7 Best Indoor Plants For Low Light

By Sarah Vates

Cacti and succulents and ferns, oh my! While there are some of us who have greener thumbs than others, there is no denying that a little greenery can go a long way, especially in smaller spaces. When it comes to indoor plants throughout the home, it can be tough for these plants to get enough light to grow and flourish (no plants is better than dead plants, right?).

Indoor plants for low light are the perfect solution. These are plants that prefer to live in darker environments rather than “having their day in the sun” or living in areas that receive direct sunlight. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite indoor plants for low light that won’t remind you of a doctor’s office (not even a little bit).

What does low light mean for plants?

“Low light” is considered less than four hours of direct sunlight each day, so low-light plants tend to do best in north-facing windows or in rooms whose windows are shaded by trees. Indoor low light plants do not need direct sunlight: they actually grow and flourish better in ambient light (how romantic). These plants should be kept away from windows that provide direct sunlight exposure (like south-facing windows).

Our favorite indoor plants for low light

1. Ferns (Pteridophytes)

When it comes to indoor plants that thrive in low light, ferns are at the top of the list. Ferns actually prefer to live in shady locations, shying away from direct sunlight. When caring for your fern, it’s important they they get enough water. Ferns love humid environments, so we recommend misting your plants with water to ensure that your fern’s leaves get plenty of moisture. These plants thrive in evenly moist soil with regular waterings, so as long as you’re diligent in making sure your fern gets enough water, you should have no problem keeping this low-light plant happy indoors.

2. ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

ZZ plants (also known as Zanzibar gems) are super easy to care for as they do not need to be watered frequently, just when the soil has dried out (make sure to never let the plant stand in water). The less water you give them the better because over-watering can cause the stems to rot. ZZ plants do not like direct sunlight, but thrive in low light and dry environments, making them the perfect office plant.

3. Ivy (Hedera helix)

When thinking of ivy, our thoughts often shift to the outdoor climbing plant, but ivy can also make a great indoor, low light plant. Ivies are plants that prefer drier environments (much like the outside of a building), so you won’t need to water this plant very often, rather just mist the leaves. Ivies are plants that can and will grow in low light, they just require a bit more patience and care. Care that is specific to ives is that their leaves need to be washed or “dusted” frequently to allow them  to grow and flourish.

4. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos have been dubbed the “ultimate house plant.” Not only does this indoor plant thrive in low light, it is incredibly durable and tolerant of many different environments. Pothos are incredibly forgiving houseplants, which is great for people who may not have the greenest thumb. When it comes to watering, Pothos like to have their soil dry out completely between waterings. These plants are incredibly versatile in their looks and can either be trimmed or allowed to grow longer and wilder.

5. Heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron cordatum)

Philodendron are an ideal plant roommate because if you watch them carefully, they will tell you what they need. When caring for your philodendron, it’s best to put them in a window that gets indirect sunlight. These plants like to have a dry environment, so the top inch or so of the soil should be left to dry out in between waterings. Caring for these plants may be a bit more high maintenance than the others on our list. But as long as you are willing to listen, a Philodendron will never send you mixed signals. Some of the signals that your Philodendron needs some attention are a change in the color of the leaves and any level of drooping.

6. Lucky bamboo (Dracaena braunii)

Lucky bamboo is a great starter plant, especially for those who have a habit of over-loving their plants in the form of over-watering. Lucky bamboo literally lives in water. It is impossible to overwater this plant, so if you’re a little trigger happy when it comes to your watering can, then this is the indoor plant for you. These plants do not require any direct sunlight and thrive in darker environments. Lucky bamboo is the lowest maintenance indoor plant for low light.

Read more: How to Grow Bamboo

7. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies are known for being adaptable and low maintenance. When cared for properly, these lilies make the best floor plants and can grow to be about 3–5 feet tall. These plants do best in low-light environments, away from direct sunlight. You should water your peace lily as soon as it starts to droop. This trick will prevent you from overwatering your plant. Peace lilies actually have detoxifying properties that actually clean the air around the plant, so if you’re looking for a natural air freshener, peace lilies are handy to have around the house.

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