How to keep it healthy: When the trunk gets a little too lanky, Cheng cuts off the top. The lower leaves will turn yellow once new ones grow out of the top no matter how frequently you water them — it’s totally natural. If you don’t like the look, just trim them off with a pair of sanitized scissors.
Honorable mention: The Umbrella Tree (Schefflera Arboricola) isn’t in the same genus as the Mini Money Tree, but it is similarly low-key and whimsical-looking.
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
Why we like it: The Monstera Deliciosa might look like a diva, but it is actually pretty low-maintenance. It won’t drop its leaves if you miss a few waterings, and it’ll be okay if you can’t stick it right in the window.
Who should avoid it: Oakes compared the Swiss Cheese Plant to St. Bernard puppies — you shouldn’t get either if you don’t have lots of room for them to grow. (By the way, puppies and Monsteras are not compatible as the leaves are toxic if eaten.)
When to water it: Especially if it doesn’t get a ton of light, your Monstera Deliciosa won’t be very thirsty. Water it every week or so to keep the soil soft to the touch.
Where it grows best: In nature, swiss cheese plants are forest dwellers that hunt for the best lighting themselves. For that reason, they can grow just about anywhere as long as they have access to sunlight. They don’t need quite as much humidity as other rainforest plants, but you can mist the leaves with water if the air in your home is a bit dry.
How to keep it looking its best: Because Monsteras tend to climb up trees, yours might be happier if you stick a trellis into its soil. “It wants to grow up, so if you could trellis it or give it something to lean up against, you’re probably going to get bigger and healthier leaves,” Oakes says. They also grow aerial roots, which you can clip if you don’t like the look.
Honorable mentions: Because the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma looks and behaves so much like the Monstera Deliciosa, it is often referred to as a Mini Monstera. The Monstera Siltepecana is just as easy-going as the Deliciosa, but it is much smaller, which makes it great for tighter spaces.
Hedgehog Aloe (Aloe humulis)
Why we like it: As long as it gets a lot of really bright light, the Hedgehog Aloe is pretty resilient. “Aloe plants grow in nutrient-poor conditions, so they’re very good at assimilating and holding onto their nutrients,” Oakes says. “They don’t need to be fertilized as much as, for instance, a tropical plant with thinner leaves.” Plus, this spiky plant has a pretty silhouette and can actually produce flowers.