If you live in an apartment or perhaps there are rooms in your home that receive less direct sunlight than others, you may be a bit reticent about locating houseplants in these darker spots. If you love houseplants and miss having a bit of green in these low-light areas, fear not!
Some houseplants do exceptionally well in low-light conditions and other plants will adapt well to low light conditions. They may grow more slowly, but they do, nonetheless, thrive.
Each houseplant has specific needs and will require varying levels of care and maintenance. It might be easier if all plants were equal, but it certainly wouldn’t be as much fun or bring the same amount of satisfaction when you see them thrive.
Two of the principal differences we encounter in indoor gardening are how much water plants require and how much natural light they need.
While most of us may start out cultivating indoor plants thinking that they need tons of bright natural sunlight exposure to grow green leaves, that’s not really true. Several plants actually thrive more when exposed to less light.
Less light, however, does not mean “no” light. Plants that do well in low-light conditions will need some amount of indirect sunlight to survive.
Here is our list of 10 best low-light houseplants plus 2 surprises to grow and love.
1. Arrowhead Plant
A vining plant native to regions in Central America, the Syngonium podophyllum does very well in a low light environment. It boasts beautiful green foliage but can produce variegated leaves or leaves bronze in hue.
If you purchase a baby or very young plant, it will appear as a low bush or mound. But it will begin to vine sooner than you think. As a vining plant, it is perfect for trellis climbing or hanging baskets.
If you want bushier growth, pinch your plant to stop it from appearing leggy. Water when the soil bed is dry to the touch, and position in low to medium indirect light.
2. Cast Iron Plant
As the name implies, this is a plant that will feel like it was literally cast in iron, thriving on neglect. The Aspidistra elatior requires very little from plant parents as it thrives in low light levels and only requires occasional waterings.
As a slow grower, it rarely needs to be repotted, so it asks very little in return for providing attractive elongated green foliage to dress up your home or office décor. Water it when you feel the top couple inches of the soil is dry.
3. Chinese Evergreen
The Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreen is one of today’s most popular low-maintenance houseplants. It features lovely, elongated oval-shaped leaves that are truly decorative anywhere it is placed. It is a forgiving plant, as it can manage with both dry soil and a bit of overwatering.
Treated well, it will reward you with the growth of full luscious foliage. Pay attention to colors, as green-colored Chinese evergreens do better in low light conditions. New hybrids with colorful leaves will require medium light. The Aglaonema generally prefers low light or indirect light at the most.
4. Dracaena Fragrans (Corn Plant)
Prefer a taller bright shiny floor plant? Consider a Corn Plant botanically called the Dracaena fragrans. Often sold as an indoor tree reaching heights of up to six feet, it is a stunning bright addition to any room.
If the green leaves fade, simply remove them. When the top of the soil is dry, you can water it. Place the plant in a spot where it will receive low light or indirect light.
This is a toxic plant if you have pets. Low light and moderate humidity make for a happy Dracaena.
5. Golden Pothos
The Golden Pothos, Epipremnum aureum, is most probably in direct competition with the Philodendron as one of the easiest houseplants to cultivate. A vining plant, it will climb poles and trellises, or flow downward from cascading hanging baskets.
The pothos is often confused with the philodendron for their similar appearances. It comes in quite a few variegated choices that boast chartreuse to dark green, white/green, or yellow/green versions.
The pothos thrives in just about any spot in the home, but needs to be kept out of direct light. Low to medium indirect light is preferred. It likes moist soil, so water when the top of the soil is dry.
Water when the soil bed is dry to the touch and position in low or medium indirect light.
6. Peperomia Obtusfolia
Peperomia are beautiful low-growing plants, making them ideal for dish gardens or terrariums. They won’t grow higher than ten inches tall, so if you have a smaller place for a plant, this one may be a perfect choice.
Available in various shapes of foliage and colors, its natural habitat is the rain forest, meaning it likes humidity. If you’d like some green in a bathroom that doesn’t have the best sun exposure, the peperomia plant will be a happy resident.
Make sure it has well-drained soil and gets low to medium indirect light. Bright light won’t help this low-light indoor plant grow faster.
7. Philodendron Plant
The Philodendron is a great low-maintenance houseplant and happy to grow in darker locations. These plants are rapid-growing viners that look great cascading down from a hanging basket or atop a high shelf. They are also quite forgiving if you happen to forget to water them.
Dark green heart-shaped satiny leaves will reward you wherever you choose to locate one. Stems can reach eight feet in length, so place them where vines can flow downward or pinch them to achieve fuller, bushier growth.
Give it some water when the top couple inches of soil are dry. It’lll do well in indirect, low to medium light.
8. Prayer Plant
The Prayer Plant is one of the best small indoor plants, making it perfect for tabletops and smaller spaces. Botanically named Maranta leuconeura, it’s a tropical plant that features tricolored foliage of green, red, and yellow. It is called the “Prayer Plant” due to the foliage movement. The leaves lay flat in the daytime and fold upward in prayer during the night.
This low-maintenance plant likes warm temperatures and a certain amount of humidity, making it a good choice for bathrooms or even kitchens. The Prayer plant does very well in low light conditions because sunlight exposure will burn its beautiful leaves.
It can be positioned near a north-facing window. Low light and moderate to high moisture will help this plant thrive.
9. Snake Plant
If you want a plant that is almost impossible to damage or kill, the Snake plant or Sansevieria is the houseplant to select. These plants are perfect for any corner or windowless space in your home or office.
It is a kind of succulent, so its foliage retains water. With this plant, you will need to take care to not overwater as opposed to forgetting to water it. Water every three to four weeks and only if the soil has dried.
It’s a lover of low-light situations, perfect for travelers or for offices closed on the weekends.
10. ZZ Plant
Zamioculcos zamiifolia otherwise affectionately called the “ZZ Plant” is one of our top two low-light plant choices together with the Sansevieria. The ZZ can sit in a dark corner or even in a room without windows if there are fluorescent lights, making it perfect for offices, workshops, or commercial businesses.
A native of Africa, it does well in very arid conditions, so if you are forgetful when it comes to watering, or travel frequently, the ZZ is the plant for you. It looks great as a floor plant as it features long stems that grow upright with luscious dark and glossy leaves.
This is a houseplant that is relatively independent and forgiving in nature, even when somewhat neglected. Water when the top inch of the soil bed dries out and place in a spot with low to medium indirect light.
Indoor Low Light Plants That Flower
For those of you who prefer flowering indoor low-light plants and like blooms to provide a pop of color, here are a couple top choices:
11. Anthurium Plant
A tropical plant that boasts bright vivid colored blooms, the Anthurium does very well indoors as long as there is moist soil. Native to tropical rainforests, they prefer high humidity, so decorating a bathroom with one is ideal. The Anthurium is an epiphyte that will attach itself to trees, and gather water and nutrients from the air.
A cousin to the peace lily plant, it features woody roots. Flowers have a spadix hooded by a vibrant spathe with numerous tiny flowers. Spathes can be found in pink, salmon, bright red, and even variegated patterns.
With the correct care, this plant will bloom all year round. Low to moderate filtered indirect light is best.
12. Peace Lily Plant
These are excellent low-light plants par excellence! The Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum, produces large, elongated oval-shaped leaves in a dark green hue bringing elegance to any room. However, they will also reward plant parents with lovely white hooded flowers that can last up to two months.
The peace lily likes plenty of water. If you see the leaves dropping, it’s letting you know that the plant is thirsty. Not an authentic lily, even if the bloom resembles one, it is toxic to pets. They do exceptionally well in low-light conditions.
Low Light Plants Final Thoughts
These 12 low-light plants offer something different than your average houseplant. Some are more suited to office environments while others thrive in areas where natural sunlight isn’t available.
Regardless of which type you choose, I hope you enjoy them and find success growing them.
Here are guides for other popular houseplants that are good in low-light locations: