Houseplants add a shot of freshness to any space in a home or office and are relatively easy to maintain. Most love a well-draining potting soil, and most of them grow best with a bit of liquid fertilizer once or twice a year. Best of all, there are great low light house plants that will thrive in indoor conditions! Here are 10 of the best.
If you have rooms with low light, it may seem impossible to grow happy, healthy plants, there are some gorgeous varieties out there that thrive in dark corners and prefer to shy away from full-on sunshine. These are perfect for bathrooms, higher spots away from kids and pets, and are great for livening up any office cubicle.
These ten plants are some common favorites due to their easy care, beauty, various sizes, and air purifying qualities, making your space a healthier place to be. In fact, three on the list have been named among the top ten air-purifying plants by NASA!
1. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra eliatior)
This elegant plant doesn’t need much love at all. As a result, it’s perfect if you’re a frequent traveller, or struggle to remember to water your plants. It grows nice and slowly up to 2-3 feet tall, and is happiest in dark spaces with only occasional watering.
Its size makes it a great living accent piece with little fuss. Use a good quality, well-draining potting mix to keep it healthy. It likes moist roots, so quickly soak the pot in water once a month.
2. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
This classic trailing houseplant looks beautiful on a shelf or cool window sill. You can even train it into a variety of different shapes. English ivy comes in a wide variety of colours and variegations, so you’ll find the perfect one for you. It does best in a shady north-facing room, preferring filtered sunlight and low light.
Mist it often to keep spider mites away, and your ivy will liven up your home with little issue. Note that this plant can cause skin irritation, so it’s best kept out of reach of children high on a bookshelf or a kitchen cabinet.
English ivy is happiest with a good 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer once per month every season but winter. It also prefers a consistent temperature. This plant is on NASA’s list of top ten air-cleaning plants, making it not only beautiful but practical too.
3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are fascinating for kids due to the many baby plants it produces at the end of its runners. It’s also remarkably easy to care for and is ideal for both hanging and tabletop pots. It can be found in variegated and dark green colours.
Hang it up in a trendy macramé hanger (seen below) and you’re good to go. If the tips are going a bit brown, just mist this plant a bit to rejuvenate it and it will live for a long time.
For best results, let the soil dry out between waterings to avoid root rot. (That’s really the only way to kill this hardy, productive plant.)
4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
If you prefer some blooms, a peace lily is a great solution. It sends out pure white or purple spathes (petals resembling shields), offering a nice contrast to the shiny emerald green or variegated leaves.
It’s easy to care for but does need regular watering to prevent wilting. It will bloom all year round as long as it receives enough light, rewarding you with its elegant beauty. This plant will grow up to four feet tall, making it best as a floor plant.
This is another plant that made it onto the top ten list of air-cleaning plants. Just note that it’s highly toxic to dogs and cats! As such, you might want to keep it at the office, rather than in your home.
5. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Always eye-catching, this slow-growing plant is actually a faux bamboo. It can be grown in a variety of shapes and matches nearly any décor with its sculptural form. It’s not invasive like the bamboo you would find outdoors, and grows equally well in water or soil.
If you like, place it outdoors in a north-facing direction during the summer to give it an extra boost. Otherwise, it’s perfectly content to be in indoors in the shade for the rest of the year. The canes look great in a fish tank, indoor pond, or a vase with colourful stones. It’s a popular choice for introducing good Feng Shui and invoking the five elements.
6. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvate)
This is another beautifully sculptural plant. Also called Elephant’s Foot Palm due to its thick, stocky base, it’s an easy-care tabletop or full-sized plant that has an impressive looking topknot of ribbon-like leaves.
It’s actually a succulent that stores water in the base. Therefore, you can go weeks without having to water it, and it does equally well in shady areas and sunny spots.
Let the soil dry out thoroughly between waterings. When you choose to re-pot it, place it in a pot that’s only a couple of inches wider than the old one. This will help to help prevent it from getting too much water at once.
7. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
Also known commonly known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (which really isn’t very nice!). This succulent is a stunner with its variegated vertical leaves. It has been proven to remove toxins in the air, and looks great in a large floor planter in a hallway or bedroom.
It does best in well-draining soil to prevent rot, and can be easily divided by cutting up the rhizomes.
For best results, let the soil dry out a bit between waterings, and keep the plant in indirect sunlight. The snake plant is another of NASA’s picks for an air-cleaning house plants.
8. Aechmea Bromeliad
This tropical plant does very well in low-light conditions. It’s a real beauty that can flower for months, adding much-needed colour to darker spaces.
The spiky crowns of purple flowers that rise above spiny wide green leaves (watch your fingers!) are really impressive. Furthermore, the leaves form a central rosette known as a “tank”, which stores water for the plant.
This bromeliad should be rinsed and given fresh water once per month. Rainwater is best since it doesn’t contain the salts of tap water, which can lead to buildup of salinity.
Like the spider plant, it will produce new plantlets that can be moved into their own containers. It’s well-suited for an office’s fluorescent lights, and has small root systems. As such, it’ll do best in small-space friendly 4×6” pots.
9. Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)
This dainty tropical beauty is a bit more finicky. Thin leaves mean that it doesn’t hold water, so it needs moist soil that is rich with a good mulch. Pop it in a self-watering pot, or place your fern on a pebble tray and mist with warm water each day.
Another great way to keep it from drying out is to keep it in the original plastic pot. Water it directly in the sink, and let it drain before placing it back into the outer pot.
The delicate lacy fronds that are prone to becoming singed in direct sunlight. As such, a great spot for the maidenhair fern is in a bathroom near a shower.
10. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
There was always a big jade plant in the living room growing up, so this plant gets me all nostalgic. This South African native is another succulent, and is sometimes known as a money tree and a symbol of luck. It’s not drought-tolerant, and it’ll do best with moist, well-draining soil.
These plants have really interesting, almost bulbous emerald-coloured leaves. They can live for many years, and can grow three feet or taller with proper care. Best in a south-facing window, jade plants need a few hours of light sunshine each day in order to grow larger. That said, they’ll stay perfectly healthy in low light conditions—they’ll just grow more slowly.
To propagate, cut off a few branches from the plant and soak them in water before planting them in a new container.
Here’s an additional interesting tidbit: when kept cool and dry over the winter months, mature jade plants can actually bloom and become covered in starry white blossoms. It’s rare, but it can happen!
There you have it, ten of our favourite low light houseplants! Of course, there are many, many more varieties to choose form out there, and this list is just the start.
You’re certain to find several varieties that are perfectly suited to your indoor space. Just choose one (or three) that best suit your personal aesthetic preference, and whether you have animals or children in the house. Always check to see which parts of the plant may be hazardous if touched or ingested!
Take notes on the climate in your home or office, and head to your local nursery or greenhouse to find some new friends.