With the cold weather out in full force, thoughts of gardening are often far from the front burner. Those are the times that I turn to indoor plants. Growing plants indoors gives you a sense of nature all year round and keeps you busy with some light gardening chores until it is warm enough to garden outside again. But not all homes have a great deal of light coming in, especially during the winter months. Is this the situation in your home? Never fear, these 20 Low Light Indoor Plants will come to the rescue with their ease of care and ability to grow in lower light situations.
These easy-care low light indoor plants will not only grow, but actually thrive in less than optimal conditions. And they don’t have to be boring. Some of the most colorful plants can actually tolerate low-light rooms. Check out my top picks for darker rooms.
All plants do need some light to live, but many are very adaptable when it comes to less than idea sunlight situations. This makes them the perfect choice for light-starved homes and offices. It’s nice to know that the dark corner of your room, can actually be a nice spot to place a plant that will tolerate this condition.
My 20 Favorite Low Light Indoor Plants.
1.Split Leaf Philodendron –Philodendron bipinnatifidum. When this plant is young, the glossy, heart-shaped leaves are quite deeply indented, and as the plant ages, they become more deeply cut as they grow and develop splits in the leaves. Some varieties of split-leaf philodendron have wavy margins and some are smoother. This philodendron likes moderate to bright light but not direct sun, which can cause brown scorch marks on the leaves. It is quite at home indoors in the corner near a window. The plant will grow to 4 feet tall, so it needs a large container.
2. Devil’s Ivy – Pothos Epipremnum. Pothos is one easiest indoor plants to grow in low-light situations. This easy-care vining plant looks great in a hanging basket and can be trained to climb plant poles or looks lovely spilling over the edge of a table or shelf. It likes to be kept slightly on the dry side and is also known as Devil’s Ivy. It is related to the heart leaf philodendron which is looks very much like.
3. Prayer Plant – Calathea. This variegated plant is grown in short containers, since it has a shallow root system. It has several varieties of colors from green and white through to a deep maroon and beige coloring. Prayer plant actually prefers light shade and if you expose it to sunlight, it will fade the colors. They do seem to like humidity and you should try to water less during the winter months.
4. ZZ Plant – Zamioculas Zamiifolia. This guy thrives on less than ideal conditions, so he is right at home in my list of low light plants. If you are looking for a plant that will tolerate a dark corner and other forms of neglect, the ZZ plant is for you! It is the perfect “brown thumb” plant. This plant will even do fine in an office with just fluorescent lighting! It can take dry conditions. Just water it when the top inch or so of soil dries out. Peasy peasy!
5. Parlor Palm –Chamaedorea Elegans. The parlor palm is the perfect plant to grow indoors, since it is one of the shorter varieties of indoor palm trees. Bright light and light watering will keep it happy. Bright sunlight will cause the fronds to burn. I moved one to a south facing window after it had outgrown its small container on an inner room coffee table and the leaves turned a very pale green. The new fronds that are starting to grow show that it is much happier with lower light situations! When fully grown it will get to about 4 feet tall.
Add some pizazz to your home with more plants that can take a lower light situation.
6. Boston Fern – Nephrolepis exaltata. Most ferns do well in low light situations and will burn and go brown if they get too much sunlight. Boston fern is a commonly used fern for indoor situations. Keep it evenly moist and it will continue to get bigger and bigger. This plant looks fabulous, indoors, in a corner on a metal plant stand since the new fronds will spread out and hang over the edge of the stand.
Photo Credit: Flickr
7. Dumb Cane Plant – Dieffenbachia. Dieffenbachia can tolerate low light but does best in bright indirect light. (near but not right in a window is best) The darker the room is, the less you will see of the lovely variegations that a really healthy plant will show. See more tips on growing Dieffenbachia here.
Since the plant is poisonous, (thus the common name!) keep pets and small children away from it. All parts of the plant have some toxin in them. Check out this article for information on Dieffenbachia poisoning.
Some low light plants will even flower!
8. Urn Plant Bromeliad- Aechmea Fasciata. It may seem odd to have a tender tropical in a list of low light indoor plants, but my Aechmea Fasciata bromeliad was indoors and flowering for almost 9 months.When I put it outside, I had to keep it in the shade or the plant leaves would scorch. It sent up pups and is huge now but has not re-flowered yet. This proves that indoor plants in low light spots don’t need to be boring.
9. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum. Many people mistake a Peace Lily for a similar looking plant – a Calla Lily. The two are different though. Peace Lily is normally grown indoors and can take low light, but Calla Lilies are outdoor plants that grow in very different conditions. Peace lilies generally come in just one color – white, whereas Calla lilies come in many and are more often used in floral arrangements or weddings.
Photo credit: Tahmid Munaz – Flickr
10. Arrowhead Plant – Syngonium Podophyllum. It’s easy to see why this plant gets its common name. The leaves are shaped very much like arrowheads. The plant can take very low light conditions and is ideal for indoor use. See more tips on growing syngonium here.
11. Moth Orchid – Phalaenopsis . Perhaps the prettiest plant in my list of low light indoor plants is the Moth Orchid. Moth Orchids are, by far, one of my favorite plants to grow indoors in less than ideal light conditions. They do not require high light levels and will scorch very easily if exposed to too much sunlight. They will grow in conditions similar to that for African violets – east or west facing windows are ideal. I once grew one in a north facing window and it did just fine. See more tips on growing Moth Orchids here.
12. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum. Spider plants are a personal favorite of mine. I had them growing in baskets in an outdoor shady atrium when I lived in Australia and found them incredibly easy to grow. They propagate very easily from the babies that the mature plants send out. The plant pictured here grows on a shelf ledge which gets NO direct sunlight but is in a brightly lit room. I grew it from a tiny baby and it has its own baby now, about a year later.
If you can’t have flowers, try plants with pretty leaf patterns.
13. Rex Begonia – Begonia rex-cultorum. The majestic member of my list of low light indoor plants is Rex Begonia. Rex Begonias are an amazing plant for indoor use. They like bright indirect light. The plant has the most amazing leaf colors and shapes. This red kiss rex begonia is only one variety available. This is another indoor lower light plant that says they do not have to be boring!
Rex begonia is not the only low light indoor begonia. Many tuberous begonias do well indoors with only filtered light.
14. Corn Plant – Dracena Fragrans. Imagine the stalk of a corn plant with striped lines on it and you have a good idea of the Dracena Fragrans plant. The plant does well indoors, but try to get it somewhere near a window. While it will grow in low light conditions indoors, this will cause it to lose its stripes. For more growing tips, see my artifcle on The Corn Plant.
15. Snake Plant – Sansevieria Zeylanica. Snake plants are very easy to grow indoors, even in very low light. The leaves have the look of snakeskin and this gives it the common name Snake Plant. They are not often bothered by plant diseases and NASA research has also shown that they will help to keep your air cleaner.
16. Mother in Law’s Tongue – Sansevieria Trifasciata. Another version of the sansevieria has striped edges and is a good choice for lower light situations, indoors. This variety has a more striped look. Don’t water them too much. They propagate easily from leaf cuttings.
17. Cast Iron Plant – Aspidistra . The easiest plant to grow in my list of low light indoor plants is the Cast Iron Plant. There is a good reason for the common name of this plant. Aspidistra can take a LOT of neglect. It will grow in extremely low light situations and doesn’t mind dust, low humidity, drought and other forms of neglect. It’s the perfect plant for those with “brown thumbs.”
18. Swiss Cheese Plant – Monstera Deliciosa. There are no prizes for guessing how this plant got it’s common name. The distinctive holes in the leaves look amazingly like Swiss cheese. Keep this plant out of bright sunlight, or the leaves will scorch. The plant likes bright light to low light. It can grow quite tall, so give it plenty of room.
19. Flamingo Flower – Anthurium. This plant has the most amazing red flowers with a central yellow-white spike. Anthuriums are protected in their natural habitat by being shaded by the canopy of trees, so they can take quite low light situations and still flower. See more tips on growing the Flamingo Flower Plant here.
20. Watermelon Peperomia – Peperomia Argyreia. There are many varieties of peperomia that will do fine in lower light indoors. This is another plant that often grows under the canopy of trees in the natural habitat. Water as it starts to dry out and give bright indirect light for best results. One of my favorite varieties is the Watermelon peperomia with it’s beautifully striped leaves.
21. Braided Money Tree Plant – Pachira aquatica The braided trunks and glossy green leaves make this stunning indoor plant a real star in the lower light department. This plant does not like direct sunlight. Bright filtered light is fine and it will also grow in darker corners. As an added benefit, the plant is said to bring luck and prosperity to your home. The braided trunk holds in the luck! See how to grow the braided money tree plant here.
If you don’t have a lot of light in your home, perhaps one of these low light indoor plants will be just the one for you. Have you grown others successfully, as well? Please leave the name of it in the comments below and I may add it to my blog post with a shout out to you!
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