10. Macho Fern (Nephrolepis Biserrata)
The snake plant has some pretty cool nicknames, but this plant has the manliest. Macho fern is pretty tough, but it’s also commonly called the “giant sword fern.” The broad leaves spread well and can grow to be over four feet tall and six feet wide. Planting one or more of these in a garden (or a large indoor pot) will add a tropical feel to any space, and they are easily kept alive with indirect light and infrequent watering in most climates.
9. Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
This plant gets its name from the shape of its leaves. It also has some of the coolest nicknames of any plant on this list: mother-in-law’s tongue, and, in Brazil, espada de São Jorge, or “Sword of Saint George.” The broad, green leaves with white tips look nice, making them great for ornamental use, and the plant itself is extremely easy to maintain: an occasional sprinkling is enough to keep one healthy. The leaves have been proven to improve indoor air quality and cordage from the plant has been used to make bowstrings for millennia. It is important to know, however, that the plant is toxic if eaten.
8. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula)
Here’s one of the most famous plants around and deservedly so. I mean, it eats bugs. Like a real-life piranha plant (Mario reference), this plant is a carnivore that chomps down on any insect or arachnid unlucky enough to contact its tiny hairs, which cause the trapping structure of the plant to snap shut. Unfortunately, the flashiness comes at a cost, as these plants are notoriously hard to grow outside of their natural habitats, which are subtropical wetlands.
7. Poppies (Papaver Somniferum)
Poppies are beautiful flowers, and those aren’t usually what you’d call manly. But illegal flowers? Now we’re talking. Since these beauties have been used to produce opium for centuries, their cultivation is outlawed in the US. However, an even slightly determined scofflaw can easily get his hands on the seeds because they’re sold legally for use in cooking. Still, a gardener caught cultivating them potentially faces a federal charge, so growing them might not be worth the risk.
6. Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
Here’s another tough plant that’d be hard to kill even if you tried. These durable plants require very little water and are actually quite susceptible to overwatering. So a subtle hand works best. Perfect for any guy that wants something nice to look at, but doesn’t really want to work too much to maintain it. Fun fact: a common nickname for the plant is the “money tree,” so if you own one, you can brag to your friends about owning a money tree and not be a liar.
5. Cactus (Cactaceae)
You had to know these mean-looking guys would end up on this list. The perfect plant for a man, cacti are intimidating and extremely low maintenance. Even a desert can sustain them, so if you can’t, you might just be the least nurturing individual ever. There are over 2,000 species, so you can take your pick as far as aesthetics are concerned. You can find some that’ll fit in a pot, or spring for something larger and pick one of the species that grow to be the size of a small tree.
4. Bamboo (Bambuseae)
Want a yard full of potential weapons? Plant bamboo. These plants are technically in a family of grasses, but they are harvested and used as building materials around the world, leading many people to just call them trees. Their strength has made them popular in the production of weapons throughout history--as staffs, bows, arrows, kendo sticks, and even as barrels for the first gun-powder weapons.
3. Hops (Humulus Lupulus)
The flower clusters of the humulus lupulus used in beer production are all female. Still, they’re used to produce beer, so they’re man’s best friend. Enough said.
2. Aloe Vera (Aloe Vera)
Now here’s a tough plant that looks the part. The plant itself might not look too distinct from a distance, but take a closer look and you’ll see it’s actually comprised of thick, individual stalks. These are called offsets, which are sturdy, pointy, and lined with spikes, making the grey-green leaves resemble thick, twisted, serrated blades. Like lambs ear, aloe vera has practical, medicinal uses. Break one of the blades from the plant and squeeze out the sap and you’ve got yourself a way to topically treat and soothe burns and cuts.
1. Lamb’s Ear (Stachys Byzantina)
The leaves of this plant, though fluffy, are tough--something the plant’s common name does not strongly imply. Their soft but durable nature explains why they’ve been used to dress wounds--especially on the battlefield--for ages. Not only are the leaves soothing to the touch and naturally absorbent, but they also have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. Basically, they’re nature's bandaids. But, honestly, what sounds manlier: covering a scratch with a bandage or dressing your wounds with a leaf you pulled from a plant?