Indoor plants are very convenient and aesthetically pleasing, but they sadly don’t live forever. No matter how much you care for the plant, it will inevitably die. But how long do indoor plants live?
Most indoor plants live for around two to five years, but some indoor plants can live for decades with the proper care. Many factors determine how long indoor plants can live, including the type of plant (annuals or perennials) and the kind of care you afford your plant.
The rest of this article will go over the various factors that determine how long indoor plants live and give seven examples of the most popular indoor plants and how long they live.
Factors That Determine How Long Indoor Plants Live
Although most indoor plants typically live around two to five years, this usually isn’t because that’s the plant’s lifespan. Indoor plants can live much longer if they have the proper care. Many plants can technically live for several years, but they won’t live as long outside their native habitat.
While indoor plants typically have a lifespan of 2 to 5 years, this is not necessarily due to their actual lifespan. If they receive proper care, they can live much longer. However, it’s important to note that although many plants have the potential to survive for several years, they may not live as long outside of their natural habitat.
Still, there are many plants that complete their life cycle in one season (or more within the same year) and produce seeds before they die to ensure the survival of the species.
In the following sections, I’ll review the factors affecting indoor plants’ longevity.
Annuals vs. Biennials vs. Perennials
The difference between annuals and perennial plants is crucial when determining how long your indoor plant will live. There are three types of plants: annuals, perennials, and biennials.
I’ll go over each of these types of plants, what they mean, and some examples below.
If you have an annual plant, don’t expect it to live for years. Annuals only live for one year, and then they die.
Many annual plants will complete their entire life cycle in just one season. This process includes going from a seed to a flower to seed again within a few months. And unfortunately, the plant will die at the end of the season.
Some indoor annual plants include:
- Paper plant
- Glory bower
Biennials differ from annuals in that they live for around two years or two seasons. During the first season, you’ll notice this plant grows from a seed into small leaves near the soil. Then, the stems will elongate during the second season, and flowers will sprout. And the plant will die after the second season.
Some indoor biennial plants include:
Lastly, there are perennial plants. Unlike annuals or biennials, perennial plants come back every year, and most indoor plants are perennials, as many can continue to thrive year-round with the proper care.
Some indoor perennial plants include:
- Spider plants
- Aloe vera plants
- Peace Lilies
- Golden pothos
Type of Plant Species
Although the type of plant is essential when determining how long a plant will live, the species of the plant is just as important. Some plant species are genetically predisposed to have shorter lives than others—it’s just in their makeup. However, the type of plant (annual, perennial, etc.) goes hand-in-hand with this.
For example, some of the longest-living indoor plants include:
- Cacti or succulent plants
- Devil’s ivy
- Air plant
So, if you’re looking for an indoor plant that should live for a very long time, you must research and ensure the plant you choose has a longer lifespan.
Keeping up with the general care of your plant is necessary when it comes to prolonging your plant’s life. Without the proper maintenance, your indoor plant won’t live long.
Some general maintenance that’s essential for your plant includes:
- Adequate sunlight
- Proper watering
- Consistent fertilization
- Frequent pruning or trimming
If you are consistent with your plant’s general care—it will prolong its life significantly—even years. Indoor plants typically only live around two to five years because not every plant owner will provide the plant with extra care, such as frequent trimming or fertilizing.
With proper care, you can maximize a plant’s lifespan to resemble that in its native habitat.
Lastly, the location of your plant can make or break how long it lives. Not only does the site where you keep your indoor plant (i.e., near a window, far from a window, etc.) matter but the area where you live matters.
Places with less sunlight or colder climates won’t be able to keep specific plants alive as long as areas with warmer, sunnier environments, even when growing them indoors. It can also be costly to maintain temperature and humidity levels to match your tropical plant’s needs if you live in a cold, dry climate.
7 Examples of Popular Indoor Plants’ Lifespans
As each plant species is different, it is difficult to say precisely how long your indoor plant will live. How you care for your plant also contributes significantly to your plant’s longevity (which we will discuss later).
Although indoor plants have always been a thing, they’ve been increasing in popularity. More and more people are looking for ways to ensure that they’re caring for their plants properly and keeping them alive as long as possible.
Below, I’ll provide insights on seven popular indoor plants, their typical lifespan, and care tips for each:
1. Snake Plant
Despite what its name might suggest, the snake plant is a beautiful (and widespread) house plant. This plant got its name from the shape of its leaves, which closely resemble the shape of snakes.
The reason the snake plant is one of the most popular indoor plants isn’t because of its looks but because of how easy it is to care for and even how long it lives.
Snake plants can live indoors for up to 25 years or more in the proper conditions. They can still live for around 5-10 years, even in unsuitable climates, depending on how well you care for them.
If you have a snake plant and want to keep it alive as long as possible, consider some of these care tips:
- Look for vibrant leaves. Snake plants are popular for their long leaves, which are mostly dark green with lighter green stripes in the middle and distinctly lined with yellow along the edges. Looking at the leaves is a great way to start if you’re wondering if your plant is healthy. The loss or lack of contrast in colors can indicate poor health in your plant.
- Water the snake plant when the soil has completely dried. Snake plants only need to be watered once every 10-14 days, and the soil should be dry halfway down before watering it again. Overwatering can easily cause rot, so keeping the plant on the drier side is best.
- Give the snake plant indirect sunlight. Although the plant is hardy and can still survive in darker or brighter areas, it prefers bright, indirect sunlight and will live longer in those conditions.
2. Aloe vera
Aloe vera plants are another everyday staple in many households. Not only are these plants fun to look at and easy to care for, but you can use their sap to heal burns or wounds or as an antibacterial and antiseptic agent, making them excellent to have around the house.
Indoor Aloe vera plants can live around 10-12 years indoors, depending on their care. Although they can live indoors for a long time, outdoor varieties tend to live much longer—even decades. However, this depends on the plant’s environment and how well you care for your plant.
Luckily, Aloe vera plants are relatively easy to care for, as long as the temperature is ideal.
Here are some of their basic needs:
- Ensure the aloe vera plant’s pot has good drainage. An adequate-sized pot with excellent drainage is ideal, as too much moisture can cause rot. The pot should be about 2 inches (5 cm) wider in diameter than the plant and have drainage holes at the bottom.
- Give your aloe vera plant bright, indirect sunlight. Too much or too little sunlight might not immediately kill the plant, but it won’t allow it to thrive. You can place it on an eastern window sill or about 5 feet (1.5 m) away from a southern or western window.
- Check for signs that indicate the plant is dying. Catching signs, such as brown or yellow leaves early on, can allow you to save the plant.
- Maintain temperatures between 60 and 80 °F (15.6 and 27 °C). Temperatures below 50 °F (10 °C) can kill an Aloe vera plant.
- Allow the soil to dry halfway down before watering it again thoroughly. It’s best to always test the soil before watering it to ensure you don’t overwater the plant.
3. Monstera Plant
Monstera plants are another popular indoor plant option. But unlike the snake plant or Aloe vera, monstera plants grow very large—sometimes even monstrously.
Despite their impressive size, these plants aren’t too difficult to maintain—which is excellent, considering they can live up to 40 years or more in the proper conditions.
Despite this, various factors contribute to how long a monstera plant can live, including where you live and where you locate the plant.
While monstera plants can live for a very long time, they require some regular maintenance and adequate growing conditions to survive:
- Ensure the monstera plant receives bright, indirect light. Like many hardy plants, monstera can survive in low light or too-bright conditions. However, they’ll thrive best in bright, indirect light. So, if you want your plant to live as long as possible, it’s best to follow the recommended lighting.
- Stake the monstera plant. Monstera grows large and, in turn, begins to grow sideways. To keep it growing upright (as it’s intended to do in the wild). Stakes are a great option to offer your monstera support to keep it upright.
- Before you water your monstera again, allow the soil to dry 1-2 knuckles deep. Doing this helps prevent possible root rot, which can kill the plant prematurely.
- Check the monstera plant regularly for browning leaves. Browning or yellowing leaves are a sign the plant is unhealthy. It’s essential to cut these leaves off and figure out the reason why the leaves are turning colors.
Philodendron plants are one of the most common indoor plants because they can thrive in almost any condition. These plants adapt to their surroundings very well—making them easy to care for and grow.
With the proper care, philodendrons can live up to 20 years or more indoors and even longer outdoors (depending on the variety). You can expect this lovely indoor plant to live a long, happy life, provided you supply it with the proper care.
Although hardy and easily adaptable to their environment, philodendrons still need general care to survive. So, if you want your plant to maximize its lifespan, you must give it adequate care.
Here are general care tips to consider for philodendrons:
- Only water the philodendron when the soil’s top two inches (5 cm) has dried. Under or overwatering is a common reason these plants don’t live as long as they could, so keeping a close eye on the watering schedule is critical.
- Ensure you keep the philodendron above 60 °F (15.6 °C). Between 65-70 °F (18-21 °C) at night and 75-85 °F (24-29.°C) during the day are the ideal temperatures.
- Provide the philodendron with indirect sunlight. Although philodendrons can adapt to different lighting conditions, bright, indirect sunlight is ideal and will encourage the plant to live longer.
5. Peace Lily
Peace lilies are beautiful indoor plants with many benefits besides being aesthetically pleasing. They’re also very low-maintenance, making them an excellent choice for those wanting a houseplant but not wanting to go overboard with the care.
Unfortunately, peace lilies fall into the average lifespan category for indoor plants: two to five years. Even when properly cared for, peace lilies don’t live as long as some popular indoor plants.
Despite being low-maintenance plants, peace lilies do need general care:
- Water your peace lily every week. During the winter months, watering every two weeks will suffice. You’ll know your plant needs more water when the leaves begin to droop.
- Place your peace lily plant at an east-facing window. Peace lilies shouldn’t be in an area where they receive direct and intense sunlight, so a curtained east-facing window is ideal.
- Check your plant for wilting. While wilting can signify that your plant needs water, it also represents overcrowded roots. Wilting leaves can mean that it’s time to repot the plant.
6. Laceleaf Plant
Laceleaf plants, also known as anthuriums, are excellent indoor plants. They are reasonably easy to care for and add a beautiful pop of color to any room.
Like the peace lily, a laceleaf plant has an average lifespan of around five years. They can live a little longer with proper care, and the variety of laceleaf is a significant factor in their lifespan.
A laceleaf plant is easy to care for, provided you do the following:
- Provide the laceleaf plant with bright, indirect light. While the plant won’t die in other lighting conditions, indirect light is ideal.
- Before watering your laceleaf again, allow the upper third of the soil to dry out. Doing this will ensure the growing medium doesn’t cause any rotting, leading to premature plant death.
7. Jade Plant
Jade plants are considered succulents, which makes them relatively durable and long-lasting. This is an excellent indoor plant option—which many people lean toward when choosing plants for their home.
Jade plants can live for a very long time with the proper care—even up to 100 years. Of course, how long these plants can live is determined by the care they receive and the overall conditions in which they live.
While jade plants can live for years, they need some assistance:
- Ensure the jade plant has access to bright, direct light. Bright light is essential for this plant to thrive indoors, so it’s best to place it near a southern window. An eastern or western window will also work as long as the plant receives four hours of unobstructed light.
- Only water the plant when the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil are dry. Overwatering can lead to premature plant death.
- Prune the plant regularly. Pruning off dead or weak branches is ideal, as they do nothing for your plant.
- Give the jade plant diluted balanced liquid fertilizer every month. This feeding will encourage the plant to grow and stay as healthy as possible.
Many plants can live for a very long time, even when grown indoors. However, they won’t live long just because they’re a species of plant that can. They still require general care and maintenance, including proper watering, fertilizing, pruning, and sun conditions to thrive for a long time.
So, before purchasing an indoor plant with the hope of keeping it alive forever, do your research on the plant and ensure you can care for it properly.