These are the best low light indoor plants! If you need to brighten up a dark corner or add a little life to your basement, one of these gorgeous low light plants are sure to do the trick. Here’s which plants thrive without rays, and how to care for them.
Adding plants to the house is my favorite way to bring a little lift to any room. Having plants around makes everything feel lighter, brighter, and more alive. Whether you are new plant parents or seasoned plant owners, houseplants add color and texture to a room, purify the air, and just look nice.
In this post, we will cover:
- The Biology of Low Light Indoor Plants
- How to Care for Low Light Plants Indoors
- Great Read: Grow in the Dark
- 9 Houseplants to Grow in Low-Light Areas
- 1. Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
- 2. Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)
- 3. Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant)
- 4. Epipremnum aureum (Pothos / Devil’s Ivy)
- 5. Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)
- 6. Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
- 7. Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
- 8. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
- 9. Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Zee Zee Plant)
- More Posts About House Plants
The Biology of Low Light Indoor Plants
But what about when you have lighting conditions that are less than ideal? Often people think you can only have house plants in bright spaces that receive plenty of nutrients from the sun. Thankfully, that isn’t always the case.
A handful of tropical, broad-leaf plants are primed for low-light conditions through basic biology: large leaves that soak up as much light as possible. Some also have a waxy outer layer that helps to retain moisture and makes them double-duty crowd-pleasers and low-maintenance indoor plants as well.
How to Care for Low Light Plants Indoors
I often get asked about the care of indoor plants that prefer low light, and my answer is always the same: it depends on the type of plant.
That being said, it is generally true that low light plants don’t require much water, so caring for them can be as simple as planting them in well-drained soil and watering on a monthly basis.
Great Read: Grow in the Dark
I originally wrote this post years ago, but I wanted to update this to include a bit of info about a fantastic resource for growing plants in the darker areas of your home. Grow in the Dark is written by the houseplant guru, Lisa Eldfred Steinbkopf.
I had the chance to meet Lisa at an event in Dallas last year after being a long time fan of her as a houseplant expert. She has another book that I refer to all the time for houseplant care, Houseplants: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Indoor Plants.
If you’re interested in diving deep into the fascinating world of low light plants, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Grow in the Dark. I’m including some quotes and info from Lisa throughout this post.
9 Houseplants to Grow in Low-Light Areas
Here are a few of my favorite low-light houseplants. I hope they bring as much cheer to your home as they have to mine!
1. Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
Aglaonema has striking variegated leaves in shades of red, pink, yellow, and green. Pop this plant in a space that needs some color and you won’t have any need for flowers.
Chinese evergreens thrive in low-light areas and they are also very drought tolerant, so if you forget to water it for a while there will be no harm done. Perfect for people new to houseplants or those who consider themselves “black thumb gardeners.”
When choosing a Chinese evergreen, pay close attention to the color of the plant, says Steinbkopf. “The older hybrids, mostly green colored, can take low light and grow well. The newer colorful hybrids need medium light and do well in an east or west window. If placed in low light, they will lose their bright coloration.” – Grow in the Dark
2. Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant)
Spider plants love low light and do not require much attention other than occasional watering when the soil feels dry. They send out long spindly green foliage and small white flowers that will cascade down the edge of their container, making them a great choice for an indoor hanging basket.
3. Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant)
These low-maintenance houseplants look like small tropical palms, so they will bring a ray of sunshine to that dim, drab area you’ve been meaning to spruce up. Place it somewhere that doesn’t get any direct sunlight and water occasionally, being careful not to overwater. Here’s a bit more info about watering this plant:
“It is important to water evenly over the whole potting medium to avoid rotting the corn plant’s canes. These canes can have small root systems and may need to be straightened after traveling home as well as later as they settle in. Be careful when straightening the canes not to firm the medium too much, which will compact it and force the oxygen out. As they grow, the root systems will get larger and be better able to support the canes.” – Grow in the Dark
Keep in mind that corn plant is toxic to a pet such as a cat or dog, so if you have a furry friend that likes to chew on the houseplants, skip this one.
4. Epipremnum aureum (Pothos / Devil’s Ivy)
If you want a plant that can lend itself to a hanging basket in a low-light spot, this one’s for you! Plant it in a basket or up on a pedestal and watch the variegated green vines trail down in an elegant display.
5. Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)
Marantha leuconeura is a good choice if you want something with a low light indoor plant with bright foliage to add a pop of color to a drab area of the house because its leaves have variegation in rich green, purple, yellow, and red.
This houseplant needs to be kept out of direct sunlight in order for the variegated pattern on the leaves to remain vibrant. Plant it in well-draining soil and mist its leaves regularly. The leaves will point upwards at night like hands in prayer, which is where it got its common name “prayer plant.”
6. Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
If you want something that blooms to bring a little color to a dark corner of your home, choose a moth orchid! You may need to stake the stems to give added support, but this plant thrives indoors.
7. Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
Snake plants are known for being difficult to kill, so they are perfect for a small windowless bathroom, stairway, or bedroom corner. Sansevieria is a type of succulent, which means it retains water in its leaves and can be easy to overwater. Pay attention and only water when the soil feels completely dry to the touch, every three weeks or so.
8. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
These pretty houseplants have lush, dark green leaves and delicate white flowers. In addition to being beautiful, they also do an exceptional job of cleaning the air and keeping it healthy for us. Peace lilies do well in dark or bright areas, so feel free to place these all over your home if you like!
These plants like to be kept moist and humid. Water regularly and mist the leaves as well to keep your peace lily happy and blooming. If you aren’t watering it enough, you will know because the leaves will droop.
Don’t worry, if you see this happening. Just give it a good drink and watch it perk back up in no time. Peace lilies take well to propagation. You can divide them and get new plants for other dark areas in your home.
9. Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Zee Zee Plant)
Not only does this houseplant grow happily in low-light areas of the home, but the zz plant is also very low maintenance. It can be left alone with no attention at all for long periods of time, so you can go on vacation and not worry about coming home to a dead plant. Its glossy, bright green leaves add a cheerful pop of color to any dark space.
Plus, this plant is one that can propagate! Here’s what Grow in the Dark has to say:
“The unusual part of this plant is that it can grow new plants from an individual leaflet, but it takes quite a long time. Place the cut end into moist potting medium and cover with plastic or glass. This process may take many months. The plant can also be divided.”
There you have it! Go ahead and add some plants to that drab corner–you’ll be amazed at how much more welcoming it looks and how much better you feel as a result.