Nothing brightens up an empty corner like a big, beautiful plant. Unfortunately, big beautiful plants can be extremely expensive€”a worthy investment, of course, if you manage to keep them alive for more than a couple of months. 

That's my design conundrum when it comes to greenery. I love the impact that large plants can have on a space, but the stakes are so much higher. If the plant doesn't thrive, I haven€™t just lost an eco-friendly aesthetic element: I'm out a hundred bucks (or more).

There are large, low-maintenance plants out there, and I asked Lauren Upham, product manager at Vancouver-based Plantsome, for her advice on flora that’s as hardy as it is eye-catching. Here are her top five picks. 

Sansevieria Laurentii (Snake Plant)

If you've a serial under-waterer, this is the plant for you. €œThey are nearly impossible to kill,€ says Upham. Snake plants don't need much light to survive, and very little water€”you can let the soil dry out completely in between watering, which can take any time from a couple of weeks over a month. Really, the only way you can mess with a snake plant is by watering it too much. 

A downside to this is that snake plants don't grow very quickly (and that’s true for most of the plants on this list€”low-maintenance often equals slow growing in the world of plants). So if your goal is a large plant, don't buy a small one and expect it to shoot up. Start big! 

Bird of Paradise  

€œThese plants grow a little bit faster than snake plants, and they can get very large,€ says Upham. Birds of Paradise thrive best near south-facing windows, but can fare well in an east or west-facing window as well. €œThey are super fun to watch grow because new leaves come up furled, and then they unfurl,€ she shares, adding that split leaves are normal. Keep your Bird of Paradise's soil moist and you've good to go. 

Buddhist Pine 

Buddhist Pines add a real pop of personality to any space. €œThey€™re definitely a funkier look, almost frilly,€ says Upham. Keep a Buddhist Pine away from any AC vents or heaters, especially baseboard heaters. Bright, indirect light is key. 

Cast Iron Plant

These plants are like the Peace Lily's lower-maintenance cousin: they have the same big, glossy leaves but are much, much sturdier. Care for a Cast Iron plant is similar to a snake plant (not much light and not much water is required). Unlike a cast iron pan, this plant isn€™t a fan of the heat€”keep them out of direct sunlight. 

Dragon Tree

€œDragon trees are pretty flexible in terms of lighting,€ says Upham. The plant expert says that Dragon tree parents often freak when the plant starts losing leaves, but that's normal. €œThey gradually lose their leaves along the bottom of the trunk, so eventually you will end up with this super long trunk that bends towards the light,€ she explains. In fact, you can make the trunk twist around by gradually turning the plant.