. Water them moderately from spring through fall, allowing the soil to dry out somewhat between waterings. In winter, water only every two months. Their Achilles heel: root rot due to over-watering, especially in winter.Spider Plants (a.k.a. Chlorophytum) Spider plants are those grassy bursts of arching leaves and tendrils you often see in hanging baskets. Mature plants put out long, drooping shoots with mini spider plants on the ends. These plantlets look great, but they can also be used to make the world's easiest cuttings - simply snip them off, drop them into a bowl of water for two or three weeks until they sprout roots, then pop them into a pot of soil. You'll be giving away new plants to friends in no time. Spidies are happiest in well-lit spots, but will endure nearly any lighting scenario. Likewise, they prefer heavy, frequent watering from spring through fall, but can survive even the most delinquent parenting. Due to their rapid growth habits, you may need to repot them once every year or two. Sweetheart Philodendrons (a.k.a. Philodendron scandens) The entire philodendron family tends to be tenacious, but P. scandens is the undisputed champ in the face of neglect. A bright green vine with heart-shaped leaves, it will climb and trail nicely in a hanging basket. Indirect light is best, but it can withstand even deep shade, and it loves moist air so much you might consider parking it in the bathroom. Water heavily and frequently from spring through fall, and keep the soil moist but not wet in winter. Propagate by cutting off the tip of a vine (about 6-8-inches) and putting it in water until it roots.Cacti & Succulents Succulents sport thick, fleshy leaves, which can store water. Cacti are one group of succulents; aloe and haworthia are some other common succulents you might try. While it's true that these plants can stand up to pretty relentless abuse, there are some myths we'd like to dispel. Myth: Desert plants like it blazing hot and sunny all the time. Truth: Not all succulents hail from the desert, and besides, the desert gets very cool at times - so don't constantly bake your cacti. Myth: You should drown your succulents so they can stockpile until the next time you remember to water. Truth: Succulents can go for long stretches without water, but soggy roots are their kryptonite - and good drainage is essential. Water thoroughly in spring and summer (with tepid water), but never leave them in standing water for long - pour off whatever they can't drink in 30 minutes. Water very sparingly in fall and winter.

Now go ahead and make their day.

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  • My question is how to kill these freakin things. At first they were cute, then they took over a 20x20 space. I finally got them cut down and some were pulled, but they have an intricate system. I can't use poison (even if there were one that would work) because thee are so many cats in the neighborhood, including mine (and no, cat urine doesn't kill them, it makes them happy. Is there a fertilizer that could work? Too acid or too alkaline? I'm an old lady and not likely to have the stamina to dig down and cut out the rhizomes (?) in 95* humid Florida weather, and I don't have $$ to hire someone to bull doze them. LOL, I guess I need to win the Lottery and move!