best high-maintenance plants

Best High-Maintenance Plants for the Adventurous Gardeners

“The greater the effort, the greater the reward.” The large majority of gardeners indeed prefer to house plants that won’t give them any headaches over maintenance. However, sometimes it is indeed worthwhile to get yourself high-maintenance, yet delicate plants that are in a league of their own.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most interesting high-maintenance plants for more adventurous indoor gardeners, such as:

  1. Azalea
  2. African violet
  3. Bonsai tree
  4. Air plants
  5. Fiddle-leaf fig plants
  6. Venus flytrap
  7. Zebra plants
  8. Croton
  9. Banana plants
  10. Peace lily

These plants make up for their difficult management with unique characteristics that make all the effort worth it in the end. Let’s learn more about them.

Related: 18 Peperomia Varieties You Can Easily Grow Indoors

1. Azalea

azalea flower

Popularly called “Royalty of the Garden,” azaleas are among the most vibrant and colorful, albeit difficult plants you can pick for your indoor garden. They come in different varieties, such as the white azalea, requiring special catering to thrive properly.

Due to their peculiar ideal conditions (cool temperature and overall dampness at all times, among other things), they thrive as landscape plants. That makes them a good challenge for adapting to meet their needs.

2. African Violet

african violet

Originating from higher altitudes within the tropical regions of eastern Africa, its dark leaves form a basal cluster near the base of this stunning plant. Their creamy flowers center around bilateral symmetry, with petals that can take up white, violent, or pink colors.

Despite the apparent beauty of the plant, it is also one of the shining examples of the hardest plant to grow in your home. Mostly because of the following reasons:

  • It is challenging to overwater them
  • Miniscule drops in temperature can impede growth, and too low temperatures often kill them quickly
  • They are sensitive to intensive light
  • It is tricky to pick the right soil for them

All of this adds up, making it clear why it is one of the most difficult flowers to grow. They are excellent for adventurous gardeners.

Related: Best Potting Soil For Indoor Plants

3. Bonsai Tree

bonsai tree

As an overwhelmingly popular option that originates from Japan’s long-lasting artistic tradition, it comes as no surprise that many indoor gardeners want to implement one of these beauties not just for their aesthetics but also to engage in this delicate yet intricate art.

However, caring for one requires a gentle touch and substantial knowledge of both general bonsai care and the variant of your choosing. Ginseng Ficus, Chinese Elm, Brush Cherry, Oriental Ficus require different catering, for instance.

As they need constant maintenance and cultivation, all of the factors put the bonsai among one of the most difficult high-maintenance plants to grow.

4. Air Plants

air plants

This is one of the most unique plants you can come across. That is because, as the name suggests, they differentiate from common houseplants due to substituting soil for shrubs and stones.

Air plants are unique but often high maintenance plants. They need several hours of indirect light and water that go higher and lower based on humidity. It is hard to determine it correctly as you can go by the usual soil check method with a stick or soil meters.

All of the aforesaid makes them quite high-maintenance plants to grow in home – perfect for those who want to be adventurous!

5. Fiddle-Leaf Fig Plants

fiddle-leaf fig

While it may not look like it, these trendy plants require a green thumb to keep alive. Also, they need a watchful eye that can detect any issues before it gets out of hand.

They adapt quite poorly to new conditions, sometimes even dying out due to being frequently moved from one place to another.

Due to needing just the right amount of light and proper humidity, you might find yourself preparing to find a permanent ideal place and with creating tight misting schedules just to keep it alive!

Related: 25 Plants That Can Grow Without Sunlight

6. Venus Flytrap

venus flytrap

As one of the world’s most unique looking carnivorous plants, Venus flytraps are one of the most favored plants among gardeners to grow and observe. However, they are not the best choice for beginner gardeners.

They require a special kind of soil combination and rain or distilled water due to their extremely sensitive root system. These plants feed on insects in the wild, so you will need to research their nutritional needs before getting one for yourself.

Considering their particular diet, feeding intervals, and light requirements, they are an excellent choice for the more adventurous gardener!

7. Zebra Plants

zebra plant

These stunning plants’ white-veined foliage and yellow blooms contribute to their immense popularity within the gardening world. Yet, growing zebra plant is often tedious.

They are very picky about ideal temperature and humidity. They prefer 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the entire year and 70% humidity, alongside plenty of indirect light.

These tropical marvels hailing from Brazil are a real challenge for growing within your home. Homes rarely mimic the natural environment these plants are conditioned to live in. Even if your home or garden provides optimal conditions, their lifespan is frequently too short to allow you to fully enjoy their beauty.

8. Croton


While these plants are familiar sights in most stores during fall, they are by no means simple to care for.

Their lush green leaves are covered in yellow, orange, and red veins that are a sight to behold. However, once you get to the specifics, you will encounter issues that might give you a headache!

This plant is sensitive to low light and has some watering problems. Also, it has a tendency to lose its dazzling colors if frequently moved from place to place.

Therefore, having some knowledge about this plant is crucial.

9. Banana Plants

banana plant

Banana plant is an excellent choice for decorative plants. They are, after all, the first kind of plant that comes to mind when thinking about exotic tropical regions. They are also one of the hardest plants to grow for multiple reasons.

Due to their delicate nature, they need 12 hours of direct sunlight and precise warm temperature during the entire time. There is a risk that their leaves will be scorched If the temperature is too hot or that the plant will enter dormancy if it goes too cold.

What is also a novelty, compared to most other plants, is that they need frequent watering. Sometimes watering them every 2 days with a generous amount of water is necessary to keep them alive.

Their root system expands quickly, making it a must to frequently repot them if kept indoors. They do bear fruit, but only after 10 or more months of ideal care. This makes them very difficult plants to grow.

10. Peace Lily

peace lily

A common sight in most commercial centers and most stores, peace lilies tend to be plants that grow very quickly.  They can also die out equally fast if not cared for properly.

They need frequent watering and a warm, humid environment, making them unsuitable for most outdoor gardens. Also, they are notoriously sensitive to cold air drafts, so isolating them from doors or frequently opened windows is a good start.

Most importantly, the water they receive needs to be chemically untreated water. It is not uncommon for them to die out due to high fluoride and chlorine content in the water.

Repotting your peace lilies is expected if you pick smaller pots, and trimming any unhealthy leaves is mandatory to preserve healthy growth. All of these needs classify them as high maintenance flowers.

Related: Brown or Black Peace Lily Flowers – the Most Common Reasons & Solutions


These were some of the most difficult high-maintenance plants to grow indoors. This list should accommodate the needs of all experienced gardeners, who are looking for some challenge.