The Best Low Light Plants for Indoor Gardening

Posted on: November 25, 2019

Have you ever wanted to grow houseplants but were afraid that you didn’t have enough light to sustain them? If so, you’re in luck! Low light plants exist, and they thrive in darker environments while still adding a beautiful touch to your home. We’ve picked plants that are easy to grow as well, so both beginner and veteran plant growers can enjoy them.

If you’re not sure what type of lighting your home receives, consider the layout of your space. Any south-facing wall with a lot of windows will get high levels of light. East or west-facing rooms would receive medium light levels throughout the day. Finally, north-facing rooms, or rooms with no windows, experience low lighting conditions.

For plants in rooms with no windows, you need to leave the lights on for at least 12 hours a day. If you can’t do this, aim to rotate your low light plants into a room with medium light levels for a few weeks before bringing them back to your windowless room. This will keep them healthy and growing well.

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16 Beginner-Friendly Low Light Plants

Whether you want to add a splash of color to your space, or just spruce up your room with a little greenery, the right plants can help. According to an NASA study, plants can give you cleaner indoor air too!

lucky bamboo

1. Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo is a sculptural houseplant with a reputation for bringing good luck into the household. You’ll find them sold in artistic shapes like loops, braids, hearts, and curlicues. The frilly leaf topknot adds a fun flourish to the plant’s stems. It grows in a variety of sizes and shapes that make it an excellent match for any room or decor.To keep the plant healthy, move it into the sun a few times a year. In midsummer, move your Lucky Bamboo plant to your porch or a north-facing room or area of your yard for a few weeks.
ZZ plant

2. ZZ Plant

Forgetful plant owners rejoice! The ZZ plant is exceptionally forgiving and hardy. It loves very sporadic watering and low light conditions. Since the plant grows so slowly, you won’t have to think about dividing or re-potting it for years after you get it. The glossy and thick leaves create an eye-catching look, and it grows to a maximum height of between 16 and 18 inches tall. Its ability to thrive under fluorescent lights makes it a popular office plant.To keep this plant healthy, water it once every week or two and keep it out of the direct sunlight. Take a damp cloth and wipe the dust off of the plant’s leaves every few weeks to restore their beautiful glossy look.
nerve plant

3. Nerve Plant

This small plant comes from Peru, and it has fun, frilly leaves that come in a variety of colors. You can find solid or bicolor versions, and the leaves can be mostly or partially white, pink, or light green. This plant only grows to between 6 and 12 inches tall, so it does very well in small containers, windowsill planters, or terrariums with low lighting and routine watering.The Nerve Plant’s leaves will lose some of their vibrant coloring in lower light conditions, and green will dominate over the other colors. However, you’ll get gorgeous and lush leaves all year round. To keep the leaves full, pinch back the new growth every few weeks.
ivy plant

4. Ivy

Both English and Algerian Ivy plants do well in lower light with bi-weekly watering sessions. They can add the impression of height to your home, and they thrive when hanging from the ceiling in baskets or in planters where they can sprawl. Ivy plants produce long, trailing vines with large, lush green leaves that add a focal point to any room.To keep your Ivy healthy, let it dry out completely between watering sessions, and make sure that you don’t put it in an area of direct light. The leaves can burn. Use loose soil, and it’s best to grow these plants in a slightly larger pot because they experience rapid growth.
snake plant

5. Snake Plant

The snake plant goes by many names, including mother-in-law’s tongue. Other names reference the sword-like leaves that stick straight up in the air. You can get different varieties of this plant with leave shapes ranging from narrow and long or wide and short to cylindrical. Another bonus with this low light houseplant is its range of colors. It comes in yellow, white, and green-striped or splashed leaves for an eye-catching look.To keep this plant healthy and growing, keep it out of direct light. It loves darker rooms, and dry conditions. If you overwater it, you can end up rotting the roots. It should be allowed to completely dry between light watering sessions.
corn plant

6. Corn Plant

Add a little drama to your room with the corn plant! Leafy foliage gives this giant houseplant a dramatic look. Also known as the mass cane, it has a thick, cane-like stem with dark or light green stripes. It grows in both high or low lighting conditions very well. If you want to brighten up a dark corner, look for the yellow and green variety.If you place your corn plant in a darker room, you’ll get a very slow-growing and deep green plant. You can coax color out of the leaves by temporarily moving this plant outdoors or into an area of your home with a high level of light.
spider plant

7. Spider Plant

This hard-working, classic, full, and spiky houseplant loves low light. Called the Airplane Plant, it continually produces baby plants at the tips of its spikes, and you can pinch them off to grow new plants if you wish. Plant it in a hanging basket and let it cascade down, or plant it in a traditional pot to achieve a mounding table-side plant. You can add the small baby plants to the base of other plants to create a frilly look.Place this plant in a bathroom, dark hallway, or bedroom. If you notice the leaf tips starting to turn brown, there is too much humidity in the air. Snip these tips off and decrease the moisture to bring your plant back to a healthy state.
arrowhead plant

8. Arrowhead Plant

Known for producing large arrow-shaped leaves, this is a vining plant that will cascade down whatever you place it on. The leaves feature bronze, green, and white coloring. You can start it in a traditional pot, but it’s best to move it to a basket and let it hang as it grows bigger. Pinching back the vines will allow you to keep a more compact look, and it does best out of direct sunlight.Ideally, you want to get the all-green and less variegated arrowhead plants for darker areas of your home. The darker green coloring will keep the plant healthy and thriving, even if you never move it to high or medium light areas.
ponytail palm

9. Ponytail Palm

Whimsical and sculptural, this plant features a stocky trunk that gives way to a frilly topknot of thin, strap-like leaves. There are large tree-size versions and petite tabletop versions of this plant available, and the base of the plant stores water. It can go weeks between watering without wilting, and over-watering it can cause yellowing.This is a very adaptable plant that will grow very well in all light conditions ranging from dark to high light. Use loose, sandy soil when you plant it that allows for most of the water to pass through it when you water it.
calathea plant

10. Calathea

This bright and vibrant low light houseplant loves dark corners. You’ll get large leaves with scalloped edges that are a deep green color with silver highlights. The bottom of the leaves features a rich, royal purple for a sharp contrast. They make great table toppers and floor plants because they grow up to three feet tall. This plant adds a pop of color and texture to bedrooms and dens, and it’s very slow-growing.If you notice the leaves of this plant develop dry tips, this means there isn’t enough humidity for it. Get a tray of pebbles, fill it with a little water, and set the plant on the rocks. This will increase the moisture directly around the plant.
monstera plant

11. Monstera

This tropical-themed houseplant adds a lush element to any room with leaves that are two-feet in width, and which feature large holes or cuts. When this plant is small, it makes an attractive mound. However, it turns more vine-like as it grows. You’ll need to give it something to climb, like a trellis or a cane.Putting this plant in low lighting conditions will dramatically slow down its growth. If you want to keep it compact, trim off any excess growth as you notice it. Water it once a week, and keep the humidity relatively high to mimic the plant’s natural jungle home.
maidenhair fern

12. Maidenhair Fern

Any fern-type houseplant is going to require a little more vigilance and labor to keep it healthy and thriving. This species does well in medium to low lighting conditions, and in a larger planter. This plant can grow up to a few feet high, but it’s picky about the growing environment. It’ll add a delicate touch to any decor.To keep this plant healthy, plant it in arid soil and lower the humidity level in the room. However, its roots and stem must be kept consistently moist for it to grow properly, and for the leaves to keep their vibrant green coloring. If the leaves start to turn brown, water or mist it more frequently.
anthurium plant

13. Anthurium

This dynamic, compact houseplant can grow very well in medium or low lighting. It has deep green, heart-shaped leaves that stand out in striking contrast to the flowers. It’ll bloom with white, red, or pink flowers a few times a year if you keep the water levels up. The leaves have a glossy shine to them, as well.This plant requires continuously moist soil to continue blooming. Once the blooms die, you can remove them from the stalk and wait for it to bloom again. It only needs a small container.
japanese sago palm

14. Japanese Sago Palm

Another dramatic and striking entry to the list, the Japanese Sago Palm lets you bring a little of the tropics right into your home. They grow well in very sandy, well-draining soil, and they’ll forgive you if you forget to water them for a week or two. They can grow anywhere from 5 to 12 feet high and have a spread of 4 to 5 feet wide.You will have to move this plant to bright or medium-light areas of your home a few times a year to keep it healthy. It’s a very slow-growing plant that can take 10 years to fully mature, and it’ll need an ever larger pot to support growth as the years pass.
peace lily

15. Peace Lily

If you have pets, avoid the Peace Lily because it can be toxic, causing mouth sores and digestive problems. This plant grows in a variety of lighting conditions, and it comes with striking, deep green leaves. The pure white flowers create a sharp contrast and an elegant look. This is a larger plant that needs room to grow.Putting your houseplant in lower light will slow down the growth. However, this plant will bloom several times throughout the year. You want to water it lightly once a week, and take a damp cloth to wipe any dust off of the leaves.
prayer plant

16. Prayer Plant

The final low light houseplant on our list is the small Prayer Plant. This is a very compact houseplant that is happy to grow on your desk, side table, or in areas of your home with the occasional bout of direct sunlight. It has mottled deep green leaves with splashes of lime green.You’ll have to plant your Prayer Plant in an airy, loose soil. It likes the soil to drain well between watering, but you also need higher humidity levels. Setting this plant in a tray on pebbles with shallow water will keep it growing.

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