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It can be tough keeping plants alive indoors, especially as the dry winter months approach.
But if you can keep them thriving, indoor plants are have all sorts of benefits. Plants can regulate indoor humidity. Norwegian office workers report that having plants at work helps them stay productive and healthy. In Japan, they fight crime: a Tokyo neighborhood dealing with a spate of break-ins planted flowers and saw burglary rates fall 80%.
Even rocket scientists agree: when NASA studied houseplants in the 1980s, the space agency found that they can remove dangerous organic chemicals from indoor air, like formaldehyde, benzene and the industrial solvent trichloroethylene.
Business Insider spoke to New York City plant expert Matthew Schechter, who’s been in the family plant business since he was born.
Here are his top five “idiot-proof” plant picks that are perfect for anyone who lacks a green thumb. None of these plants need to be watered unless the dirt they’re sitting in is dry to the touch. They are built to survive for up to a month without watering.
The Cast Iron Plant is originally native to Taiwan and Japan, but was brought to Victorian England in the 1800s, where it was a status symbol plant for the rich. Schechter said these low-lying bush plants have evolved to adapt to “basically any kind of climate.”
The glossy leaves on this Janet Craig plant are super-hearty. Schechter said one tough Janet Craig plant once lived in a dark closet for two months and it survived to see the light of day.
Interior Foliage Design
Schechter says this one is known as a “workhorse plant” because “not all plants have that big, bushy look, but can tolerate low levels of light.”
The Mexican Ponytail Palm is pet-friendly and used to dry, arid conditions. It can go for two to three weeks without water.
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It’s ASPCA approved as non-toxic for dogs, cats, and horses.