5 Houseplants So Hardy They Would Even Grow On The Death Star

Don’t let a lack of direct sunlight (or an atmosphere) keep you from living with nature.

December 8, 2017
storm trooper watering houseplant
Jeffrey Hamilton/getty

Just because you don’t have a big, sun-facing window doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to growing plants indoors. All you have to do is choose a little more carefully, says Karl Gercens, a horticulturist at Longwood Gardens

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Here are our suggestions for plants you can grow successfully in low-lit rooms, including those rooms that exist only on the death star. 

cast iron plant
Dugwy/getty
For the stormtrooper barracks

The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), a member of the philodendron family, is ideal for places where the sun never shines. Gercens says that with proper care, it can even thrive in low-light rooms with only a little supplemental lighting. “The most important thing is to not overwater it.  The thick stems are a water-storage mechanism to help it get through seasonally dry times.”

Related: 7 Reasons Your Houseplants Keep Dying

snake plant
DAJ/getty
For the officers' lounge

Also called mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is bold and architectural. Gercens recommends it because there are so many cultivars to choose from with interesting leaves in a variety of colors and heights, so you’ll be sure to find one that suits your décor. But he cautions that overwatering is a certain death sentence for snake plant. “Be sure to let the plant dry slightly to the touch between waterings, and never let it sit in a pan of water.”

If you can't find fresh water on the death star, use these other liquids to water your plants:

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kentia palm
Gabor Geissler/getty
For the control room

There are lots of palms you can grow indoors, but according to Gercens none of them can top the kentia (Howea forsteriana). Proudly display this plant where everyone has a chance to see it. Just make sure you find the real deal, not another palm that looks similar. Gercens explains that you can find lots of cheap palms, like the majesty palm, at big-box stores, but they’ll surely lead to pest problems down the road. “The kentia is certainly more expensive than any other palm you can choose, but it’s worth it. It resists pests and keeps its elegant look far longer,” he says.

Related: 10 Low-Maintenance Houseplants You Only Have To Water Once A Month

African Violet
Robert_Horvat/getty
For the prisoners' quarters

African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) is a small plant with soft leaves and petals that comes in a variety of colors. It’s just the thing to add a spot of cheeriness to a dark and depressing room, since it doesn’t need a lot of light to bloom. “If you can provide artificial light to these plants inside a warm home, you may get nonstop blossoms,” Gercens says.

chinese evergreen
Elizabeth Fernandez/getty
For the garbage compactor rooms

“What a wonderfully leafy texture this provides to an indoor landscape,” Gercens says. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum) is a bushier plant with leaves of green to silver. It prefers warm, humid air, so Gercens advises placing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles. “The evaporating water from the pebbles will humidify the surrounding air,” he explains. 

Related: 10 Hardy Houseplants Anyone Can Grow With Ease