How Long Do Houseplants Live? [ Here’s The Answer ]

how long do houseplants live

Unlike dogs and cats, plants can live for thousands of years if you take proper care of them. But is it valid for houseplants? Yes, even houseplants can live for tons of years if you know how to take care of them.

There has been a sudden hike in plant sales as millennials have started to realize their importance. Instead of keeping pets, people have started keeping plants as a substitute.

One primary reason is that plants can live for years and even be passed on to generations if you give them proper attention. But, how long can houseplants exactly live? Read on to find out the answer. 1. 3

How Long Do Houseplants Live?

Practically houseplants can live for around 2 to 5 years if you hardly pay any attention to them. But, if you treat them like babies, provide proper sunlight, water, fertilizer, and do all necessary chores, they can live for more than that.

The oldest houseplant to date is a 242-year old Easter Cape Cycad that has been thriving in a pot since 1775. Exciting, right?

Another case of a houseplant’s lifespan is a 42-year old philodendron passed on as an inheritance by a lady in Pittsburgh recently.

One of the finest examples of long-living houseplants is Bonsai.

As per record, there is an 800-year old Bonsai plant in Japan passed on through generations of the Yamaki family and is currently in the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Washington, DC. 1.


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Factors That Can Impact The Longevity Of A Houseplant

Houseplants can change the entire atmosphere of your house in a good way. They improve air quality, remove allergens, add colors to the room, and more.

In return for these benefits, all they need is some care so that they can grow properly. What are the factors that affect the lifespan of a houseplant? Here are some of the major factors that you should keep in mind if you want your plant to grow happily.

Light

Sunlight is a major component of the process of photosynthesis. While light is extensively considered a major growth factor, it can also act as a curse.

How? Houseplants stay away from direct sunlight, due to which they can dry out or get sunburns if you put them under direct sunlight.

But, that doesn’t mean they do not need sunlight at all. Instead of placing the plant under direct sunlight, try to keep them under shady areas where they receive indirect light and continue photosynthesis.

Due to changes in surroundings, plants adapt to the house atmosphere and do not get exposed to sunlight for quite some months.

Moreover, during the winter season, it is highly advised to keep the plants inside the house. When spring arrives, you need to keep them outside for proper growth.

If you immediately take your plants outside, there are high chances that your plants will die within a few days. To prevent that from happening, you need to acclimate your plants to the outside atmosphere.

Keep them under trees or shady areas for a week and then shift them to direct sunlight.

Sunlight is essential for the proper growth of plants. Even though houseplants don’t need much light, it doesn’t mean you can completely devoid them of sunlight. 2.

Water

Like sunlight, water is also an essential growth factor for houseplants. Different houseplants have different water requirements, and you need to know about them before buying any plant.

Some plants thrive in moist soil and need watering once every two days; others might drown and suffer from root rotting due to excessive water.

However, plants, like cactus, and aloe vera, do not need much water. You can water them once a week, and they will still grow properly. These plants store water and use them efficiently throughout the time.

In contrast, Peace Lilies would start drooping if you forget to water them every day! For houseplants, you need to be careful about the amount of water that you provide. There have been cases where plants suffer from fungi infection, root rot, and other infections due to excessive water.

How can you prevent water from killing your houseplants? Consult your nearest nursery and take note of the water requirements for your plant.

It is essential to maintain the requirements as a slight change can significantly hamper a plant’s growth rate.

Fertilizers

Unlike trees and outdoor plants, houseplants do not benefit from getting constant nutrients from the soil. Natural nutrients are essential for all plants, but you cannot provide them constantly in indoor plants. Here, you have to entirely depend on fertilizers to provide your plants with proper nutrition.

Look for fertilizers that have more macronutrients than micronutrients, as plants need the former more than the latter. Some of the major macronutrients that plants need are Magnesium, Potassium, Nitrogen, Calcium, and Sulfur.

Moreover, whenever you repot your plant, you need to use a fresh mixture of soil and fertilizer to get all vitamins and proteins.

Also, make sure that you add some fertilizer to your houseplant’s pot once every few weeks. It would help them to get essential nutrients for initiating the process of photosynthesis.


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Temperature

Apart from the above factors, it would help if you also consider weather conditions while welcoming a plant to your house. A sudden rise or drop in temperature can send the plant into shock, which might affect its growth rate significantly.

Plants are susceptible to cold weather and cannot properly grow when there is a drop in temperature. Therefore, it is highly advisable to keep houseplants in warmer areas.

If you live in a cold area, you need to take extra care of the plants to don’t die in the cold.

Warm temperatures enhance their growth rate and help in germination as well. That doesn’t mean you need to keep them constantly under sunlight throughout the summer! No, houseplants need a specific amount of sunlight, an average of 8 hours per day.

During the rainy season, you can put the plants outside for when it’s drizzling, as rainwater has various benefits for plants. It removes dust, germs and provides natural water for growth.

However, please do not keep them outside when a storm is coming. Heavy rain can damage the meristematic cells and drench the plants as well. 1. 3.


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Can Houseplants Live Forever?

As stated above, houseplants can live forever if you take proper care of them. But, in the case of annual plants, it is not valid. Annual plants only live for one season, bear flowers and fruits, and then die. They cannot live for years like other houseplants.

Many houseplants have lived for more than 30 years and have been present as an heirloom through generations. Indoor plants can make their food and, with proper care, can make it past any harsh climatic conditions.

However, make sure to trim your plants constantly. Why? If you do not trim your plants, then they won’t stop growing in height and will occupy maximum space in your house.

What’s the problem with that? If a plant has a steady height growth, then it won’t be able to receive food and nutrients from the roots, which would further kill them.

Moreover, the plant won’t handle its weight and die within a few days. Therefore, it is essential to prune the plants when they start growing not to die. 4.

Do Houseplants Die Of Old Age?

Houseplants can’t die of old age, but they can die due to lack of attention and care. Botanists have not yet found any specific lifespan for houseplants, as there are several examples available that state house plants can live for decades with proper care.

That’s the beauty of plants; they do not die; instead, they live on forever and provide us with various benefits.

Even if your house plant is ten years old, it can still live for more than 50 years if you take proper care of it. The life of your houseplants is in your hands: take good care, and they will live more than you do. 3. 4


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What House Plants Live The Longest?

As we have stated above, the life of your houseplants depends on you. Take good care of them, and they can live for more than you can ever imagine.

However, certain plants are known to live for a long time, even without proper care. Here are some of the houseplants that botanists believe in living the longest.

Succulents

Succulents are plants that have beautiful fleshy leaves and strong stems. Both beginners and pro gardeners highly prefer them as succulents are easy to take care of, and they are perfect for outdoor and indoor atmospheres.

These plants do not need much water or light and can thrive even if you ignore them. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them entirely as they also need some of your love.

Succulents require water once or twice a week and can survive under harsh sunlight as well. Some of the best examples of succulents are Aloe Vera, Burro’s tail, Flaming Katy, Roseum, Crown of Thorns, etc.

Cacti

Cactus are some of the best houseplants to keep. They do not need much water or sunlight and can survive even with minimum nutrients. These desert plants can live for more than 200 years and continue to grow.

More than 1700 species of cactus are available in the world, each of different colors and shapes. Moreover, these thorn plants even bear beautiful small flowers when they get enough nutrients.

Cycads

Cycads look more like palm trees and add beauty to your house. These plants are mostly preferred as a part of the home decor and are super easy to look after.

They do not need water during the winters and can even grow in your garden. One of the longest living cycads is the Easter Cape cycad, which has been on Earth for more than 200 years.

So, if you take proper care of your cycad, you can even use it as a family heirloom for the upcoming generation.

English Ivy

You probably must have seen English ivy in old buildings and castles. These plants are climbers that can spread throughout the house and live for thousands of years.

If you decide to get an English Ivy, then make sure to use a hanging basket for planting them. It would help the plant to grow freely and happily.

They only require an adequate amount of water, sunlight, and space to grow. One of the most famous species of English Ivy is the Hedera helix, which can live for decades.

However, make sure there are no pests on the plant as it can become a hurdle in its growth process.

Philodendron

Philodendron has more than 400 species in the entire world and is known for its incredible life span. These plants have heart-shaped teardrop leaves that give them a distinct look.

Besides, these plants can grow in a pot, hanging basket, or even in your garden. With proper care, a philodendron can live for centuries. One of the finest examples we have stated is the 42-year old philodendron plant passed on as an inheritance by a woman in Pittsburgh.

They have a steady growth rate and will enhance the look of your house as well. 5.


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Conclusion

Plants do not have a definite life period like humans and animals. They can live for a day, week, month, and even centuries, if the owner takes proper care of them.

While buying or adopting a houseplant, you are taking up the responsibility of growing them properly. Like you take care of newborn babies and help them grow properly, you need to do the same for houseplants.

Though they might not say anything, they do show signs of appreciation. Look for the hints, and you would be able to take better care of your indoor plants. 3


Resources

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  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2014.00205/full
  4. https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjm-2015-0024
  5. https://jppe.ppe.or.kr/journal/view.php?doi=10.11628/ksppe.2018.21.5.329
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