20 Beautiful Low Light Houseplants
Adequate light for houseplants is an issue in many households. Most plants will only thrive if there’s lots of light. But there’s no reason why you can’t have plants even if your home isn’t the epitome of brightness.
There are plenty of low light indoor plants that you can choose over plants that love basking in the sun if your home is not exposed to enough sunlight during the day.
The plants I gathered below are perfect for an indoor environment that doesn’t seem to excel in the light department, but it can provide enough light for these low light plants to survive.
1. Pothos Plant
Pothos plants are very adaptable to a range of environments including low light conditions. They don’t tolerate direct light, however, but if you’re searching for low light plants, this probably won’t be an issue in your home.
Because of the vining leaves, pothos plants look great in hanging baskets. The heart-shaped leaves and interesting variegations make for a beautiful green plant that will quite literally brighten up the room.
Pothos plants spread to 6 to 10 feet or even more under the right circumstances, so you will need to do a bit of pruning to keep it at a size that’s convenient for you.
2. Snake Plant
When it comes to light conditions, snake plants can withstand quite the spectrum — they can do well in low light, handle full sun, but ideally, they should be kept in indirect light.
With their sword-like, upright leaves, snake plants add elegance to any space. While snake plant care is very easy, you should be careful about overwatering, which can easily kill the plant.
A good draining soil and a good watering routine are all that you need to keep your snake plant happy and thriving. Snake plants are available in multiple cultivars, each more splendid than the other, with tinted, variegated or striped leaves.
3. Spider Plant
Another highly adaptable houseplant is the spider plant, which is more suited for hanging baskets as they can stretch out to as much as 3 feet long.
With long, arching leaves that are bright green, the spider plant is an easy plant that’s not picky about its conditions. Low light conditions aren’t a major issue, but direct sunlight is a problem.
A well-draining soil that’s kept evenly moist is a must for this plant, although missing a few watering sessions here and there will not cause any major issues to this plant.
4. ZZ Plant
The ZZ plant is not called ‘unkillable’ for nothing. It’s a resilient, hardy plant that’s not bothered by low light conditions. Zamioculcas zamiifolia tolerates neglect and it’s a drought-resistant plant.
Because of its wide, waxy and smooth leaves, they reflect sunlight, brightening up your room. Besides this, it also has air purifying properties, so they’re useful to keep around. Except that they’re poisonous, so be careful where you put this plant if you have kids or pets around the house.
ZZ plants grow slowly to a manageable height (around 3 feet) and they don’t require any upkeep other than repotting when they become rootbound.
5. Arrowhead Plant
As a vining plant, arrowheads do best in hanging baskets. This is an easy plant both on the eyes and in terms of upkeep.
Although arrowhead plants like bright light, they’ll do fine in low light conditions too, only that their growth will be slower.
Keep their soil evenly moist but avoid overwatering, which will eventually lead to rotting issues at the roots of the plant.
6. Dragon Tree Plant
Dragon tree plants thrive in light shade, so an indoor setting that meets this description will be ideal for this plant. Because the leaves can easily get burned, keep the plant away from direct sunlight.
What you need to be extra careful is avoid exposing your dragon plant to cold temperatures. It doesn’t tolerate temperatures lower than 50 F.
7. Peace Lily
Known for its air purifying properties and elegant white flowers, peace lilies are a great plant to have in your home.
They’re a popular houseplant not only because they’re easy to grow, but also because they enjoy medium to low light, making them ideal for spaces that don’t get as much sunshine during the day.
Peace lilies are sensitive to overwatering; you should wait for the soil to dry out between two watering sessions. Too much moisture will eventually lead to root rot.
8. Lucky Bamboo
Said to bring luck and fortune to their owners, the lucky bamboo has the reputation of being one of the hardiest houseplants around.
With strong stalks and leaves that resemble that of a maize plant, the lucky bamboo will enjoy filtered sunlight the most.
The lucky bamboo does need some trimming to avoid it from becoming top heavy. As far as sensitivity goes, lucky bamboo plants should not be watered with chlorinated water or water that is brimming with bacteria as both can be deadly to the plant.
Available in multiple colors, bromeliads can thrive indoors much better than phalaenopsis orchids. They have a better tolerance to temperature fluctuations and drought.
Most bromeliads will thrive in bright indirect light, while some can withstand full tropical sun. There are bromeliads that will thrive even in medium to low light conditions.
10. Chinese Evergreen
A foliage plant that adds a tropical feel to your home, the Chinese Evergreen plant is a novice gardeners dream — it has very straightforward requirements and thrives in medium to low light conditions.
Well draining soil is important to prevent any fungal or root rotting issues. Therefore, focus on moderate watering to avoid diseases caused by soil that is constantly moist.
Because the leaves will attract a lot of dust, you should periodically shower down the plant or use a damp, soft cloth to wipe down the leaves.
11. Parlor Palm
This indoor palm is another beginner-friendly houseplant that will not only tolerate low light, but it’s also better adapted to handle lower temperatures compared to most houseplants.
Resist the temptation to expose this plant to direct sunlight or too much water. Both can be damaging and even fatal to this plant.
While direct sunlight is a no-go for this plant, bright, indirect or filtered light is ideal for the plant to do their best.
12. Oyster Plant
With bright purple and green foliage, the Oyster plant is a colorful evergreen that will change your mind about foliage plants, if you’re otherwise not a fan.
The Oyster plant delivers in the maintenance department as well — it’s a no-fuss, low-care plant that’s perfect for the beginner gardener or the time-constrained person.
The plant does best when it’s offered bright, indirect light, but it will tolerate low light conditions too, with the only downside that the leaves will be less vibrant.
Philodendrons come in climbing and non-climbing varieties, both varieties with stunning green foliage that grows vigorously.
Bright light along with warmth and moisture will keep your philodendrons thriving, but light shade is also a good option for these tropical plants.
Because of its tropical origins, moisture and humidity are essential to keep this plant healthy. In terms of temperature range, different varieties will like different temperatures, but none will tolerate temperatures below 55 F.
14. Zebra Plant
The zebra plant sports large, glossy leaves with pale veins that give the plant a variegated appearance. This too is a tropical plant; whose flowers are just as stunning as its leaves.
The flowers appear in late summer or autumn, and they’re a bright, golden yellow bract of around 8 inches. You can enjoy the splendor of these leaves for up to six weeks.
Despite being able to adapt to filtered light conditions, zebra plants pose a challenge for those in temperate climates.
Zebra plants require warmth, moisture, and feeding during the growing season to pull through the winter months.
Therefore, I don’t recommend this plant on an impulse buy, unless you’re experienced or already familiar with its requirements.
15. Bird’s Nest Fern
Bird’s nest ferns have lush green foliage that grows to about 20-59 inches long and 4-8 inches broad. They’re epiphytic plants just as phalaenopsis orchids, which means they grow on a host plant.
In terms of sun exposure, the gentle leaves of the bird’s nest fern are prone to scorching if they’re exposed to direct sunlight. Therefore, filtered or indirect light is the only that will prevent sun damage to the leaves.
Make sure your bird’s nest fern is not exposed to sudden temperature fluctuations or cold drafts. Temperature should be between 68 and 80 F.
Calathea plants are known to be finicky, but they’re the epitome of creativity when it comes to leaf patterns and variegation.
If philodendrons or pothos seem boring to you, calathea plants will certainly change your mind about plants that are all about foliage and no blooms.
The other good news is that calathea plants do great in low light conditions and poorly in direct light, so low light conditions describe your home, you’re on the good track already.
Avoid watering with chlorinated water and make sure your plant gets enough humidity.
17. Money Tree Plant
Another plant that’s associated with fortune and luck, the money tree plant prefers bright, indirect light, but it can grow relatively well even in low light conditions.
Ensure moderate to high humidity, avoid cold drafts, exposure to direct sunlight, and exposure to hot, dry air.
Overwatering, sun exposure and pest infestation are areas that need more attention when it comes to caring for a money tree plant.
18. Queen Fern
A shade-loving, tropical fern that looks great on patios, decks or indoor spaces, the queen fern is not only a low-light plant, but it’s also a no-fuss one.
Offering it enough humidity may be a problem in dry areas, and you may need to artificially increase the humidity around the plant, either by grouping it together with other plants or by using a humidifier.
Other than this, queen ferns have air purifying properties, and they’re super easy to grow.
19. Dumb Canes
Otherwise knowns as Dieffenbachia, the dumb cane is a broad-leaved plant with bright green margins and a white center.
While it does enjoy some extra light during the winter months, in the growing season, dumb canes will need dappled shade or indirect light.
The soil of Dieffenbachias should be kept moist, without falling into extremes like sogginess or dryness. A well-draining potting mix will prevent root rot issues.
Some varieties exhibit extreme sensitivity to cold drafts or sudden changes in temperature, making it difficult to care for this plant in the long run.
Annual repotting is needed but be careful as the milky sap of the dumb cane is a skin irritant. Wear protective gloves when handling the plant.
20. Cast Iron Plant
This plant has a reputation of being “hard to kill”, not that anyone would willingly want to kill it, but it does tolerate neglect to a higher degree compared to other plants.
Keep your cast iron plant in a shady area, away from direct sunlight and avoid overwatering, which is this plant’s kryptonite.
Cast iron plants are not picky about humidity, nor temperature. They can be kept at any temperature between 45 F and 85 F.
Repotting is needed every other year and the plant should be fertilized during spring and summer, but not fall or winter.
If your apartment or home is positioned so that it doesn’t get too much bright light, low light indoors plants present a viable alternative to plants that need to bask in the sun to stay healthy.
You’ve probably noticed that most of the plants I mentioned in this article are foliage plants that don’t produce blooms.
But even if you’re not a fan of foliage plants, there are a few plants (e.g. calatheas, oyster plants) that will dispel the myth of foliage plants being dull or boring.
Most low light plants have very similar keeping requirements, many are very resilient, and only a few need expert care.