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If you’re a senior who loves houseplants, or the caretaker of an older adult, this blog is for you!

We recently received a touching email letter from a customer. He described a conundrum his older mother is having with plants:

(letter edited for privacy & brevity):

My 99-year-old mother lives in Sacramento near my younger brother. In chatting with him about thoughts for Mom for Christmas, he mentioned that she goes through houseplants quickly. My response was: "Oh my! Forgets to water them?" His response was: "Yes."

This is extremely out of character for Mom's well established green thumb. She grew up surrounded by uncles and grandparents with floral businesses and greenhouses. Mom always had the best-cared-for lawn and gardens wherever she lived, as well as houseplants. 

Mom no longer sees very well, at least the fine details. I found your PlantDocs when I decided to look for something color-changing which might help clue her in that she needs to water her plants.  Healthy and attractive plants were always so important to her, but perhaps that is just one more thing that has become less important as she nears 100 this next summer.


Just because you’re not able to do something you love in the same way you have to give it up! Taking care of houseplants can be a fulfilling hobby for seniors. It's not just looks: ample research shows that plants keep you happier and healthier. 

But how can we make plant care more enjoyable and accessible for older adults? In this blog, we’ll discuss how to pick the best plants for seniors, how to make gardening easier for the elderly, and how to remember to water. 


  • Best plants for seniors
  • Make your plants age-friendly
  • Remembering to water - tips for everyone!


Best plants for seniors

What are the easiest plants to take care of? Here’s our list of houseplants that require minimal watering, little to no maintenance, and tolerate low light conditions. 

Snake plant

Snake plants are some of the most indestructible plants we know of! I’ve seen some flourish in the worst conditions possible. Snake plants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. 

How to care for snake plants

Water only when the soil is completely dry. It’s ok to go for a few days without watering. Make sure your snake plant does not get too much direct sunlight, otherwise it may sunburn. Very optional, but snake plants would like to have their leaves wiped down to remove dust once a month, and be repotted once a year.



Succulents are a type of plant that retains water in their leaves. This makes them able to survive without water for long periods of time. Plus, the leaves come in a variety of pretty colors and textures. Succulents do need at least indirect sunlight throughout the day but can tolerate a wide range of temperatures (40-80°F) and humidity levels. 

Popular succulents that would do great in senior homes include cacti, aloe vera, and jade plants.

How to care for succulent plants

First, make sure your succulent plant comes in a pot with drainage holes. It’s helpful to place the succulent on top of a plate or saucer so that water does not leak out when watering.

Water only when the soil is completely dry. It’s ok to go a few days with completely dry soil. When watering, pour enough so that a little bit of water seeps out of the drainage holes. This shows that the roots are hydrated. Finally, make sure your plant is in indirect sunlight for at least 4 hours a day.


Peace Lily

Peace lilies are beautiful flowering plants that do well in low-light conditions. With enough light, these plants produce off-white flowers starting in early summer and can bloom throughout the year in the right conditions. 

How to care for a peace lily

Water peace lilies when the soil is mostly dry. Avoid putting peace lilies in direct sunlight. While they do not need sunlight to survive, they will only flower when exposed to bright indirect sunlight. Try to keep your peace lily away from cold drafts, as they are tropical plants that do best at 70°F and above.



Like the peace lily, pothos plants are another tropical plant that tolerates low light. This vine-like plant shoots out colorful, smaller leaves that come in a variety of colors and patterns. You can trim the “trailers” of the plant, stick them in water to root, and give them away to friends!

How to care for pothos plants

Let the soil dry out in between waterings. Keep in indirect sunlight or shade. Trim as desired.

Notable mentions of best plants for seniors:

  • African Violet
  • Rubber plant
  • Corn plant
  • ZZ plant
  • Cast iron plant
  • Spider plant
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Bromeliads
  • Ponytail palm
  • Philodendrons


Make your houseplants accessible

Looking to make plant care mesh with your mobility needs? Here are some ways to make plant care easier for seniors:


Elevate Plants

Have plants placed on elevated surfaces, such as tables or plant stands, to reduce the need for bending or stooping. This can make it easier to water and care for the plants without straining to reach the floor. But make sure to not set them too high up, either. Work with your mobility range to find what’s most comfortable for you. Your plants don’t want you to be in pain!


Group Plants Together

Arrange plants in groups to minimize the distance needed to travel while caring for them. Grouping plants also makes it more convenient to water them at the same time. Now, instead of having to remember to water multiple plants around your home, you only need to remember one or two spots. Plus, now your plants will have each other for company!


Install Drip Trays

Place drip trays under the plant pots to catch excess water, preventing any mess and making cleanup easier. That way when you water your plants, you can just let the water hang out in the drainage to evaporate over time. No need to stoop down and clean up! Plus, if you’re pruning the plants, having a bigger drip tray will prevent soil and plant clippings from getting on the floor. 


Use Watering Aids

Look for watering cans with long spouts to reach plants without needing to lift your arms or bend as much. This can make watering more comfortable and less physically demanding. Another pro tip is to get a smaller watering pot so you don’t accidentally make it too heavy.


Choose Low-Maintenance Plants

Stick to low-maintenance plants that don't require frequent care. This reduces the time and effort needed to keep the plants healthy. Check out our recommendations for best plants for seniors above!


Provide Adequate Lighting

Ensure that the area where the plants are placed has sufficient lighting so you will not have to pick up your plants and rotate them. Natural light is ideal, but if that's not possible, consider using adjustable LED grow lights. That you can turn on and off with an easy press of a button or switch.


Remembering when to water

Remember the older lady who “goes through houseplants quickly”? She’s a great example of how even the best plant parents with the most experience can fall into the most common plant care mistake of all: forgetting when to water! 

Both watering too often and not enough can be a plant killer. Fortunately, there’s lots of great plant tools out there that can help, and we use a few of them around our plant shop to keep our houseplants in tip-top shape. Here our best ways to remember to water your plants:


Moisture meter - best!

Plant moisture meters are the best way to know when to water your plants because they track the soil moisture in real time. We use two around our shop: PlantDoc and a digital moisture meter. 



A color-changing and eco-friendly moisture meter, PlantDoc is a great visual cue for plant parents. Instead of relying on numbers, just watch the PlantDoc change color. Unlike most moisture meters, PlantDoc only has to be placed once, and it lasts for 3 - 6 months.

PlantDoc changes color from white to green when the plant is watered, and slowly turns black to white as the soil dries out. For most plants, the right time to water is when PlantDoc turns white. For moisture-friendly tropical and carnivorous plants, simply water when PlantDoc has a little green. Each PlantDoc comes with a watering guide, so you’ll always know what your plants need.


Digital moisture meter

Using electrical currents to read soil moisture, digital moisture meter gives you a reading on your plant within seconds. They’re a great option for plant parents who like exact numbers!

They do need to be placed in your plant every time for a reading. And, unless you want to memorize moisture levels, you might want to write down what numbers you’re looking for for each houseplant. But on the other hand, high-quality digital moisture meters are your best bet for the most accurate reading.

Be wary of cheaper moisture guides like those you can find on Amazon for under $15. While they might look like a bargain, we’ve found that they often die out after a few months. Plus, they’re often harder to read because they use small number dials. 


Finger test - ok

Many plant parents test plant soil moisture by gently poking the top of the soil. While this can give you a live reading of your, it’s easy to be subjective. And it involves getting dirt on your hands, something not everyone wants to experience every day. 


Watering schedule - could be better 

While having a careful calendar of when to water all your plants gets rid of the dirt-on-your-fingers problem, there’s actually a huge drawback that puts this at the bottom of our list. Houseplants respond to many factors in the environment like light levels, humidity, time of year, pests, and fertilizer content, and more. A change in any of these could impact how much water your plant needs. What might be a perfect schedule for a summer week would be downright drowning your plant during the winter months! While a watering schedule can be helpful to keep track of plants, it should be used only in conjunction with one of the other methods above.



We hope you found our plant care ideas for seniors to be helpful! Houseplants are such a precious resource in our lives, and it’s our goal for everyone to express their inner green selves. Do you have any suggestions or questions for us? We’d love to hear from you! You can email us at or contact us.

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