20 Best Low-Light Houseplants for Your Home

10 Apr 2022

There are plenty of houseplants that will thrive in bright and sunny areas, however, there are a few that prosper in shady locations too. It is often a challenge for gardeners to find the right home for their houseplants that supplies them with enough sunshine. If you’d like to know about some plants that prefer full sun then read this article.

A few houseplants can live in a room without any windows, however, they may still require some artificial light too. Low-light houseplants suit those dark or dim-lit areas like your desk, office space, and dining room.

That’s why low-light loving plants are perfect for indoors, especially those shady rooms that need a pop of greenery. The potted plants that we’ll be discussing can tolerate and even flourish in partial shade or full shade.

1. Pothos

The pothos genus, especially some specific varieties such as the ‘golden pothos’, can easily be grown in varying degrees of shade. You simply need to do your research on which varieties need the least sunlight. Also keep in mind that this plant is even easier to grow because it doesn’t need to be watered that often, only about once a week.

The fact that there are so many varieties of the pothos is actually a selling point of the plant, since you have the option to choose a pothos in almost any shape, size, or color that you could want from a climber.

But no matter which variety you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the long leaves of this climber that can be displayed in multiple ways due to the durable and flexible nature of the vine. And although this houseplant doesn’t flower, it can still add an almost tropical look to the room it’s in.

2. Asparagus Fern

The asparagus fern is not only a plant that can grow in shadier spots, but it’s one that actually prefers it that way. The reason being that this plant grows under the trees in its natural habitat, so shady areas do a good job of replicating that environment.

As far as ferns go, this is a beautiful one with its long stems and thorny, needle shaped foliage. But surprisingly the same foliage that is needle-shaped is actually quite soft and fuzzy in texture and appears feathery much like other types of ferns.

Just note that although this plant doesn’t require much sun, it can still be a little diva-like, so it helps to research this lovely plant beforehand so you know to take care of it.

3. ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant is really popular as an office plant because of its ability to grow without much light. In fact, this plant can grow without any natural lighting at all, although a little bit of indirect sunlight here and there is good for it.

Another quality that makes it great for offices though, is the fact that it doesn’t need to be watered often so it probably won’t wilt away if you go on vacation for a week. During the colder seasons it can actually go a month without water. This drought resistance is probably because the ZZ plant originates from Africa.

Be prepared that some people might think this plant is fake though! Because the bright green leaves have such a waxy coating, it has been mistaken for being made out of plastic on some occasions.

4. Corn Plant

The corn plant, part of the dracaena genus, is a rather large plant that can grow to be heights of 6 feet (nearly 2 meters). If you’re interested in large plants, then you might enjoy reading this list on the top fifteen large houseplants.

This houseplant also has a very unique shape, it’s composed of a long and thick stem which sprouts long leaves near the top.

But the reason that the corn plant has landed itself on this list isn’t because of its odd shape, it’s here because it’s the type of houseplant that you really can’t go wrong with, where lighting is concerned at least. It can thrive in bright spots or shady spots, the only place where it shouldn’t be is in the path of direct sunlight.

5. Peace Lily

The peace lily is another plant which might make a good option for those working in an office since fluorescent lighting can actually be a good thing for it. You see, the peace lily’s leaves will become scorched fairly easily if placed in the sun but it does need a little light to survive. Fluorescent lighting can be the perfect solution to this problem.

This plant does bloom, but contrary to popular belief, the white “flowers” that peace lily creates isn’t the bloom at all. The spiky circle that’s in the middle is the actually flower, the white petal-like thing surrounding it is merely a leaf. But any case, the “blooms” of this plant are beautiful.

6. Monstera

Monstera isn’t technically just one type of plant, much like the pothos at the beginning of this list, it’s actually a genus full of varieties. But rest assured that within this genus there are plenty of specific types of monstera that will thrive in low lighting, because this genus is very hardy overall.

This genus is mostly comprised of various climbers, most of which have large and tropical looking leaves. The tropical look makes sense because this genus of plants hails from the rainforests in Central America, which also explains its ability to grow in low light.

Just do your due diligence when choosing a monstera variety to grow, in order to make sure you get one that will suit your tastes.

7. Arrowhead Plant

The arrowhead plant actually goes by many different names so you may know it as arrowhead vine, arrowhead philodendron (it isn’t a philodendron although the plant family it belongs to is similar to both the philodendron and pothos family), American evergreen, or even goosefoot!

Whether you know it by arrowhead plant or one of its other names, the fact that it grows well in low-lighting remains the same. But if you keep it in extremely low-light areas then you need to make sure not to overwater it, as its a common problem for this houseplant the dimmer the lighting gets.

8. Prayer Plant

The prayer plant is a smaller type of plant than you’ve been seeing on this list (if you’d like to see more smaller variations then you could check out this article on other small houseplants) and tends to spread out more than grow tall.

The standout feature of this houseplant is its tri-colored leaves that can be very eye-catching when displayed in your home, but these leaves will burn if it’s placed in direct sunlight which is why it’s best suited to lower light levels.

Indirect light is best, but if it has to be placed in a shady area then it can still survive.

9. English Ivy

The English ivy is another houseplant that grows the best if you’ve researched all the environmental conditions that need to be met for it to thrive, this climber, or maybe should we say trailer, can be a little finicky. The reason that distinction needs to be made is that this plant is often left to hang out of baskets and create a lovely trailing effect.

But back to how to take care of it! One condition you need to be mindful of is of course, the lighting. It will thrive in indirect sunlight, and can’t handle directly being exposed to the sun. Another condition is humidity, the English ivy needs to be in a warm and humid environment or it could dry up.

10. Hoya

The hoya plant has been recently becoming more and more popular, mostly because of its stunning, evergreen foliage that sprouts from its woody stems. The stems grow in a vine-like way, and in addition to the waxy, oval shaped leaves, the hoya also sports small clusters of flowers when it blooms.

In terms of lighting, the hoya would do the best in bright, indirect lighting. But if it’s moved into an even lower-lit area then you don’t have to worry about it withering away. It will simply stop growing and blooming which isn’t a deal breaker if you don’t mind the missing blooms and it’s already to a size that you enjoy.

11. Begonia

Yet another full family of plants that made this list is the begonia genus, which includes about 1,500 different varieties. Within these varieties you will find different shapes, colors, and markings ranging from pink blossoms with arrow shaped leaves to long, emerald leaves with white spotting.

And almost any variety of begonia will be able to grow well in indirect sunlight, most varieties will even be able to grow in shade although the growth may slow down a bit from the normal rate.

If you’d like a specific begonia suggestion then the “wax begonia” is commonly talked about as a good option for dimly lit areas. This little houseplant is brightly colored, so it could really cheer up a shadowy space.

12. Spider Plant

The spider plant might just be one of the most agreeable plants out there. It can be grown in many different levels of lighting and can even survive under artificial lighting if it needs to. And it’s pretty easy to take care in other ways as well, making this a great houseplant for beginners.

It is often displayed by being left to hang down out of baskets, as its long, arching leaves can grow to be very long. When the spider plant reaches maturity you can expect to have a plant that is 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meters) tall, and it will typically have a spread of 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters).

Because this plant is so easy to take care of, it’s been to known to live 50 years under the best care! But it’s average lifespan is considerably shorter, although still long for a houseplant, coming in at about 20 years.

13. Anthurium

The popular anthurium plant is a fan favorite among gardeners because of its beautiful foliage and gorgeous blooms. It also provides a bit of a challenge since it can be a little diva-esque, which many advanced gardeners enjoy.

Because the anthurium comes from the rainforest it needs filtered lighting to truly thrive and produce its show-stopping blooms. But although it performs the best in bright, indirect lighting, it can also live in shady areas although it’s less likely to bloom.

If you are able to find the perfect lighting for this plant then you’ll be rewarded with bright red, pink, or white blooms that will last about two months before withering away. But don’t worry, a healthy anthurium can bloom up to 5 times a year so you won’t have to wait long for the next one.

14. Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese evergreen is another beginner-friendly selection, and is notoriously easy to take care of. It won’t even show too much damage if you forget to water it sometimes. And it doesn’t hurt that this plant is very nice to look at, with its short stems and glossy, large, ovular leaves.

By far, one of the most convenient aspects of this plant is that it can be placed in bright, indirect sunlight or in even shadier areas. Plus, it can do well under fluorescent lights so it can also be kept in offices and similar areas without looking any worse for wear.

And although it will eventually grow large enough that it’s best suited for placement on the floor, for a long time this plant can be placed on top of desks as a little bit of decoration.

15. Parlor Palm

You have to have at least one palm in a houseplant list, and the parlor palm will be the palm selection for today. This palm tree has bamboo-like trunks that sprout classic, deep green palm fronds near the top.

Similarly to other plants on this list, the parlor palm does best when it’s exposed to bright, indirect sunlight although it can also be grown in shady areas. You just need to expect slightly leggier growth and/or slowed growth.

The parlor palm is closely related to the areca palm and the majesty palm.

16. Philodendron

The philodendron genus is made up of about 500 different varying species of houseplants, most of which can do well in areas with indirect sunlight. And furthermore, they can survive in shady areas and the only negative would be some slightly leggy growth.

But if you do decide that you need to move your philodendron to a more optimal place then you can do so without fear that it will upset the balance of the plant, philodendrons are hardy houseplants and don’t mind changes in environment as much as some others.

All these characteristics make this genus ideal for beginners, no matter which variety you choose. And remember that there are two main categories of this genus, vines and non-climbers, so you can take your pick!

17. Lucky Bamboo

The lucky bamboo plant is part of the the same genus as the corn plant that we talked about earlier, the dracaena genus. And you should note that it isn’t actually a bamboo plant at all, but it’s stems closely resemble bamboo. In reality, lucky bamboo is closer to being a succulent.

This fun plant is best suited for indirect sunlight, and you can experiment a bit with how much light it receives. If it begins to fade in color then it might be time to give it more light, but if it doesn’t then you’re probably good to go with your current location.

18. Snake Plant

We just have one more plant to suggest from the dracaena genus today, and that is the snake plant. Quite possibly, we saved the best for last as well. Because the snake plant has a reputation for being a very hardy houseplant that even people without a green thumb can make thrive.

As you may have guessed by its place in this list, as well as the fact that it’s so easygoing, the snake plant will do very well in indirect sunlight and even survive in shady areas. Every other aspect for caring for this plant is equally as simple as well, making this the ultimate beginner’s plant.

And as an added bonus, snake plants have been proven to cleanse the air. This is why many people choose to have this houseplant in their bedrooms.

19. Staghorn Fern

The staghorn fern has a very unique growth process, because naturally… it grows off of other plants instead of soil (normally trees and rocks). People have found ways to display this special plant in a few creative ways though, popular options are mounting them on wooden boards or placing them in baskets.

When it comes to placement, opt for shadier spots or areas with indirect sunshine. The staghorn fern has a tendency to burn if it’s left in the path of the sun which is the trait that earned it its spot on this list.

20. Cast Iron Plant

Last but not least is a plant that is almost indestructible, the cast iron plant. It can handle all sorts of neglect and still survive, and is therefore suggested for people without much confidence for gardening.

And this ability to survive almost anywhere means that this plant could live even in the shadiest spots of your home. The only thing that will truly harm this plant is direct sun.

This plant and its glossy, green leaves come from dark forests in China and Japan which explains a lot.

Final Remarks

We’ve listed the best houseplants to place in those dim and shady areas throughout your home. It’s a great way to add some color and greenery to these dark locations.

And you may have noticed that many plants which can grow in low-lighting are tropical varieties, much like many of the plants in our article about large-leaved houseplants.

Each of these houseplants may not require tons of sunshine to survive, however, they will still require some TLC. You should visit our other care guides to discover how to keep your houseplants thriving and surviving.

Leave a comment if you have something to share with us

Your email address will not be published.