Top 10 Most Difficult Houseplants to Care For


While houseplants can bring beauty and life to your living space, not all of them are easy to care for. Some plants demand a high level of attention, specific conditions, and a green thumb to thrive. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 most difficult houseplants to care for, along with tips to give them the best chance of survival.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Factors Influencing Plant Care Difficulty
  3. Calathea orbifolia – Prayer Plant
  4. Ficus elastica – Rubber Plant
  5. Maidenhair Fern
  6. Lithops – Living Stone Plant
  7. Cymbidium – Orchid
  8. Alocasia – Elephant Ear Plant
  9. Fiddle Leaf Fig
  10. Gardenia
  11. Stromanthe sanguinea – Triostar Stromanthe
  12. Conclusion
  13. FAQs


Caring for houseplants can be a rewarding experience, but some varieties present unique challenges that require extra effort and expertise. If you’re up for the challenge, these difficult houseplants can become a source of pride and accomplishment.

Factors Influencing Plant Care Difficulty

Several factors contribute to a houseplant’s level of difficulty to care for, including its specific light, water, humidity, and temperature requirements. Some plants are also sensitive to changes in their environment and can easily succumb to stress.

Calathea orbifolia – Prayer Plant

The Calathea orbifolia is notorious for its finicky nature. It’s sensitive to changes in light and humidity, and its leaves can quickly brown if conditions are not ideal. Regular misting and consistent moisture are crucial for its well-being.

Ficus elastica – Rubber Plant

While rubber plants are popular, they can be challenging due to their susceptibility to overwatering and sensitivity to changes in temperature. They need bright, indirect light and a careful watering routine.

Maidenhair Fern

The delicate fronds of the Maidenhair Fern require high humidity and consistent moisture. Dry conditions or inconsistent watering can lead to leaf drop and browning.

Lithops – Living Stone Plant

Lithops are unique succulents that mimic stones to avoid predators. They demand specialized care, including careful watering to mimic their natural desert habitat and protection from excessive moisture.

Cymbidium – Orchid

Orchids, particularly the Cymbidium variety, are beautiful but demanding. They require specific light conditions, proper air circulation, and a balanced approach to watering and fertilizing.

Alocasia – Elephant Ear Plant

Alocasia plants have stunning foliage, but they can be sensitive to changes in their environment. They require high humidity, consistent moisture, and a well-draining soil mix.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

The Fiddle Leaf Fig’s popularity doesn’t make it any less challenging to care for. It needs bright, indirect light, regular turning, and careful watering to avoid root rot.


Gardenias are known for their fragrant blooms, but they’re demanding when it comes to their growing conditions. They need acidic soil, specific humidity levels, and consistent pruning.

Stromanthe sanguinea – Triostar Stromanthe

The Triostar Stromanthe boasts colorful leaves but can be temperamental. It requires high humidity, indirect light, and protection from drafts.


While challenging houseplants may require more effort and attention, successfully caring for them can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re committed to honing your plant care skills, these difficult varieties can become a testament to your dedication and love for the botanical world.


  1. Are these difficult houseplants suitable for beginners? Not typically. These plants are best suited for experienced plant owners who have a good understanding of plant care and are willing to invest time and effort.
  2. What’s the key to successfully caring for difficult houseplants? Research is essential. Learn about the specific requirements of each plant, including light, water, humidity, and temperature preferences, and try to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible.
  3. Can difficult houseplants adapt to less-than-ideal conditions? While some plants may tolerate suboptimal conditions for a while, they won’t thrive. If you’re determined to grow them, it’s best to create a suitable environment for their needs.
  4. Should I attempt to care for difficult houseplants if I’m a novice? It’s advisable to start with easier-to-care-for plants to build your skills and confidence before taking on the challenges of difficult houseplants.
  5. Can I seek professional advice for caring for difficult plants? Absolutely. Consulting with experienced gardeners, plant specialists, or horticulturists can provide valuable insights and guidance for successfully caring for these plants.


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