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Houseplants for the Forgetful Gardener


Indoor conditions can be tough on plants, especially during winter when low humidity dries out potting soil quickly. To ensure success, look for houseplants that can take periods of drought. And try potting them in large containers; the smaller the pot, the more quickly it dries out.



Most commonly grown outdoors as bedding plants, geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) are great houseplants that flower all year in a sunny window. Look for varieties with red, pink, white, orange, or multicolored blooms. Or choose a scented type with wonderfully fragrant foliage. Regardless, most types hold up well if you miss a watering or two. They do best in bright light and can grow or trail several feet.


Golden Barrel Cactus

Popular in landscapes in warm-winter climates, golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is also a good houseplant. It shows off sharp golden-yellow spines and a fuzzy woollike cap on top of the plant. It’s a slow grower to 1 foot tall that prefers bright light.


Ponytail Palm

Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) produces long, narrow leaves that come from a single point on top of the thick, fleshy stems. These stems store moisture, making this plant an especially good bet if you forget to water from time to time. Ponytail palm can eventually grow 10 feet tall and tolerates low to bright light.

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