While most plants crave plenty of natural light, for indoor plant lovers, it’s not always feasible to have these sun-loving plants.
Luckily, there are a number of houseplants that can not only survive, but also thrive in low light. These plants do well in east and north-facing windows, basements, bathrooms, home offices, and even windows shaded by other vegetation like trees or buildings.
14 Easy-To-Care-For Low Light House Plants
Many of plants have adapted over the years to flourish in the jungles beneath the thick canopy of the massive trees and vegetation. Often these places are so densely covered by the branches of these massive trees that little to no sunlight penetrates below. And now, you can have these beautiful low-light tropical plants in your home.
Here are just 14 of the best houseplants that will grow and prosper in any low-light area if your home.
1. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Braunii)
Believe it or not,Lucky Bamboo is actually native to Africa. It is completely different from true bamboo plants and sports extremely hardy stalks that spiral with minimal foliage. You can grow Lucky Bamboo in a glass of water or in a pot of soil. It loves humidity but will flourish in low, indirect light. This is the perfect plant for a steamy bathroom (1)!
2. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
For all of you brown-thumb plant lovers, zamioculcas zamiifolia, also known as the ZZ plant, is the houseplant for you.
It has long elegant stems that are dotted with symmetrical glossy green oval leaves. The ZZ is a tropical perennial originally from Africa that has adapted to the desert-like conditions of the Savannahs. The wax-like coating on the plant is so shiny you might mistake it for plastic. And it is so hardy it might as well be an artificial plant, as it can go for up to four months without water.
The ZZ typically enjoys moderate, indirect sunlight, but it is easily able to take very low light conditions like windowless spaces, as long as you provide some fluorescent lighting. The bonus of having a ZZ is its amazing air purifying properties (2).
3. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia Seguine)
While the name of this plant may suggest it is not the brightest, Dumb Cane has actually adapted some pretty smart self-preservation techniques.
Every part of the plant contains numerous microscope needle-shaped, calcium oxalate crystals that can cause severe irritation if eaten. For unsuspecting people or animals, eating this plant can cause severe pain and swelling in the mouth and throat. The original name of the plant came about because the swelling from eating this plant can be so severe that the victim is unable to speak, hence “dumb.” So, if Dumb Cane is your houseplant of choice, make sure you keep your children and pets away!
Those who are willing to take on this gorgeous plant can expect it to grow an easy five feet tall and sport very large fronds streaked with white flecks and spots. Allow it to bask in indirect light, usually in a north or east-facing window and make sure to only to water when the soil is dry (3).
4. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)
If you are looking for a sturdy, fuss-free plant that can take the worst low-light conditions, this is your go-to plant.
As its name suggests, the Cast Iron plant is hardy yet lush. It is a leafy evergreen that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, including extreme heat, drought, and shade. So, if you tend to forget your plants now and then, the Cast Iron plant is very forgiving.
This Japanese native boasts a simple erect cluster of dark green, sword-like leaves that need less than one hour of direct sunlight a day and little water (4).
5. Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans “Massangeana”)
Although often called the Corn Plant because the foliage resembles a stalk of corn, its genus name stems from the Greek word drakaina, which means a female dragon.
The plant’s thick trunk is topped with a sprinkling of arching strap leaves with a wide central yellow stripe on each leaf that gives it a palm-like appearance. While it likes bright, sunny areas, it can thrive in low light.
To encourage a growth spurt, however, treat your Corn Plant to some outdoor summer sunlight or a bright window now and then (5).
6. Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum Pedatum)
If a whimsy looking plant is more to your liking, you will want to get a Northern Maidenhair Fern, also called a five-fingered fern because of its many wispy narrow fronds. The plant’s feathery foliage actually prefers full shade and about one to five hours of natural light a day (6).
7. Zebra Plant (Calathea Zebrina)
The first thing you need to know about Zebra plants is that there are two types: Calathea zebrina and Aphelandra squarrosa.
Neither have anything in common with each other but both make great houseplants. Typically, the Calathea zebra plant only needs minimal light. Its zebra-striped leaves have bold dark green stripes on top and a pretty purple color underneath.
On the other hand, Aphelandra squarrosa has large shiny leaves with dark green foliage that has deep white or yellow veins, also reminiscent of zebra stripes. Both tropical plants love humidity and do well in indirect light (7, 8).
8. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea Recurvata)
This common houseplant has a thin trunk with a spraying of long thin leaves that curl like a ponytail, hence its name. Also called the Elephant’s Foot Tree since the large, round base of the trunk can store water for weeks.
While the Ponytail Palm prefers bright light, it can easily adapt to low-light locations. But if you want to see this beautiful plant sprout new shoots, just move it to a sunnier location for a time (9).
9. Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae sp.)
The bromeliad is probably one of the most common houseplants with over 3,000 different species. While native to tropical and subtropical areas, it has adapted to a number of different environments. The best bromeliads for low-light survivability are Nidularium longiflorum, Vriesea, and Guzmania.
While they can all tolerate bright, filtered light, they actually prefer shadier areas, as long as they have enough humidity (10).
10. Nerve Plant (Fittonia sp.)
This beautiful houseplant is aptly named after its many nerve-like branches in each leaf that are stark white, pink, or red. Its iridescent colors can be a focal point in any location as the plant is small and spread only about 6 to 12 inches.
This plant loves humidity, so it will thrive in a decorative terrarium. Like many popular houseplants, the Nerve Plant will do best in bright, indirect light, but it can also thrive in low-light areas if it has direct fluorescent lighting. Fertilize your Nerve plant a few times a year and it will flourish for you (11).
11. Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
Despite its name the Swiss Cheese Plant originates in the jungles of Mexico. Its name is reminiscent of Swiss cheese because of its two foot-wide fronds that have oblong gaps in the leaves.
Also called split-leaf philodendron for its perforated foliage, this tropical plant likes to climb. In the wild it can reach as tall as 70 feet, but not to worry, you can certainly grow this bold plant in your home.
Place it in a north-facing window where it is partially shaded, and keep it humid, and you will love your Swiss Cheese Plant for many years (12).
12. Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
This common houseplant has numerous spiky leaves that sprout from a very narrow, curvy cane. It can actually reach 20 feet in the wild, but don’t cross this beauty off your list because the houseplant version is much shorter.
To make a bold statement, you can plant several Dragon Trees of varying heights in a decorative pot. Despite its beautiful foliage and dramatic appearance, the Dragon Tree is actually low-maintenance and quite content in low-light areas (13).
13. Rex Begonia(Begonia rex-cultorum)
If color is more your thing, try a Rex Begonia, also knowns as a Painted-Leaf Begonia. You have most likely seen this hardy plant in outdoor spaces, but the Rex Begonia can do just as well indoors.
This stunning plant has bicolored, large 6-inch leaves bordered and spotted in various hues of purple, pink, red, silver, or green. And the best part, these popular beauties hardly need any light! As long as they have plenty of humidity and a fast-draining soil, it will flourish.
Just make sure to fertilize it a few times a year and you will have your Rex Begonia for years to come (14).
14. Arrowhead Vine(Syngonium podophyllum)
Finally, if you want an easy-going plant, chose the Arrowhead Vine, which is actually related to the Peace Lily, Philodendron, and Dieffenbachia. Like its name suggests, the Arrowhead Vine has large arrow-like leaves that can be pure green to a variegated spattering of creamy beige, pink, and yellow.
You can keep the Arrowhead Vine full and bushy by pinching it back to maintain its form and you can even train the plant to follow a trellis or plant it in a hanging basket.
The Arrowhead Vine prefers medium, indirect light but is perfectly fine in low-light areas. Beware, though as it will lose some of it vibrant color in darker locations (15).