The benefits of houseplants are clear. All things being equal, a house full of them has air that’s easier and healthier to breathe and the people inside are more productive and happier. But having kids and plants can be at tricky proposition. Plants can’t run from children the same way cats can. They’re stuck there, to weather the caresses, pulls, and pushes your kid doles out. Some are hardier than others.
That’s why turned to Summer Rayne Oakes, founder of Homestead Brooklyn, the upcoming Houseplant Masterclass, and author of forthcoming book, How to Make a Plant Love You, to find the best houseplants for a house with kids. “You may want to start with some easy-to-care ones that can withstand some benign neglect — or an errant soccer ball coming at them and knocking over their container,” she says, cheerily. “Additionally, it can be fun to show kids how some plants can regenerate easily, including ones they eat — like potatoes and celery. This knowledge can help build further appreciation for plants.” Here, then, are six houseplants perfect for any family home.
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Zamioculcas zamiifolia, or ZZ Plant
The now ubiquitous office plant wasn’t really known outside its native Africa until around 1996, when a bunch of Dutch nurseries began exporting it. But the plant’s easygoing nature — it doesn’t need much light; doesn’t need much water; grows slowly — makes it a perfect starter plant for a budding botanist.
Sansevieria or Snake Plant
Perhaps the most easygoing of all plants and also super cool looking, this spiky-leaved evergreen perennial can tolerate high or low temperature, a lot or a little light, dry or humid air. The leaves are also no pushovers, thick and sharp, they deter small hands plucking them. (The sharpness also gives the plant its nickname, “Mother-in-law’s tongue.”) There are many varieties of this genus but the most common is probably the sanseviera trifasciata. Regardless of the species type, according to a NASA Clean Air study, sansevieria are also champion air purifiers, filtering out four out of five main toxins.
Any one of these 120 species are dope for your kid. They live a long time, so, like a pet, your kid will see them go from bushy shrub to tree-like tree. [They can reach up to six feet tall.] And, like all of these good for kids plants, they’re harder to kill than DACA. There are lots of different styles from tall and thin (Dracaenamarginata) to the wider-leaved Dracaena fragrans. Quick note: If you want your pet to live as long as your tree, don’t let ’em the leaves, which are poisonous for creatures.
Anubias is an aquatic plant that you mostly see in aquaria. But you can grow them in a glass jar of water of too, says Oakes. “It’s great for kids to observe and all they really need to do is help change the water.”
Marimo Moss Balls
Halfway between a Koosh ball and a powder puff, Marimo Moss balls aren’t really moss or plants at all. “They’re actually a mass of algae that look like moss-covered balls,” she says, “They too live in water, and that’s fun for kids to observe. Again, all you need to do is change water out.”
Rose of Jericho aka Resurrection Plant
Even if you’re not trying to indoctrinate your child into Christianity, the Resurrection Plant is just a neat-o keen trick. Like a pack of Sea Monkeys, the plant arrives in a dormant dried out state, looking like a ball of branches. Add just a bit of water, however, and this species of the spikemoss regains its life, unfurling its leaves and developing a rich green color as the days go by.