So, you want a sprawling indoor jungle, but your home is sunlight-challenged? Especially if your space lacks sunlight, having plants around can make your space feel warmer and brighter. Luckily, there are plenty of indoor plants that tolerate low light conditions.
As with any living thing, plants evolved by adapting to their natural environment. True low light houseplants are that way because they originate from habitats where they don’t have access to sunlight, such as the bottom of a forest floor or under canopy plants that block sunlight.
If your home leans toward the dark side, read on to find out which low light indoor plants you should get.
Small Indoor Plants That Tolerate Low Light
Because low light plants don’t get as much sunlight, they grow slower than their light-hogging counterparts. If you have a smaller space such as a countertop or desk that you want to decorate with a small indoo plant, these are great options for you.
It’s rumored that this vine plant got the nickname “Devil’s Ivy” because of its ability to survive in complete darkness. Despite it’s malicious nickname, pothos are pretty and lively plants with waxy, round leaves. Pothos are low maintenance and hardy, only requiring water once every two or so weeks. Popular pothos varieties include marble queen, silver, and lemon lime.
While philodendrons are commonly mistaken for pothos due to their heart-shaped leaves, they are differentiated by their thinner and softer leaf texture. Philodendron care is similar to pothos care: water and expose to light sparingly. Popular philodendron varieties include philodendron green, heartleaf, and brasil.
These cute, compact plants are perfect as a desk plant. In addition to being low-light tolerant, peperomia are pet safe. While they come in over a hundred varieties, common peperomia include ginny stone, ginny clay, watermelon, and obtusifolia.
These vining plants look stunning in a hanging basket, pedestal, or climbing up a trellis. While hoya do best in bright indirect light, they can also adapt to low-light conditions.
Bird’s Nest Fern
These fun, frilly plants grow best in areas with high humidity and medium to low indirect light. Their leaves get more crinkly with more sunlight, and flatter in darker conditions.
With their bold-patterned leaves, prayer plants make a pretty decorative addition to any plant shelf or home desk. Maranta get their “prayer plant” nickname from the way the leaves fold in the evening, resembling praying hands. Prayer plants are sensitive to cold and prefer filtered water.
Calathea is a closer relative to the Maranta, and is a separate genus in the Marantaceae family. Similar to their maranta cousins, calathea also sport a striped leaf pattern, but come in more leaf shape varieties.
Spider plants featured spindly, thin leaves that splay out like spider legs. They are highly adaptable and breed easily. While they can survive in low light, spider plants will reward you with more offshoots when exposed to bright indirect light.
Also known as Syngonium, Arrowhead plants get their name from their arrow-shaped leaf shape (bet you wouldn’t have guessed that). These babies can tolerate low light, but will grow quicker in bright, indirect light. They’re toxic to cats and dogs, so make sure to keep your arrowhead out of reach of your furry friends.
Chinese Evergreen plants (Aglaonema) are robust and low-maintenance plants that come in multiple variations, including variegated. They thrive in medium to low light conditions, but make sure wherever they are that they receive moderate temperatures (at least 60°F).
Cast Iron Plant
True to its name, the Cast Iron Plant is a hardy plant that can tolerate a range of light and water conditions. It sports arching deep-green glossy leaves and can grow in full shade, making it perfect for those dark corners in your home.
These tropical, colorful plants vary in light preference based on their genus. Bromeliads with soft, flexible leaves, such as Guzmania and Vriesea, tend to prefer lower light levels. Bromeliads with stiff leaves prefer bright, indirect light. Before bringing a bromeliad home, make sure to confirm with your nursery sales associate what light level it will thrive in.
Large Indoor Plants That Tolerate Low Light
Tall plants can make a statement in any room, however dark it is. Large plants are especially good for filling out corner spaces, which tend to be too small to occupy furniture. If you have corners in your home that don’t get direct sunlight, these tall indoor plants could be for you.
Many of the plants on this list, such as Zz and Peace Lily, start out small but have the potential to grow into a “large” plant (e.g. taller than 4 feet).
Monstera are tropical plants with dramatic, fenestrated leaves. While they can tolerate a range of light levels, they will grow faster and sport bigger holes in bright, indirect light. They can grow between 6 and 10 feet tall.
The Snake “plant” (Sansevieria) is actually a succulent, and can tolerate very low water and light levels. It will grow quicker in bright, indirect light and can even tolerate some direct light. Common snake plant varieties include Laurentii and Zeylanica.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia, more commonly abbreviated to Zz, is a striking plant with small, waxy leaves that grow on elegant curved stems. Despite receiving very minimal sunlight, the Zz I have on my desk has been thriving for almost a year now. While they tolerate no to low light, Zz plants will reward you with more growth if it’s placed in indirect light, and can grow up to 5 ft tall.
Peace lilies sport full, glossy foliage and bloom a single white flower once in its lifetime. While they can adapt to low light conditions, your peace lily may have trouble blooming if it doesn’t receive indirect sunlight.
Also called Dumbcane, Dieffenbachia are adaptable plants that grow quickly. They respond best to filtered light, so if possible place it near a curtained window that filters incoming sunlight.
Parlor palms are attractive tropical plants that adapt surprisingly well to indoor environments. While they prefer some bright indirect light, they parlor palms can adapt to low light conditions.
Pet Safe Low Light Indoor Plants
Before you bring a plant home, you want to make sure it’s non-toxic to pets. Here is a list of low light indoor plants that are safe for cats and dogs:
- Bird’s Nest Fern
- Spider Plant
- Cast Iron Plant
- Parlor Palm
Just because your home doesn’t get as much sunlight as a tropical jungle, doesn’t mean you can’t grow an indoor garden. Decorate your home with these low light indoor plants for your own nature-filled oasis.
Photo credit: Miami Jungle