Despite the days getting shorter and mornings getting colder, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this probably hasn't made much of a dent in the growth (or desire to grow) of your plant fam. But with less sun time in each day, it might be wise to focus on a few low-light plants to make it through the winter.
Or maybe you just live in a dark house year round and are sick of being hearing "bright, indirect light" every time you ask how to look after a new plant purchase.
Either way, we got you covered. Below is our list of top twelve low light plants for the home. Enjoy!
THE low-light indoor plant. Aglaonemas are one of the few plants that can adapt to (and survive on) fluorescent lighting. And they don't just tolerate low light conditions - some varieties actually thrive, and throw out new foliage throughout the year.
They're a mainstay in all serious crazy plant people's home due to their variegated and multicoloured foliage, as well as being draft-tolerant. Coupled with their low light tolerance, there's no reason not to have one. Just keep away from nibbling pets - they're toxic!
Two: Cast Iron Plant
The Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) has earnt its name. A near indestructible indoor plant, this guy can tolerate pollution and seasonal temperature changes (oh, hey there Melbourne!) and won't show signs of stress even when its leaves are covered in dust (or ash and fumes from a fireplace). Go one step further and chuck it in a low-light hallway or bathroom and it'll power on like the plant-beast it is.
(Don't get too carried away though, as the Cast Iron Plant does have one - or two! - Achilles heel's...direct sun and regular repotting. Keep it out of direct sunlight and avoid repotting as much as possible. And just because it survives ok without a clean doesn't mean it won't benefit from one...)
Three: Snake Plant
Before you go getting all mad up in the comments section*, read on. I am more than aware that Snake Plants (Sansevieria spp) prefer bright, indirect to medium light. But in a pinch, this is a wonderful option as a unique statement plant that will tolerate a wide range of light levels.
You will need to compensate for the light by adjusting your watering though. Sansev's in low light spots won't take up nearly as much water as their luckier kin in other, brighter, rooms of the house. make sure you keep this in kind when watering to avoid root rot.
Read more about looking after them here.
Four: Peace Lily
If you're in the Indoor Plant Game and haven't had much to do with the Peace Lily, then maybe you need to get more into it. Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum spp) are varied enough to suit any home or personality, and their 'no fuss' vibe means you have a wide range of options in terms of placement. We've covered them previously here, so all you need to know right now is that they can thrive in shade. The lower the light, the less growth and you probably won't see much flowering action, but they are a wonderful option in the 'low light' plant category.
Photo by Maria Elizabeth
Five: Devil's Ivy
I couldn't let this go any lower than #5 on our top 12 low light indoor plants list. Not only do these plants (Epipremnum aureum) tolerate all manner of neglect, but they rarely loose their variegation or colourings when the light conditions gets lower. Similar to the Cast Iron Plant (above), you'll need to stay on top of watering as when placed in a low light space they won't be drawing up much water at all - so err on the side of caution and make sure the mix is dried out between drinks.
Photo by Taylor Heery
Six: Spider Plant
Winner of the 'Most-accurate-common-name' award, Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are rewarding, fast growing plants that tolerate both bright and low light spaces. While in low light they might just be surviving, they still look great and their architectural form means you'll have guests asking about them no matter what room you place them in. (Bathrooms are our favourite though). Better yet, these guys also made it on our best plants for pets list.
Photo by Alberto Nicoletta
Seven: Calathea Rattlesnake
This small-medium plant (Calathea lancifolia) comes packed full of features. It'slong, variegated foliage can look almost artificial, as if someone has gone to town with a brush and paint. They move slightly throughout the day in response to shifting humidity levels, temperature and even their own hydration requirements. Not the easiest plant to look after (it is a Marantaceae, after all), its a great option for spaces away from direct sunlight.
Photo by Axel Vazquez
Eight: Boston Fern
If you want a plant that delivers on the lush, jungle vibes, then look no further than the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis spp). Often thought of as a difficult and messy plant as it has a tendency to drop its small leaves when not happy, truth is if you can get the watering right (we're talking moist soil year round people!), this guy will deliver the goods. Happy in a cool, shaded spot - with the right placement your Boston Fern can become quite the statement plant.
Nine: Peperomia obtusifolia
Need a plant to give to your co-worker come gift-giving season? Look no further than the Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia). Often mistaken for a succulent, this small compact plant has thick glossy green leaves and is crazy low maintenance. While it's keener on a 'bright, indirect light' situation, it performs comfortably in lower light spaces (just think slower growth, less watering...ie perfect for the office!)
Photo by Borzoo Moazami
Ten: Birds Nest Fern
Sure these guys can be a magnet for mealy bug, but if you come armed with a bottle of neem oil and rag you'll be wiping those pests away in no time, and left enjoying the impressive foliage of this low-maintenance fern. And if you need a heads up as to how just how little light it can tolerate, then check out the leaves: the more waves/crinkles in the foliage, the less light it requires.
Photo by Severin Candrian
Eleven: English Ivy
It's all in the name really. English Ivy (Hedera helix) loves cool, lower light spots. Steer clear of a warm room as this will make them more susceptible to Spider Mite. Instead, think low light, well drained potting media and regular feeding to get the best out of this trailing plant. Keep in mind though the English Ivy likes to attach itself to walls to support its upward growth. Keep a close eye on it to make sure its not damaging your home or furniture.
Photo by Anton Darius
Twelve: Arrowhead Plant
It's no secret we are big Syngonium fans here at the Plant Runner. Fast growing with a wide range of variegations, colours and sizes, this fast growing aroid is a great climber and a perfect trailing plant. You can speed up or slow down the growth depending on where you have it around the home - lower light spots will mean the plant moves into slow-mo mode while bright indirect light will send it on an extended growth spurt.
Photo by Yogendra Singh
* please leave a comment. We've been writing these blogs for years now, we don't even know if anyone reads them!
September 27, 2022
I’m reading them! Love your articles. Very informative. Thank you.