This article will focus on the best houseplants for low light. Not every corner in a house or apartment gets bright light. In fact, most spots where you could place plants are not suitable as many houseplants have medium or even bright light requirements.
However, there are houseplants that are thriving in low-light conditions. We compiled a list of the best houseplants for low light for your convenience.
- 1 Best Houseplants for Low Light – Top 20
- 1.1 Snake Plant
- 1.2 ZZ Plant
- 1.3 Spider Plant
- 1.4 Lucky Bamboo
- 1.5 Arrowhead Plant
- 1.6 Heart-Leaf Philodendron
- 1.7 Elephant’s Ear
- 1.8 Devil’s Ivy
- 1.9 Chinese Evergreen
- 1.10 Peace Lily
- 1.11 Asparagus Fern
- 1.12 Nerve Plant
- 1.13 Parlor Palm
- 1.14 Rattlesnake Plant
- 1.15 Dracaena
- 1.16 Creeping Fig
- 1.17 Dieffenbachia
- 1.18 Bromeliads
- 1.19 Ponytail Palm
- 1.20 Staghorn Fern
Read about the best plants for an office with no windows.
Best Houseplants for Low Light – Top 20
Snake plants are among the best plants for low light conditions. They are very easy to grow and have limited watering and light requirements. Their striking foliage makes them an all-time favourite in interior design.
They are rather inexpensive and can be placed into multiple low light locations in your house such as the bathroom or even the bedroom. Of course, even Snake Plants need at least some light. But this light source can be further away in the form of a window or it can be fluorescent light from light bulbs.
If you are looking for a low-light plant that thrives on neglect and needs low light and infrequent watering, the snake plant is our best houseplants for low light.
A close second is the ZZ plant or zamioculcas zamiifolia, if you want to address it by its botanical name. ZZ plants are incredibly hardy. I recently read an article where someone stated that he forgot his zz plant in a drawer with no light and no water for 3 months. When he rediscovered his houseplant, it had no signs of deterioration whatsoever. These plants are almost impossible to kill, even for the blackest thumb among us. The only thing ZZ plants don’t like is too much water. That’s probably the only way you can kill it. Drenched, soggy soil.
It is fair to say that ZZ plants can grow well in low light environments. Although this doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t thrive even more with more light. They actually do best in bright and moderate light but can take low light with no problem at all. Therefore it is our #2 in the list of the best houseplants for low light.
The spider plant is a great beginner plant and grows well in various conditions. It is very popular as it is easy to keep happy and very easy to propagate. They do also well in a range from low to bright light. Although if you could ask a Spider Plant what light she prefers, she would probably say bright indirect light. This doesn’t take away from the fact that Spider Plant do well in lower light conditions and can be kept happy in dimmer corners of your house such as bathrooms and further away from windows.
Be aware that Spider plants should not be placed right in front of windows as direct light might burn the leaves of your friend. An easy plant to keep happy. One thing to watch out for is browning leaf tips. The main cause for this is hard water. It is best to let water sit for 24 hours before watering. Spider plants do not like the chlorine and fluoride in water. You can read about hard and soft water in our blog post about nutrients in soil.
Our number 4 in the best houseplants for low light rankings is the Lucky Bamboo. Did you know that the Lucky Bamboo is not a real bamboo? To be honest we didn’t at first and only found out when we started to immerse deeper into plant and plant care. The plant sold as a lucky bamboo is Dracaena sanderiana, a flowering plant in the Asparagaceae family.
Lucky Bamboo is well suited for medium to lower light situations as it doesn’t like direct sunlight. It can be grown in straight water that needs to be clean and should be replaced frequently.
The arrowhead plant is a fantastic plant that starts to vine at some stage and can then be kept in a hanging pot. It prefers bright to medium indirect light but doesn’t mind slightly lower light conditions and is a good plant for darker corners and places that do not get direct sunlight as this would burn the leaves of the arrowhead plant anyways.
A great thing about arrowhead plants is that they are affordable and quite easy to care for and they look great on top of that. One of the most striking elements of its visual appeal is the arrowhead-shaped leaves. There are also many different variegated variants available on the market.
The heartleaf philodendron should not be missing on any best houseplants for low-light list. Some might know this plant better under the name of Philodendron scandens. Its beautiful heart-shaped leaves are stunning and it is just one of the houseplants. This does not come by surprise as you can do almost anything with this plant. Let it hang, put it on a table or provide a trellis or moss pole to have it growing vertically upwards.
But did you know that it does well in low light conditions? Yes, you are right. It’s not enough that this plant is easy to care for, it also does well in multiple environments and can be kept happy in moderate light conditions. As a jungle plant that is a requirement we suppose. There is just too much of a competition between all the foliage on the different layers in a rain forest. Take this fact to your advantage and see your heart-leaf Philodendron thrive well away from a window or an immediate light source.
Elephant’s Ear or Alocasia Polly is a finicky plant and it might surprise you to find it on this list. Most people love the unique foliage with the dark leaves and the bright lateral veins. While it is not the easiest plant to keep alive and you might be struggling to keep these beautiful leaves attached to your Elephant’s Ear. A big relief is that it is no sucker for bright light and detests direct sunlight.
The Alocasia Polly prefers a shaded spot in your house. Most areas in a house are actually far away from matching the bright light criterium. What a relief to have the Elephant’s ear that you can place in that corner where a plant would look nice in terms of interior decoration but where you do not have a window in the immediate vicinity.
The Devil’s Ivy for the ones that like it more dramatic or the regular pothos for the realists amongst us. This plant is in our opinion the most popular houseplant of them all and you shouldn’t miss it in your house or apartment no matter if you are more into araceae, a cactus lover or an avid gardener.
This is the must-have plant of it all. Very easy to propagate. Just chop it in pieces, put them in water soil or almost anything and you get more of this. Almost impossible to kill. Forget to water it, overwater it, totally neglect it it will remain happy under almost any conditions and you do not have to be a green thumb at all to have this plant growing.
Actually it is also a good plant to revert to if you have killed a few other plants and are starting to lose confidence. It doesn’t come by surprise that you can also take care for it in lower light conditions. We have one in almost any corner of the house. Some areas are very dark and almost get no light. Does it thrive and grow like crazy in these conditions? Certainly not. Does it die? Not at all. Whilst looking all healthy and happy, the darker the spot the slower it will grow. But it is and remains one of the best houseplants for low light.
Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreens are a big hit in Asia and are taken care of because they symbolize good fortune. But it is also an evergreen for lower light conditions? Yes, that is right. All the different Chinese Evergreen variants are adaptive to lower light conditions which make them such as suitable plant to place beside the couch, in your kitchen on the opposite side of the window or in a bedroom where you have a window that provides only lower light.
The Chinese Evergreens are good plants to take care of as they are not overly complicated care wise. They are available in many fancy colour combinations called variegations and are growing in popularity not just in Asia.
Their low light tolerance actually makes them a great plant for all these shopping centres and supermarkets as well as office spaces that want to have some greenery around despite suboptimal light conditions.
The Peace lily, is our drama queen Nr.1. Have you ever forgot to water your Peace lily? Well if you did you will certainly know. This plant starts to droop considerably and you could almost think that it is dying or already dead when you see it that way. But do not worry. In most cases, you probably just didn’t water it the day you scheduled to water it. The Peace lily then takes the opportunity to come up with a big show. Once you watered it, within half an hour all should be back to normals.
Apart from being extremely water-hungry or we should probably say thirsty in this case, the Peace Lily is an excellent low light tolerant plant. We actually had one once in front of a window and then under a grow light. It didn’t do well and the leaves started to become yellow and orange. One we put it under a table on the floor with very low light, it started to thrive and the leaves became much greener.
The moral of the story. The Peace lily is a champ in the best houseplants for low-light division. A big bonus is the beautiful flower consisting of a spathe and spadix as almost all aroids produce.
Asparagus ferns are lush and green and are relatives of the edible asparagus. It is a hardy plant that grows well in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. It is on the list of best houseplants for low light because it can take low light and light shade although the preference would be bright indirect light. They do well in multiple soil types and also survive periods of drought without a problem.
Therefore a great houseplant and an easier to care for fern that provides a lush green look in your home. It is a versatile plant that can either climb or trial or just sit in a pot.
A shade tolerating plant that is easy to care for and that looks just stunning and unique. Nerve plants or Fittonias also go by the name mosaic plants because of their eye-catching foliage that has a mosaic-like pattern. Its leaves range from pink to green and red and have a green veining pattern.
These plants actually flower and can have a reddish or white flower spike that is rather insignificant. This is the case for many plants where the leaves alone are so strikingly beautiful. The bloom itself isn’t that special anymore.
They make great houseplants that are humidity hungry and are among the best houseplants for low light for a reason. They can tolerate low light and shade.
Parlor Palms have a history of being a great houseplant. One of the main reasons is that their ability to grow well in relatively low light and also low-temperature conditions. Besides being on the list for best houseplants for low light they also deserve a place on the list of best palms to care for indoors as their care is easy and they look great.
They inhabit the rainforest of Southern Mexico and Guatemala and grow in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12. Parlor palms are great plants for beginners but there are two things you need to be aware of. They do not take overwatering well and do not thrive in bright direct light.
Why is the rattlesnake plant one of the best houseplants for low light? It is because they are not the biggest fan of direct sunlight. They thrive in shady spots as too much direct sunlight can damage the foliage. Crispy leaves can be an indicator that you are providing too much direct light.
Care wise there are several rattlesnake plants or also called Calatheas such as the Calathea Zebrina or Calathea Roseopicta that you can look out for. One thing rattlesnake plants love is high humidity. The combination of thriving in high humidity and low light, make these plants great inhabitants of bathrooms.
Dracaena is a family of about 120 different species of plants. They are very popular houseplants and are also called Dragon Trees. They are said to purify the air. The Dracaena fragrans as an example is not only said to purify the air but also to smell nice when blooming, hence its name.
Light-wise medium indirect or filtered light is advised. However, they grow well in low light situation and therefore made it on the list of the best houseplants for low light. When you see leaves that are starting to thin out, then you probably are providing insufficient light.
Creeping Figs or Ficus pumilia is a hanging or climbing plant with small heart-shaped leaves that look great in the small corners of your apartment, bedroom or bathroom. They are not demanding when it comes to lighting and therefore make great houseplants for low-light conditions.
They require good drainage and grow well in mild climates between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. They also check the box for being humidity needy. When thinking about humidity loving plants and where to place them, the bathroom is always a great place. Each shower will increase the humidity levels considerably.
Dieffenbachia is an evergreen plant and an as popular houseplant as they come. A great combination between tropical-looking houseplant and being easy to care for. A combination that is hard to be found and making Dieffenbachias instant winners in the houseplant space.
They grow in almost any soil type and have moderate light requirements. These are jungle plants that are trained to fight for light and developed a tolerance for low light over time. You can imagine that on the jungle floor there is little light available and you have to make the best of it and photosynthesize what you can get in terms of light.
That is exactly what we are looking for in this list of the 20 best houseplants for low light. They grow well in diffused sunlight and partial shade. These light requirements are easy to meet in almost any apartment.
Bromeliads do not like direct sunlight. They grow best in medium to bright light but can also take low light situations. They are easy to care for and are available in almost limitless colour combinations. They have very thick foliage and are growing in a rosette pattern. They are often epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants.
One interesting thing to remark is that bromeliads can be watered overheard by pouring water into the central cup of the plant. They look so striking and unique that most people think that they need special care. Quite the opposite is the case. They grow in the full range of light conditions from shade to bright light. They generally need to be watered once a week and prefer well-draining soil. Not at fancy requirements in terms of plant care.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.