5 Super-Hero Plants

5 Super-Hero Plants

Looking for a plant that is tough, handsome, and easy care? The Fantastic Five of Houseplants (aka Plants of Steel) possess super-hero powers. By Karen Weir-Jimerson
By Karen Weir-Jimerson 

Take a look at this super-hero lineup! These plants are durable, real die-hards: aka Plants of Steel. They are able to withstand sun, shade, lack of water, and (gasp!) even the most forgetful indoor gardener. So how do the Fab Five of Houseplants measure up? Take a look!

Ponytail Palm
(AKA Wonder Woman in a Pot)

With a flip of her long tresses, ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) can outperform any plant in your home. Actually a slow-growing tree, ponytail palm will look smashing in any room and won’t overgrow her surroundings quickly.

If plants could talk: “I’m tough and self sufficient, but I never lose my cool: I’ve been known to go without water for weeks. I don’t hold grudges.”

Super-hero qualities: Ponytail palm is easy to grow and likes bright light but handles medium- and low-light spots. Virtually indestructible, ponytail palm stores water in its thick trunk so it can survive extended periods with no water. It’s the ideal plant if you travel a lot or are a forgetful waterer. For best growth, water ponytail palm when the top inch of the potting mix feels dry. Ponytail palm adds decorating POW! to contemporary, casual, or eclectic rooms. She’s a decorating diva on side tables, end tables, or coffee tables. 

ZZ Plant
(AKA The Iron Man of Indoor Spaces)

ZZ plant’s shiny dark green leaves are so sturdy, thick, and waxy and almost look plastic. This is one of the toughest houseplants around, and the ideal choice for low-light areas of your home or office.

If plants could talk: “My formal name is Zamioculcas zamiifolia, but my friends call me ZZ plant for short. I’m what you might call “easy going.” Low light, low humidity, inconsistent watering -- it’s all good…”

Super-hero qualities: This tough customer is a favorite office plant because it doesn’t need to grow in natural light -- just set it under fluorescent lights and it will stay satisfied. ZZ could care less if forget to water him -- he can go for weeks without a drink. He’ll even let you know when you’ve ignored him long enough; he’ll drop a leaf or two to conserve moisture -- that’s your cue to top him off. You can water him more often -- when his soil feels dry, but no harm, no foul if you forget every once in awhile. Add a little ZAP! to any room in the house with ZZ’s upright growing, big-leaf good looks.

Chinese Evergreen
(AKA The Hulk of Horticulture)

If you are looking for big impact when it comes to plants, try Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema). Not only is this plant a big leafy tough guy, he’s also easy to grow and one of the best choice for plant newbies. Chinese evergreen thrives in nearly every indoor condition -- living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.

If plants could talk: “I’m bold and leafy, so if you need to green up a room, I’m your guy.”

Super-hero qualities: This hulk of a plant is tough as nails but has a soft side: its rich green leaves are patterned with silver splotches, splashes, and spots. And occasionally, he sends up calla-lily-like blooms (when it lives in a spot where it gets enough light). Plants tolerate low light but grow well in bright spots. Add some BAM! to every room with Chinese evergreen. Small plants can fit on desks, side tables, and even dining room tabletops. Larger plants can sit on the floor -- adding lush greenery to any room. Chinese evergreen is a well-behaved slow grower so he won’t lose control and burst out of his container. Considering his burly good looks, Chinese evergreen doesn’t take a lot of care: water once every few weeks. You don’t even need to fertilize, but if you want to, once a year in spring or summer will keep him green and mean. 

Snake Plant
(AKA The Superman of Sansevieria)

Most snake plants have stiff, upright, sword-like leaves but some are cylindrical. They also come in a wide range of looks -- some are banded or edged cool colors such as gray, yellow, silver, or gold.

If plants could talk: “I’m an old-school super hero and can take any amount of abuse: little watering, low light -- and I maintain my handsome good looks without any pruning.”

Super-hero qualities: Snake plant is loved by decorators because of its architectural shape and growth habit. It’s a slow grower, and keeps its attractive boyish charm for a long time. Snake plant is adaptable: he’s a natural for contemporary interior design, but looks at home in formal or casual surroundings. Add WOW! to any room; snake plant tolerates low light, also loves bright conditions. Overwatering is this plant’s kryptonite, so be sparing with your watering can.

Sago Palm
(AKA The Cat Woman of Houseplants)

Talk about nine lives! Sago palm wins the longevity award; essentially this plant is a living fossil, dating back to prehistoric times. Surviving thousands of years has taught Sago palm a few survival tricks. In warm climates, this beauty is a popular landscape plant. As a houseplant, this miniature exotic tree has a thick trunk-like base.

If plants could talk:
“I’m as old as the dinosaurs, but I’m still look fresh and lovely in your home. Warning: I am prickly and can be toxic to pets and humans, so set me out of the reach.”

Super-hero qualities: Sago palm isn’t technically a palm (it’s a cycad), but its mature trunk-like form topped with spiky fronds makes it appear like it belongs in the palm family. Sago palm bears attractive dark green stiff leaves that appear more feathery than they feel. Set this plant on a table indoors and WHAM!: instant tropical flair. Sago palm isn’t a prima donna when it comes to light; she loves it all: low, medium, or bright. But if this super hero plant had her preference, she’d pick medium to bright spots. Sago palm is a no-nonsense toughie and needs little water (in fact, overwatering this beauty is a no-no).