Plant Parenting Is Hard: 5 Challenging Houseplants

Raise your hand if you’ve killed more than one houseplant in your life. The good news is you aren’t alone. The even better news? Some of those houseplant mishaps could be because of the plants you chose and not because of your thumb color.

Boston Fern

boston fern

The Boston Fern is a popular houseplant. However, if the environment around this picky plant isn’t properly controlled, it starts to drop its leaves pretty quickly, both unattractive and messy.

The Boston Fern appreciates an environment like that of its original home of the tropics and subtropical rainforests. That means warmer temperatures, a fair amount of filtered sunlight, and higher humidity levels. 

While the summertime makes these criteria easier to reproduce indoors, you will need to work hard to satisfy all these conditions once winter hits.

African Violet

african violet

The basic requirements for an African Violet are average room temperatures, maintaining slightly moist soil, and indirect, bright sunlight. Sounds simple enough, right? 

However, while they don’t need anything really out of the ordinary to be happy, what makes these plants hard to keep alive is that they aren’t very forgiving of any missteps we make with them. 

Cold temperatures can be fatal; they don’t like to be overwatered, and if the sunlight is too harsh and direct, that makes them unhappy. Also, soil choice is critical, as the wrong type can be disastrous (there are specific African Violet soils on the market).

Miniature Roses

miniature roses

For anyone thinking that a smaller rose would equate to a smaller amount of work, think again! 

Indoors, you will generally be lucky to get a week of blooming unless you can create a specific outdoor environment inside. This equates to five hours of direct sunlight, proper humidity levels, and good air circulation. It’s doable, but it sure ain’t easy. 

If you want miniature roses, grow them outdoors, and choose other plants for inside the house.

Venus Flytrap

venus fly trap

This is one of the coolest houseplants you can have. Not only do they look really neat, but they are carnivores and eat flies. However, that is also one of the reasons it’s so hard to maintain.

Not only does the Venus Flytrap require a high humidity environment, but it also needs flies. And while you might have a few buzzing around your house, in all likelihood, the only way the plant is going to get enough of them is if you feed them to it directly.



With their large, colorful leaves, I understand entirely why a Croton is a desirable houseplant to have. However, to enjoy and maintain all the beautiful foliage, you will need to put in the work – and don’t expect any forgiveness from the plant if you don’t give it exactly what it needs.

The two things it needs most are higher temperatures and high humidity levels. This means maintaining it in an 18-24°C temperature range and also making sure that there are no sudden temperature changes – which can be fatal.

As for the proper humidity levels, the bathroom is probably the best choice for that. However, many bathrooms don’t provide the amount of good sunlight the plant needs. You see how this one could get tricky.

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Jesse grew up obsessed with movies and so it only makes sense that he graduated from McGill University with a degree in Political Science. He then put that degree to good use with a job at a video store. After that he spent months backpacking around Europe - a continent that he has been back to visit many times since. Jesse is super curious and loves to learn and explore new subjects. For the last 15+ years he has been writing online for a number of different sites and publications covering everything from film and television to website reviews, dating and culture, history, news and sports. He’s worn many hats - which is ironic because he actually loves wearing hats and he has many different ones.