brainstorming workshop 2 groups

How Long Do House Plants Live? 4 Secrets to a Long Lifespan

On average, house plants live 2 – 5 years.

But house plants can live for decades and still go strong when you take good care of them.

How does it come that there are so much variety in how long house plants actually live? Why is the average lifespan so short?

Let’s dissect the topic. This post will give you insights into factors that contribute to the lifespan of plants and give you tips to keep them thriving.

Why Grow House Plants in the First Place?

Houseplants have become more and more popular in the past years.

In the past decades, we have become more aware of nature, and of our planet, and are looking into sustainable lifestyles.

People are craving for a calming sanctuary, and to bring a piece of nature into their homes.

House plants are not only a great decoration piece for our homes but also an enjoyable hobby to pick up. They bring a groundedness and improve the air quality of your home.

But like pets, house plants are living beings and need proper care.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

The Mystery of Thriving Houseplants That Live a Long Life

Houseplants can really become like family in your home. Some indoor plants generally live longer than others. But with the right amount of love, they will live longer than you’d think!

It all comes down to what type of plant it is, the environment it’s in, and how well you take care of it.

So the combination of all those factors will determine how long a house plant can live.

Which Factors Are Defining a Plant’s Lifespan?

There’s not really a defined lifespan for each plant species or even for plant sizes. It’s a lot more individual than that!

It’s important that we understand what makes house plants thrive so that we can make them live for years and decades.

Here are the most important factors that play into the longevity of plants:

  • Light
  • Water
  • Temperature and place
  • Soil
  • Care


Let’s dive into how each of these factors can affect the lifespan of your indoor green buddies:

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods


Plants need varying levels of light; insufficient light can weaken them over time, while too much can cause sunburn.

Depending on the species, plants have very different preferences for light. Some like bright and direct sunlight, while that’s a big no-go for others.

Here are some helpful articles about plant lighting:

Plants that can take bright light: “16 Indoor Plants That Thrive In Direct Sunlight” by My Domaine

Low light plants: “13 Houseplants That Thrive in Low Light” by Martha Stewart

Complete guide to lighting: “A Complete Guide to Lighting For Your Indoor Plants + Quiz” by Vintage Revivals

Free printable guide: “Light Guide” by Happy Happy Houseplants

Temperature and Place

Temperature goes hand-in-hand with the right lighting of your plants.

Observe how your plants are doing in different spots around your house. Select a spot that has enough light or shade but isn’t too hot or cold. Especially south-facing windows can get really hot and burn the leaves of your plants if they are placed too close to the window.

Another factor when placing your plants is other environmental influences, such as airflow. Some plants don’t like draught at all for example.

A quick Google search will get you the needed info on the preferences of your plant’s species.


Overwatering or underwatering can dramatically affect a plant’s health and lifespan.

In fact, wrong watering is probably the most common reason for house plants dying.

Overwatering causes root rot while underwatering leads to dehydration. And the combination of both is a total killer (speaking from way more experience than I would like to admit).

Guide to watering house plants: A Guide To Watering Indoor Plants, by Joy Us Gardens

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods


The quality and type of soil can affect drainage and nutrient delivery, which are crucial for plant health.

So research which soil to use and avoid for each species and don’t just go for the cheapest option.

I like well-draining soil for most of my indoor plants.


Make sure to give your plants some regular love and attention.

Set up a little routine for watering, feeding, and tidying up your indoor green buddies. From time to time, give them fresh soil and re-pot them.

Also, research if you need to prune your

It’s all about being consistent, but don’t stress too much – it’s not an exact science.

Why Do Houseplants Die?

There are a few reasons why a plant’s health is slowly (or not so slowly) fading.

Some plants even die after a few weeks or months; one of the reasons why the average lifespan of house plants comes down to 2 – 5 years.

1 | Not the Right Care

Most plants in our homes die because we don’t take proper care of them.

It can be quite hard to find out which plant needs what, especially if you have ones like succulents or snake plants which react relatively slowly to changes in your care routine.

Make sure to research how to take proper care of your plants, it’s easy to avoid when you know what to focus on.

brainstorming workshop full group discussion - design thinking methods

2 | Environmental Stress

Fast changes in temperature, drafts, or dry indoor air can stress a plant. Make sure to only put your plant on stress when really necessary and try to make up for stressors you can’t avoid.

3 | Pests and Diseases

These are nasty! You can do everything perfectly right and all of a sudden your plants have pests or diseases.

Indoor house plants pests and diseases usually come from newly bought plants that carry them or from soil but they can also come in through an open window. Once they are in one plant, it’s only a matter of time until they spread to other plants in the same room or house.

To avoid pests as much as possible, start the practice of quarantining new and re-potted plants in a separate room or a different corner of the room if you can.

4 |  Natural End of Their Life

Plants, like all living organisms, have a natural lifecycle. It’s quite hard to say when but all plants at some point reach a point where they naturally die. This process is called senescence.

Senescence refers to the final phase in a plant’s life before it dies. During this time, you may notice that the plant stops growing, begins to decline, and eventually withers away. This process is normal and cannot be prevented.

But the cool thing about house plants: Many of them you can propagate long before that point.

How to Propagate House Plants

You can propagate most home plants easily with cuttings.

This video beautifully shows how to correctly propagate your plants, on the example of 5 popular species: Pothos, String of Hearts, Monstera Deliciosa, Pancake Plant and ZZ Plant.

In fact, that’s the tutorial that I used to start propagating my plants and it has worked very well every time

Tips to Make Your Houseplants Live a Long and Happy Live

Consistent and Quality Care

Make sure to give your plants some regular love and attention. Set up a little routine for watering, feeding, and tidying up your indoor green buddies. It’s all about being consistent, but hey, don’t forget to be flexible too – adjust things as needed for different seasons or if a plant needs some extra TLC.

Look out for these factors:

  • pot them in a large enough pot with drainage holes
  • give them the right soil
  • position your plants correctly in the room (think light and temperature)
  • water them enough but not too much
  • Observe them over the year and big weather changes (for example you might need to spray them if the air is too dry in the winter)
  • Adapt your plant care routine to your plant’s needs: You will learn when your plant thrives. Even if it’s against advice you read on the internet, go with what your plant most resonates with.
  • research if you need to prune them from time to time
  • Consider using helpers like a moisture meter or thermometer
  • Always quarantine re-potted and new plants to make sure you don’t bring in pests

Observing your plants, you’ll notice that species like Pothos are incredibly quick in growing while others might be generally slow growing, by species. So before you jump to the assumption that you need to change anything in your plant’s routine, do a quick search to find out if each of your plants is a fast or slow grower.

Final Thought on a Long Plant Life

Creating an Endless Cycle of New, Thriving Plants Is Not Hard!

Houseplants, like all things in nature, have their own life cycle. It’s a lot longer than 2 to 5 years if you take proper care of your green housemate.

And if you choose to propagate your plant, you’ll never have to buy a new plant of the same species ever again if all goes well; the cycle is endless.

Learn What Your Plants Need to Thrive

To know exactly what’s good for your plant, research care tips for the specific species. There’s a lot of questionable hacks and advice on social media so stick to a well-established source of information.

I love Happy Happy Houseplants! Mandi, the owner, owns such a lush indoor jungle that she grew by caring for and propagating her plants, she obviously truly knows what she’s talking about!

This post was all about how long house plants live and gave you tips how to make your plants thrive.

diamonds spacer-2
by Corinne

by Corinne

more plant tips

how to decorate with donut vase
diamonds spacer-2