01 April 2019

Easy care houseplants for older people

house plants on a window sill

There are many simple ways to adapt a home in order to make it perfectly suitable for an older person, including installing a straight stairlift or adding a few houseplants around the home. Having a little bit of nature in your home can have a huge positive impact on your health, making plants a great addition to any home of an older person. Often the focus of studies, people have many suggested benefits from living around houseplants, including reduced stress levels, improved attention span and increased pain tolerance. The physical health benefits that have been suggested are reduced blood pressure, fatigue and headaches.

One of the key advantages of having house plants in the home is their effect on air pollution. Poor air quality inside the home can have long-term consequences to your health, this is caused by a combination of factors including toxins emitted from things such as furnishings and detergents, dust particles and carbon monoxide. A study revealed indoor plants absorb any harmful toxins in the air, resulting in better air quality in its surroundings.

One misconception about houseplants is that they’re hard to keep alive, so we’ve created a guide to the best easy-care houseplants for older people.

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistras)

Famous for its leathery foliage, the aspidistras plant is one of the easiest houseplants to maintain. It grew popular in the Victorian era due to how it can survive in cooler environments without direct sunlight. This plant, with dark green long leaves, is often nicknamed the ‘Cast Iron plant’. It barely needs watering or sunlight and appears resistant to harsh temperatures.

We asked Alison from the blog The Blackberry Garden about her top easy-care houseplant, she says: “One of my current plant obsessions are Aspidistras - they are great houseplants for anyone who does not want to constantly fuss over them. They need to be allowed to get quite dry between watering and they don’t need to be in direct sunlight. Plus, they do have really interesting ‘ground level’ flowers which means they do have seasonal interest. There’s a reason Victorian’s loved them so much.”

The Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum)

the devils ivy leaves

The leafy plant, often referred to as the Golden Pothus is almost impossible to kill. This houseplant is perfect for those who want to bring some nature into their home but with minimal effort. This plant is highly tolerant of all light conditions; however, they need to be watered often as the leaves will start to wilt when they’re dehydrated.

Boris from the blog Invincible Houseplants compiled a list of the most resilient indoor plants. We asked what houseplant he recommends for an older person: “Golden Pothos (epipremnum aureum) is a tropical specimen that's hard to kill and purifies the air. It's my first houseplant ever and I still have it after five years. Its beautiful variegated vines give me joy every day, especially the young ones.”

Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)

peace lily in bloom

This beautiful plant can be the perfect way to brighten any corner of your home, they thrive in medium to low natural light. The flower of the peace lily blooms the most when it is exposed to a higher quantity of light. Our tip to keep your peace lily happy is to be careful with how much you water it, they are much more tolerant to underwatering than overwatering as they are able to survive droughts. The study conducted by NASA identified peace lilies as one of the top indoor plants for cleaning the air as this tropical plant can break down toxic gases around the home.

Boris from Invincible Houseplants continues: “I would also suggest peace lilies (spathiphyllum) because their white flowers are simply gorgeous and zen-inducing. They have air purification abilities and are easy to care for. Both lilies and pothos do pretty well in low light and with a weekly watering.”

Peace lilies require only a small amount of attention, and the great thing is that the leaves start to droop when they are in need of water which is an easy way to tell when it needs a bit of attention. When choosing your water lilies’ place in your home, try and choose the warmest spot in your house.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum homo sum)

Arguably one of the prettiest houseplants, the spider plant is a hassle-free way to add some nature to your home. This plant is extremely long-lasting and it’s famous for growing ‘babies’ from tendrils, which you can plant in other pots and grow your collection. These plants love moisture and can survive in direct or low light conditions. A common placement of the spider plant is from hanging baskets, but they can also thrive from grounded pots. You must ensure the roots have a large enough pot to grow and re-potting may be necessary after a couple of years.

A healthy and mature spider plant can bloom small white flowers which add to the long stripy leaves. Although this houseplant is undemanding, they need watering more than most, especially if they are placed in direct sunlight. It is easy to spot when they are in desperate need of water because their usually springy leaves start to droop.

Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria)

mother in laws tongue plant

This sturdy houseplant has become especially popular in recent years as it is a trendy addition to the home because of its decorative appearance and common use in interior design. Mother-in-law’s tongue is not only a beautiful sight for the eyes, but it is also good for your health. This houseplant is another great plant for controlling the air quality of your home with its ability to convert poisonous gases into oxygen.

There are over 70 different species of this plant which all differ in appearance, making them the perfect houseplant for people to focus on collecting. Depending on the species the leaves can range from one to eight feet tall and the leaves can go from dark greens to light yellows. Our tip is to wait until the soil is dry before you water the plant again, as over-watering can kill it. They are an extremely easy plant to keep alive and need little attention, however, they are most healthy when they are placed in indirect sunlight. The mother-in-law’s tongue has strong roots, so make sure you opt for using a sturdy pot rather then a plastic one otherwise the pot will break.