21 of the Best Low-Light Houseplants
Snag one of these low-light houseplants so you can have some green in every corner of your home.
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Looking to fill a low-light home with some leafy greens? Or maybe you have the perfect corner in mind for a houseplant but it just doesn’t get enough sunshine? Well, we’re here to brighten your day: It is possible to grow beautiful houseplants in the shade. Follow along as we cover 21 low-light houseplants that’ll stick around through the thick and thin.
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Chinese evergreen plants, also known as Aglaonema, come in over 20 unique varieties. They require moist soil but not much else—though you will need to avoid cold temperatures and excessive sunlight. Make sure you wear gloves if you have sensitive skin as the plant’s juice can cause irritation.
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English ivy has hundreds of varieties, some are plain green, while others are mixed with yellow, gold or creamy white. You’ll typically see English ivy hanging in a pot, but you can also train it to climb a trellis or moss stick. Guide to Houseplants suggests maintaining evenly moist soil throughout the year—misting often to keep the leaves from drying out (though slightly drier during the winter). You can improve drainage with a small layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot.
Sansevieria, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue and snake plant, is easily recognized by its long leaves with yellow or silvery-white stripes. Snake plants are also known for being one of the easiest houseplants to grow. This low-light houseplant does well with moderate watering: First allow the soil to dry completely, checking it once every two weeks.
Native to South America, the Platycerium includes about 18 different species. Besides being a fantastic low-light houseplant option, staghorn ferns can also grow well in a backyard greenhouse or a cool, enclosed porch. Water your staghorn fern once a week (up to ten days during winter), submerging the entire root system for up to 15 minutes.
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The Dracaena is known for its straight stalk and lush, green foliage. It needs low, indirect light and is perfect for a bathroom or office. According to Gardening Know How, the roots need to be covered in water—changing the water every two to four weeks. You can also transplant the lucky bamboo into soil with good drainage and water it often, but be careful to avoid water-log.
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Dieffenbachia is native to Mexico, the West Indies and as far south as Argentina. Dumb canes have a straight stem, with white spots and flecks. This low-light houseplant comes in more than 50 species, offering a number of ornamental options. This plant does best in warm temperatures and a dry climate, though the soil needs moderate moisture.
Tillandsia is a genus of around 650 plant species, all native to a variety of different terrains in Mexico, the United States, the Caribbean and Argentina. Air plants grow best in humid environments.
To promote the health of this low-light houseplant, you can use a spray bottle (for misting) up to four times per week. They are commonly seen mounted, placed in a terrarium or inset inside of seashells.
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Pilea involucrata, native to Central and South America is known for its oval-shaped, velvety leaves. This bushy, trailing plant is easy to care for but does best in a humid environment like a terrarium. Friendship plants grow between six to 12 inches high, making them great for small spaces. Gardening Know How suggests keeping the temperature between 65 to 75 degrees and away from heaters or drafty windows.
Chlorophytum comosum comes in green or variegated varieties, often starting out as small, white flowers. Spider plants are also known for reducing indoor air pollution, according to House Plants Expert. Just keep this plant in well-drained soil and out of direct sunlight, repotting it in the spring if roots grow outside of the drainage holes. Over time, a mature plant can produce a “spiderette” hanging down from the mother plant similar to a web, which can be rooted in water or soil.
Monstera plants, also known as Swiss cheese plants, are recognized by their large, split leaves. This plant grows quickly, so pick a spot with plenty of space. Gardening Know How recommends repotting your cheese plant once a year while it is young to freshen the soil and to encourage growth. In its natural habitat, this tropical jungle plant is known for reaching up to 10 feet tall or more.
A Brazilian native, this genus of flowering plants has almost 500 species, many grown as ornamental and indoor plants. This plant is known for its large leaves, which can be oval-shaped, spear-shaped or a variety of other possibilities. The philodendron plant serves as a symbol of health and abundance. Water this plant moderately, but make sure you’re not overwatering or underwatering this houseplant.
Bird’s Nest Fern
Asplenium nidus gets its name from looking like a bird’s nest, not from growing in trees. According to Gardening Know How, this excellent low-light houseplant can also be called a crow’s nest. For flatter leaves, place the bird’s nest fern in a lower-light environment. If you want the leaves to appear more crinkled, give it a touch more light.
Maranta leuconeura, also known as a prayer plant, is tolerant of low-light conditions and actually prefers indirect sunlight. According to Green and Vibrant, its common name comes from the way the leaves close vertically in the evening, resembling praying hands. These low-light houseplants are sensitive to fluoride, so try to avoid using hard water and make sure it’s around room temperature. Be careful to avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
Spathiphyllum is known as a closet plant. According to Gardening Know How, they brighten up a living space but are also excellent at cleaning the air of the room they are in. If you want even more flowers, expose your Peace Lily to a brighter area of the house or office. The most common mistake is over-watering, so check the soil for too much moisture. Water your peace lily once a week.
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Epipremnum aureum, or Golden Pothos, is an ideal low-light houseplant for its ability to purify the air. According to Green and Vibrant, it’s referred to as devil’s ivy since it’s almost impossible to kill. It can grow in dry, nutrient-poor soil or in a vase filled with water. It is poisonous, so skip this one if you have young children or animals. The sap can cause a rash, so make sure you wear gloves if you have sensitive skin.
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Dracaena marginata add a pop of color to any dark corner. This low-maintenance plant can get up to six feet tall if cared for properly. Dragon trees prefer moderate watering and require a repotting only every two to three years. Dragon trees not only can thrive in low light but bright indirect light as well. You can also propagate dragon trees by placing cut stems in water for three weeks.
Parlor palms, or chamaedorea elegans, have beautiful thin, delicate leaves. Parlor palms love to live in humid temps, or usually between 65° to 80°F. Florida Plants Gardens also recommends fertilizing the soil and spraying the leaves twice a day to keep the plant moist. Avoid repotting parlor palms until the two- to three-year mark to keep their roots healthy. Fun fact: They’re in the same family as coconuts and dates!
Anthurium plants are absolutely eye-catching with their bright red, pink or white “flowers.” These flowers are actually just colored leaves. Similar to parlor plants, anthurium prefers humidity and moist soil. And according to The Sill, they’re one of the world’s longest blooming houseplants—each bloom lasts for about eight weeks long.
via via thesill.com
The name ZZ plant is short for its full name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia. ZZ plants have a cluster of green, waxy leaves. Because of their hearty rhizome stems, they only need to be watered every two to three weeks. Make sure to keep your ZZ plant in low or medium indirect light. Avoid direct light as it can burn the ZZ plant’s leaves.
Adiantum raddianum has small, fan-shaped leaves that almost resemble the look of cilantro. Maidenhair ferns require high humidity and frequent watering. Just make sure to allow the soil to dry in between waterings to prevent soggy, overwatered soil. They are a little more high maintenance than other low-light houseplants, but they’re worth it because of their beautiful, lace-like appearance.
Cast Iron Plant
While we love cast iron recipes, we love cast iron plants just as much. Also known as aspidistra elatior, this strong plant is completely safe for both animals and children. The best part of this plant is that, like you could imagine with a name like cast iron, it can withstand dark lighting and little care making it practically indestructible. All they need is a little water and indirect sunlight.
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