This article will focus on the best houseplants for low light. Not every corner in a house or apartment gets bright light.
Most spots where you could place plants are unsuitable, as many houseplants have medium or bright light requirements.
However, some houseplants thrive in low-light conditions. We compiled a list of the best low-light houseplants for your convenience.
Read about the best plants for an office with no windows.
Best Houseplants for Low Light – Top 19
1. Snake Plant
Snake plants (Dracaena trifasciata) are among the best 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 favorite in interior design.
They are rather inexpensive and can be placed in 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 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.
2. ZZ Plant
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 left his ZZ plant in a drawer with no light and no water for three 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. Drench it in soggy soil.
It is fair to say that ZZ plants can grow well in low-light environments. However, this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t thrive even more with more light. They do best in bright and moderate light but can take low light without problem. Therefore, it is our #2 on the list of the best houseplants for low light.
3. Spider Plant
The Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a great beginner plant and grows well in various conditions. It is very popular as it is easy to keep happy and propagate.
They also do 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 does 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.
4. Lucky Bamboo
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? I 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 cleaning and should be replaced frequently.
5. Arrowhead Plant
The Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) 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 anyway.
A great thing about arrowhead plants is that they are affordable, easy to care for, and look great. The arrowhead-shaped leaves are one of the most striking elements of its visual appeal. There are also many different variegated variants available on the market.
6. Heart-Leaf Philodendron
The Heartleaf Philodendron should not be missing from 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 surprise you 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. The Hearleaf Philodendron 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 too much competition between all the foliage on the different layers in a rainforest. Take this fact to your advantage and see your heart-leaf Philodendron thrive away from a window or an immediate light source.
7. Elephant’s Ear
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, you might struggle 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 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.
8. Devil’s Ivy
The Devil’s Ivy or Pothos for the ones that like it more dramatic or the regular Pothos for the realists. This plant is the most popular houseplant, and you shouldn’t miss it in your house or apartment.
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.
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 surprise you that you can also take care of 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.
9. Chinese Evergreen
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, making them suitable plants to place beside the couch, in your kitchen on the opposite side of the window, or in a bedroom with a window that provides only lower light.
The Chinese Evergreens are good plants to care for as they are not overly complicated. They are available in many fancy color combinations called variegations and are growing in popularity not just in Asia.
Their low light tolerance makes them a great plant for all these shopping centers and supermarkets and office spaces that want to have some greenery around despite suboptimal light conditions.
10. Peace Lily
The Peace lily, is our drama queen Nr.1. Have you ever forgotten to water your Peace lily? Well, if you did, you will certainly know. This plant starts to droop considerably, and you could almost think it is dying or already dead when you see it that way.
But do not worry. In most cases, you probably didn’t water it the day you scheduled to water it. The Peace Lily then takes the opportunity to create a big show. Once you watered it, within half an hour, all should return to normal.
Apart from being extremely water-hungry, or we should probably say thirsty, the Peace Lily is an excellent low-light tolerant plant. I had one once in front of a window and then under a grow light. It didn’t do well, and the leaves became yellow and orange.
Once 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.
11. Asparagus Fern
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.
The Asparagus fern 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 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 climb trails or sit in a pot.
12. Nerve Plant
A shade-tolerant plant that is easy to care for and looks just stunning and unique. Nerve plants or Fittonias also go by mosaic plants because of their eye-catching foliage with a mosaic-like pattern. Its leaves range from pink to green and red and have a green veining pattern.
Nerve plants (Fittonia spp.) flower and can have a reddish or white flower spike that is rather insignificant. This is the case for many plants with strikingly beautiful leaves. The bloom itself isn’t that special anymore.
They make great houseplants that are humidity-hungry and are among the best for low light for a reason. They can tolerate low light and shade.
13. Parlor Palm
Parlor Palms have a history of being a great houseplant. One of the main reasons is their ability to grow well in relatively low light and low-temperature conditions. Besides being on the list of best houseplants for low light, Parlor palms also deserve a place on the list of best palms to care for indoors, as their care is easy and looks great.
They inhabit the rainforests 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.
14. Rattlesnake Plant
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. Rattlesnake plants thrive in shady spots, as too much direct sunlight can damage the foliage. Crispy leaves can indicate that you are providing too much direct light.
Care-wise, there are several Rattlesnake plants or Calatheas, such as the Calathea Zebrina or Calathea Roseopicta, to look out for. One thing rattlesnake plants love is high humidity. The combination of thriving in high humidity and low light makes 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 said to purify the air and smell nice when blooming, hence its name.
Light-wise, medium indirect, or filtered light is advised for a Dracaena. However, they grow well in low light situations, making it on the list of the best houseplants for low light. When you see leaves thinning out, you probably provide insufficient light.
16. Creeping Fig
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 make great houseplants for low-light conditions.
Creeping Figs require good drainage and grow well in mild climates between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. They also check the box for being humidity-needy. When considering humidity-loving plants and where to place them, the bathroom is always great. Each shower will increase the humidity levels considerably.
Dieffenbachia is an evergreen plant and an as popular houseplant as they come. It is a great combination of tropical-looking houseplants and being easy to care for. A combination that is hard to find and making Dieffenbachias instant winners in the houseplant space.
They grow in almost any soil type and have moderate light requirements. These jungle plants 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.
Dieffenbachias 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 color 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 by pouring water into the central cup of the plant. They look so striking and unique that most people think they need special care.
Quite the opposite is the case. Bromeliads 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.
19. Staghorn Fern
Low-light plants are ideal for offices and rooms with few windows or artificial light. With this list I am sure you will find your favorite plant.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.