Why are some plants more challenging than others?
Although we all try our best, it's inevitable that everyone will kill a houseplant at some point in their lives. However, some are definitely much easier to kill than others, whether that's due to having super demanding care needs, being overly sensitive to their environment or even just being a bit particular about the way they're treated.
Mastering the care of a challenging plant can be very rewarding and also be a great learning opportunity if you're willing to take the leap!
Our Top Challenging Plants:
LITHOPS These succulents, sometimes referred to as 'Pebble Plants', are relatively low-maintenance as a whole. However, if something goes wrong it can be tricky to get them to recover. They're adapted to survive extreme drought conditions, meaning that their water requirements are very low. For this reason, it can be difficult to keep them outdoors (depending on where you live), as too much rainfall can cause them to quickly become overwatered, and they're also very sensitive to seasonal changes. Finally, some Lithops are especially susceptible to mealybug infestations, which can be troublesome to get rid of once they take hold.
FERNS Ferns can be a little temperamental at times. Particularly tricky types include Mickelopteris or Hemionitis cordata, the Maidenhair Fern ('Adiantum') and the Eyelash Fern ('Actiniopteris australis'). These plants can be particularly sensitive to their environment and need just the right setup to do well. This includes, for example, just the right amount of indirect light - too much light can easily burn their delicate fronts, but too little will lead to sparse foliage growth. Likewise, they need consistent moisture and humidity as it's important not to let their root ball dry out.
CARNIVORES Another well-recognized but sometimes tricky plant is Dionaea muscipula, commonly known as a Venus Flytrap. As their name suggests, these plants need to feed on insects in order to survive. Without a sufficient food source, they'll quickly start to look unhappy, but aside from this they also need lots of sunlight, plenty of humidity and just the right kind of acidic soil. If these needs aren't met it'll be difficult to keep this plant thriving.
ANTHURIUMS Although Anthuriums overall aren't necessarily typically labelled as difficult plans, Anthurium Splendidum can be a different story. They're a rare variety with unique-looking textured leaves, however, their super high humidity requirements make them largely unsuitable for the vast majority of households. You need to keep them above 80% humidity at all times, and ideally higher, whereas the average home is only around 30-40% humid (although this of course does vary based on a number of factors).
Examples of some other plants that can potentially pose a challenge are: Hedera helix, Gynura aurantiaca, Muehlenbeckia and Curio ficoides.