The most common reason houseplants can be difficult to take care of is that the environment they are placed in isn’t right for them.

But then again, there are some people who just don’t possess the skill and knack to be able to keep a plant, I mean any plant, alive. Even a pothos – which is like the hardest plant to kill – suffers under their care.

Some houseplants can be surprisingly temperamental, and no matter how popular they are on social media, these plants can be quite a nightmare to keep alive. Here are 7 common houseplants that are best avoided by those not blessed with a green thumb.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

This is posibly one of the most popular plants on social media but ficus, including rubber plants and weeping fig, need bright, even light to be successful. Any kind of change will result in them dropping their leaves.

Fiddle leaf figs also require humidity and moist soil, but not too much watering, which can be far trickier than it sounds.

Norfolk Island Pine

While usually popular around Christmas, the compact size of this pine make them attractive all year round. Although harder to kill, when the lower branches start to brown and drop and the new growth comes in unevenly, they can look less IG-worthy.

They like bright, even light and humidity, so placing them beside a window is the best spot for them.

Madagascar Dragon Tree

Dracaena and yuccas are popular indoor plants and can be found just about everywhere. These tall and compact plants are also very finicky. They need the right conditions, like slightly moist soil and humidity, or else they’ll lose their leaves and get brown tips on the ends.

Dragon trees like light shade and an occasional misting to stay moist, but not too wet.

Venus Flytrap

Venus flytraps require high humidity which is best created in a terrarium. These plants tend to struggle in dry, cool indoor environments. As venus fly traps grow they develop long root systems, so a tall pot should be used with older plants.

Plants sold in nurseries are often planted in too small a pot, and in the wrong soil type. Typically, you should re-pot your Venus fly trap into the correct soil and a 4 or 5 inch pot.

Live prey, such as such as flies, spiders, crickets, slugs and caterpillars, are a Venus’ fly trap’s favorite food. You can buy crickets for your plant from your local pet store or dried blood worms.


The Gardenia with its heady perfume and creamy white blooms are lovely plants to own, but can be notoriously fickle. They are one of the hardest plants to keep alive and get to bloom. They like bright light and acidic soil and are prone to all kinds of pests, including mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.

Gardenias grown indoors need bright light or filtered shade with no direct sun and should receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight through a sunny window.

Make sure your Gardenia soil is moist and well-drained. Gardenias need at least 1 inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week.

Peace Lily

These are a favourite indoor plant, but are not for those not blessed with a green thumb. Peace lilies don’t like drafty windows and can also be sensitive to chemicals like chlorine and fluoride commonly found in tap water, which can cause browning on the leaves.

They require moist but not wet soil and enjoy high humidity. They do not require frequent feeding, so go slow with the fertilizer. While not technically poisonous, it contains a compound that can be extremely bothersome to pets, children and even adults, if consumed. Even the pollen from the spadix can cause oral irritation if licked off fur and paws, so keep it out of reach of the animals and children.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

These popular hanging plants like moisture and should be watered when the soil becomes damp. Do not allow the soil to dry out and this may mean watering twice a week or daily in hot Singaporean weather.

The Boston fern needs bright indirect light when grown indoors, but prefers denser shade if grown outdoors.

If kept indoors, the plant thrives in a warm and humid environment where it received frequent but indirect sunlight.