Some plants, luckily, are happy in almost any conditions. If every pot plant you were given in the past died almost as soon as you looked at it, do not lose heart. Try some of the plants listed below - they are virtually impossible to kill.

The Aspidistra Elatior used to be called the cast-iron plant as it happily survived in gas-lit interiors with coal fires. It has dark green leaves, and is happy anywhere except in full sun.

Beloperone Guttata (Shrimp Plant) is a small shrub which comes from South America. It has light green leaves and coppery shrimp-shaped bracts covering its tiny, insignificant white flowers. Prune it in the spring to encourage a bushy shape and, if possible, place it in a very well-lit position.

Chlorophytum Comosum (the Spider Plant) has long green and white grasslike leaves falling like a fountain, and baby plants appearing on the end of runners. These can be easily rooted around the parent plant. Or root them in separate pots, then cut them off and you have another house plant.

The varieties of Cissus - Cissus Antarctica (Kangaroo Vine) and Rhoicissus Rhomboidea (Grape Ivy) - are easy climbing or trailing plants. They are happiest in shady, tolerably cool, conditions.

Coleus (Ornamental Nettle) have no relationship to the Stinging Nettle except the ragged shape of their leaves. This large family of plants all have ornamental variegated leaves in reds, yellows, purples and greens. They need good light - otherwise their leaf markings fade - and frequent watering. It is
a good idea to pinch out the growing point and remove the flower buds to encourage a bushy shape. Their flowers are not really attractive and take too much nourishment from the plant itself - it is the leaves which are important.

The three members of the Ficus or Fig family easiest to grow are Ficus Benjamina (Weeping Fig) which is a delicate little tree with greyish bark and long narrow leaves; Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant) which has a tall, classic appearance due to the broad, leathery leaves, and Ficus Pumila (Creeping Fig) whose small round leaves creep and trail. This plant has to be supported by tying it to a cane if you do not want it to hang down.

Hederas (Ivies) are a large family of climbing or trailing plants with decorative leaves. Ivies are as hardy in the house as in the garden, being happy in cool or warm rooms. But remember the warmer the room, the more light and humidity they need.

Tradescantia (Wandering Sailor) do not seem to mind what soil, temperature or position they grow in - although some of the silver and green striped varieties show their colours better in semi-shade. They will trail down from a high shelf or wall in a curtain of pointed striped leaves and are very easy to propagate from cuttings. Zebrinas (members of the same family and also known as Wandering Sailor) are similar in appearance and are happy in the same conditions. The underside of the leaf is a beautiful deep purple, particularly if the plant is kept fairly dry.