House plants that won#8217;t die

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 21, 2008

For the longest time I’ve wanted to add some “greenery” to my home by placing some house plants around.

And, of course, for the longest time the plants that I have brought into my home have either shriveled up into a dried wisp after a few weeks or have died instantaneously because they somehow knew of their eventual fate.

Each of the last two apartments in Charlotte that I lived in had become somewhat of a house plant graveyard, with sad, empty pots and brown stems sticking out of the arid dirt. All I needed was a grave stone or a memorial honoring those who had lost their lives.

I know it sounds pitiful and it really was, but unfortunately I didn’t think much of them between my online courses, internship and part time job.

So after the last plant bit the dust—er, dirt, I decided never to try and care for another house plant again. Heck, I even decided not to let another one cross the threshold.

But this all changed as I relocated to the Roanoke-Chowan area. A few months ago, I once again wanted to fill my house with plants.

At that time I was expecting my aunt and uncle from New York and I wanted to make a particular table in my house to “pop.” After a quick trip to Wal-Mart I decided on an African Violet, with pink blooms and fuzzy leaves.

Though it was a plant I did not have success with in the past, I decided to give it another go around. I remembered how my grandmother had them around her house and they seemed pretty easy to care for.

After getting the plant home, I replanted it into a larger pot left over from my plant killing days. As I set it on the table, I wondered exactly what the plant required, how much light it needed and whether it needed a lot of water.

After the visit with my aunt and uncle, I decided to do some research on African Violets. While browsing a few web sites with “how to care for” instructions, I learned violets need quite a bit of light in order to blossom and love smaller pots.

I also learned they are susceptible to root rot with over watering, which explained my bad luck with them in the past.

While researching African Violets, I came upon a list of easy to grow plants, two of which caught my eye.

On the list was a plant called a Zamioculcas Zamiifolia or ZZ Plant.

The ZZ Plant is considered one of the most durable and resilient house plants, withstanding low-light and just enough water. However, if you forget to water it is forgiving.

The ZZ has rubber-like leaves and a sturdy stem adding to its resiliency. Though it does not flower, the ZZ offers a nice touch of foliage to any room.

Another plant that caught my eye was the Peace Lily, also known as the Spath, a continuously flowering plant that is often showcased in offices.

Like the ZZ Plant, the Peace Lily likes low-light environments and can even thrive under florescent lights, hence why it is popular in offices.

The Peace Lily tends to forgive if it’s over watered, though too much water will cause its large green leaves to turn brown.

I’ve since added both the Peace Lily and the ZZ Plant to my house plant collection, and fortunately no “house plant graveyard” has emerged as of yet.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.