15 True Low-Light Houseplants: 2022 Guide

Fact-checked

Looking for a houseplant that can thrive in low-light conditions? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re searching for an easy-to-care-for plant or something a bit more unusual, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, you’ll find a list of 15 true low-light houseplants, along with information on their characteristics, as well as some care tips. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, you’ll be able to find the perfect low-light indoor plant for your home!

15 True Low-Light Houseplants

Most plants require two things to thrive – water and sunlight. If your home is dark, you may think that you can’t grow any indoor plants. But that’s not true. There are a number of houseplants that don’t need much sun to survive; some of them don’t even need sunlight at all, as long as you provide artificial growing lights.

This is because low light houseplants photosynthesize at a slower rate. They have a decreased photosynthetic capacity, which means they don’t need a lot of sun exposure to fulfill their nutritional needs. They usually have broad and thin leaves that enable them to function normally in low-light conditions. Take a look at the following list of 15 low-light indoor plants and make your own choice:

1. ZZ Plant

Botanical Name Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Light  Partial to full shade
Water  Moderate moisture
Color Varieties Dark green leaves
Temperature 76-90 ˚F

Not only is it very popular, but this plant is also one of the cheapest indoor plants. It’s also one of the indoor plants that don’t need the sun, and it doesn’t require much watering. This makes it an ideal option for those who don’t have much time to care for their plants. This succulent has thick, dark green leaves that can grow up to 3-4 feet tall. It does best in medium, indirect light but can also tolerate low-light conditions.

2. Staghorn Fern

Botanical Name Platycerium bifurcatum
Light  Full shade
Water  Moderate moisture
Color Varieties Green leaves
Temperature 80-90 °F

The staghorn fern is a beautiful, exotic-looking plant that’s perfect for adding some life to a dark corner. In nature, they tend to grow on other plants instead of in the soil. As a houseplant, they can grow around 2-3 feet tall on wooden boards, hung on the wall.

These indoor plants that do not need sunlight have two types of leaves – large, bisected leaves that grow from the center of the plant and round, plate-like leaves that surround the base and protect the plant’s roots.

3. Indoor Maidenhair Fern

Botanical Name Adiantum raddianum
Light  Partial to full shade
Water  High soil moisture
Color Varieties Medium green leaves
Temperature 70 °F (ideal temperature)

Don’t let this plant fool you with its delicate look, as it’s actually surprisingly sturdy. It has delicate, fan-shaped leaves and can grow from 1 to 3 feet tall. It’s a popular indoor plant, native to North America, that requires moist (but not soggy) soil at all times. When placed in a humid, warm environment with exposure to indirect light, these plants have been known to thrive.

4. Prayer Plant

Botanical Name Maranta leuconeura
Light  Partial to full shade
Water  Moderate to high water requirements
Color Varieties Deep green leaves with markings in yellow and red
Temperature 65-80 °F

This low-growing tropical plant is best known for its tricolor leaves. Reaching a height of 10-12 inches, and a width of around 15 inches, this plant can be a great addition to your low-light interior. Direct sunlight can burn its leaves. The prayer plant also requires a warm and humid environment, which mimics its native jungle habitat. These are some of the best indoor plants for low light, but one thing to keep in mind is that they’re very sensitive to cold temperatures, so make sure to keep them in a warm spot.

5. Rex Begonia

Botanical Name Begonia rex-cultorum
Light  Moderate indirect or fluorescent light
Water  Evenly moist soil at all times
Color Varieties Green leaves with pink, red, purple, cream, and burgundy
Temperature 60-70 °F

Rex begonia is a semi-tropical plant that is mostly admired for its colorful leaves. They can grow from 12 to 18 inches in height, with their leaves growing up to 9 inches in length and 5 in width. These plants do well in dark rooms and humid environments, meaning that you can place them even in your bathroom. What they can’t stand is high room temperature, so keeping them in a cool spot is a good idea.

DID YOU KNOW: Rex begonia plants are almost always grown for their leaves. This is because their flowers are small and not that pretty, which is why many people tend to cut them off in order to maintain the beautiful leaf displays of these shade loving indoor plants.

6. Ponytail Palm

Botanical Name Beaucarnea recurvata
Light  Medium, indirect light
Water  Prefers drier soil; needs to be watered every couple of weeks
Color Varieties Long leaves, creamy white flowers
Temperature 60-80 °F

This plant is recognizable due to its bulbous trunk and the long, hair-like leaves that grow in a ponytail shape. It can be kept outside during the summer and inside during winter. It thrives in dry conditions, is slow-growing, and requires very little care.

7. Dragon Tree

Botanical Name Dracaena marginata
Light  Partial to full shade
Water  Moderate moisture
Color Varieties Green leaves
Temperature 70-80 °F

This is one of the sturdiest low light indoor trees that are very easy to care for. In indoor conditions, they can reach more than 6 feet tall and need repotting every 2-3 years. They tolerate low-light conditions, though their leaves might grow smaller than usual. One thing to keep in mind if you have pets is that the dragon tree might be toxic to them.

8. Arrowhead Plant

Botanical Name Syngonium podophyllum
Light  Medium to low light
Water  Evenly moist, but not soggy soil
Color Varieties Pink, white, and lime leaf colors
Temperature 60-75 °F

Also known as the American evergreen, this plant can grow more than 6 ft high and belongs to the group of tall indoor plants that can live in low light conditions. You can keep it in a pot, hang it, or even train it to grow on a trellis or pole for support. Being one of the fastest-growing plants, the arrowhead plant likes humidity, especially during the winter months.

9. Ming Aralia

 

Botanical Name Polyscias fruticosa
Light  Partial shade
Water  Thorough watering after the soil becomes dry
Color Varieties Bright green leaves; white or yellow flowers
Temperature 65-85 °F

This exotic houseplant has ferny, feathery leaves that form a bush. Ming aralia is one of the low light indoor plants that can grow really large (more than 6 ft in height). To keep these trees happy and healthy, you should grow them in humid, warm conditions that mimic their native tropical environment. Also, make sure that you keep their soil well-drained, in order to stop their roots from rotting.

DID YOU KNOW: Another reason you should purchase Ming aralia plants is because of the fact that they’re great air purifiers. That’s because they can absorb and get rid of organic volatiles, which means that these indoor plants that don’t need the sun keep your indoor environment free from air pollutants.

10. Nerve Plant

Botanical Name Fittonia albivenis
Light  Partial shade
Water  Evenly moist soil
Color Varieties Deep green leaves with red, pink, or white veins
Temperature Around 70 °F

What makes this houseplant, also called the mosaic plant, stand out is the intricate patterns on its leaves, which appear in red, pink, or white colors. It blooms occasionally, with flower spikes in reddish or yellowish color. The nerve plant likes humid conditions, and it grows 3-6 inches in height and 12-18 inches. Its small size also means that you can grow it in a terrarium.

11. Dieffenbachia

Botanical Name Dieffenbachia seguine
Light  Bright to partial indirect light
Water  Consistently moist, but not soggy soil
Color Varieties Blue/green/gold leaves; white flowers
Temperature 65-75 °F

These tall indoor low light plants can come in green, variegated yellow, or white colors. It can grow from 3 to 6 ft tall and 1-3 ft wide. Dieffenbachia has air-purifying properties and likes to be kept in well-drained soil, exposed to filtered light only.

12. African Milk Tree

Botanical Name Euphorbia trigona
Light  Partial filtered light
Water  Well-drained, moist soil
Color Varieties Green/reddish-green leaves
Temperature 65-75 °F

The African milk tree is succulent, although, at first sight, it looks more like a cactus. These tall houseplants that enjoy low light stay green throughout the growing season, reaching 6 ft in height. It is very drought-tolerant and has teardrop-shaped leaves. It is pest-resistant and requires very little water.

13. Variegated Red Edge Peperomia

Botanical Name Peperomia clusiifolia Jelly
Light  Partial or dappled shade
Water  Moderately moist soil
Color Varieties Red-margined green and white leaves; greenish-white flower spikes
Temperature 60-80 °F

This is the variegated variety of the Peperomia plant which comes with a beautiful, oval leaf shape, with pink and cream-colored edges. They are grown primarily for their foliage, though some varieties can grow greenish-white flower spikes. These are plants that need little light, and they can grow from 12 to 18 inches tall and 6 inches wide. They should be watered moderately, with room temperature water.

14. Swiss Cheese Plant

Botanical Name Monstera deliciosa
Light  Partial shade
Water  Moderate moisture
Color Varieties Cream flowers
Temperature 60-85°F

Also known as the split-leaf philodendron, this plant is recognizable for its large, green, leathery leaves with holes on its sides. They grow in shady environments, as too much direct light can burn their leaves. Be aware that the Swiss cheese plant is toxic to pets.

DID YOU KNOW: The natural habitat of these indirect light houseplants are, in fact, tropical rainforests. In order to survive heavy rain and strong winds, they have developed holes in their leaves. This lets rain pass through the holes, protecting the Monstera plant from damage.

15. Red Edge Peperomia

Botanical Name Peperomia clusiifolia
Light  Partial, filtered sunlight
Water  Water every 2 weeks
Color Varieties Red-margined green leaves; greenish-white flower spikes
Temperature 65-75 °F

This is one of the best beginner plants, as it doesn’t require much care. These plants for dark rooms have thick, green, oval-shaped leaves that are tinged red on the edges. The leaves’ thickness enables them to retain water, as the roots don’t perform that function. That’s the reason these plants should only be watered occasionally, as excessive moisture can cause their roots to rot.

How to Grow Plants in Dark Rooms?

Although the right care usually depends on the type of plant and its requirements, there are some general rules that apply for all plants that are meant to be grown in dark environments:

  1. Make sure you choose the right low light plants for your apartments. Analyze the amount of natural and artificial light, and buy the plant that can thrive in such an environment.
  2. Monitor whether your plant needs more light. If you notice the stems stretching or the leaves starting to turn yellow, move them to a brighter spot, but never expose them to direct light.
  3. These types of plants will require occasional watering, usually once every 7-10 days.
  4. No matter how often you fertilize the plant’s soil, changing it every 2-3 years is a must. Most soils are made to last this much before they start losing their nutrients.
  5. When buying plants for low light spaces, choose those with larger leaves and thicker stems. These usually do better in low-light conditions.
  6. It is advisable that you research how to eliminate houseplant gnats and other pests, as some of these plants can be prone to insect infestations.

Conclusion

You’re probably relieved to find out that having a dark apartment doesn’t mean that you can’t liven it up with a colorful plant. Hope that this article has given you enough information to help you in your search for the perfect plan that will brighten up the darkest corners of your home.

FAQ

What plants do well in very low light?

Some of the best plants for low-light rooms are the ZZ Plant, staghorn fern, Rex begonia, dragon tree, Ming aralia, Swiss cheese plant, and more. In general, look for plants with larger leaves and chunkier stems, as these do better in low-light conditions.

What is a true low-light plant?

This is the type of plants that can not only survive, but grow and develop when placed in environments with limited exposure to light. This means that they can be placed in spots that are seven or more feet away from a window or even a windowless area with artificial lighting only.

Can you simulate sunlight for plants?

Although true low light houseplants don’t require exposure to a lot of natural light, they can’t live for long without any light. You can imitate sunlight by hanging or placing lights directly over the plants.

Leave a Reply