5 Great Choices of Plants That Can Thrive in Low Light Environments


When we think of plants, we often imagine them basking in the warm sunlight, their lush green leaves soaking up the rays. However, not all plants require direct sunlight to thrive. In fact, there are several varieties that are perfectly happy in low-light conditions. Whether you have a window-less corner in your home or office, or simply prefer a darker ambiance, there are options for you.

One such option is the Zamioculcas zamiifolia, also known as the ZZ plant. This dark green beauty can tolerate light levels as low as 5 to 9 foot-candles, which is lower than most indoor lights. It thrives in warm temperatures and has the added benefit of being low maintenance, making it a great choice for busy plant owners.

The Sansevieria, commonly referred to as the Snake Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is another excellent low-light plant. With its silver-green leaves, it can tolerate light levels as low as 15 foot-candles. Additionally, it is known for its air-purifying qualities, making it a perfect addition to any indoor space.

If you’re looking for a plant that can truly thrive in the darkest of corners, the Monstera adansonii, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, is a top choice. This plant can tolerate light levels as low as 1 foot-candle, making it ideal for window-less rooms. Its unique fenestrated leaves add a touch of elegance and intrigue to any space.

For those who love the look of ferns but struggle to keep them alive, the Boston Fern is a fantastic alternative. With its cascading fronds, it can withstand light levels as low as 23 foot-candles. Unlike other ferns, the Boston Fern is less prone to becoming leggy or eventually dying off. Plus, it’s safe for children and pets, making it a worry-free choice.

Last but not least, the Devil’s Ivy, also known as Pothos or Money Plant, is a vine that can thrive in low-light conditions. It’s an incredibly forgiving plant that can withstand light levels as low as 1 foot-candle. Its heart-shaped leaves add a touch of greenery to any window-less corner, making it a popular choice for indoor spaces.

So, if you’re looking to bring a bit of nature into your window-less or low-light space, consider one of these fantastic choices. From the dark green beauty of the ZZ plant to the elegance of the Boston Fern, there are options for every style and preference. Just remember to choose plants that are suited for the light levels in your space, and you’ll have a thriving indoor garden in no time.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Low Light Plants

If you have rooms with limited natural light, don’t worry! There are several low light plants that can thrive in these conditions. Here are some great choices:

  • Boston Fern: These plants have light and delicate fronds that grow beautifully in low light environments. They are often sold as hanging plants.
  • Zamiifolia: Also known as the ZZ plant, this is a low maintenance plant that can tolerate low light areas. Its shiny, dark green leaves add a touch of elegance to any corner.
  • Pothos: This vine plant is known for its trailing green leaves. It can grow in both low and bright light, making it a versatile choice for any room.
  • Monstera: This plant has large, dramatic leaves that can eventually grow to be quite large. It can tolerate low light, but will thrive with some bright indirect light.
  • Dieffenbachia: Also known as dumb cane, this plant has beautiful patterned leaves that can brighten up any dark space. It’s important to note that this plant is toxic to pets and children, so be sure to keep it out of their reach.

These plants are great choices for low light environments. Just be sure to follow their specific care needs and tips above. Even in darker rooms, they’ll help create a lusher, happier atmosphere.

Plants That Grow in the Dark 5 Great Choices

When it comes to choosing plants for our homes, pets often play a big role in our decision-making. Many plants can be toxic to cats and dogs, but there are plenty of options that can thrive in darkness.

One of the easiest and well-known plants that can grow indoors in low light is the fern. Ferns are already so used to growing in darkness, or in shady areas, so they are the perfect choice for those who want a green touch inside their homes. Although ferns prefer patterns of light, they can still grow in nearly darkness.

Another popular choice for growing in low light conditions is the Dracaena. This plant can be watered less frequently and can thrive in low light, so it’s an ideal choice for those who aren’t always around to keep up with the watering schedule. The Dracaena grows upwards like a vine and is often sold with a base and adanson’s fern.

The Parlor Palm is known for being happy in lower light conditions. They do prefer a little bit of light, so it’s best to place them near a window, but they can also tolerate being away from direct light. Parlor Palms are one of the most popular choices for those who want a low-maintenance indoor plant that can still brighten up their space.

The Devil’s Ivy, also known as the Golden Pothos or Money Plant, is a great choice for low-light conditions. This plant has beautiful silver patterns on its leaves, and when placed near a window, they’ll grow and look absolutely stunning. Plus, Devil’s Ivy is known to help purify the air in our homes!

If you’re looking for a plant that can survive in the darkest corners of your home, the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, commonly known as the ZZ plant, is your best bet. This plant can survive in almost any light condition, including extremely low light. It has shiny, dark green leaves and can tolerate infrequent watering, making it the perfect choice for those who often forget to water their plants.

So, if you have a home with low-light spaces, don’t worry! There are many great choices when it comes to plants that can thrive in darkness and still bring a touch of nature inside.

  • Ferns
  • Dracaena
  • Parlor Palm
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • ZZ Plant

Lucky Bamboo

The lucky bamboo, also known as Dracaena sanderiana, is a popular low-light houseplant that can thrive in areas with minimal natural light. Despite its name, lucky bamboo is not actually a bamboo but a type of Dracaena plant.

This plant is native to rainforests in West Africa and was often found growing under the dense canopy of trees, where sunlight could only penetrate through small openings. As a result, lucky bamboo has adapted to tolerate low light conditions and can grow in rooms that have limited access to natural sunlight, such as windowless offices or dark corners of a home.

Lucky bamboo has long, slender stems with bright green leaves that resemble bamboo. The plant is commonly sold in arrangements that can be placed in water or potted in soil. It is an evergreen plant that can grow to be several feet tall if provided with the right conditions.

One of the reasons why lucky bamboo is a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts is that it is relatively low maintenance. It does not require direct sunlight and can thrive in bright indirect light. However, too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn, so it’s best to keep lucky bamboo away from windows with intense sunlight.

In addition to its adaptability to low-light conditions, lucky bamboo is also known for its air-purifying qualities. It’s been said that this plant can help detoxify the air by removing pollutants and improving air quality. While more research is needed to confirm these claims, having lucky bamboo in your home can’t hurt.

When it comes to caring for lucky bamboo, it’s important to keep in mind a few key factors. First, lucky bamboo prefers to be kept in water rather than soil. Make sure to change the water every two to four weeks and use distilled water or tap water that has been left out for 24 hours to remove any chlorine.

Secondly, lucky bamboo does not require a lot of fertilizer. You can use a balanced houseplant fertilizer once every two to three months. Finally, lucky bamboo thrives in temperatures between 65°F and 90°F (18°C and 32°C), so make sure to keep it away from cold drafts or hot air vents.

In conclusion, lucky bamboo is a great choice for those looking to add some greenery to their homes or offices, especially if the space has limited access to natural light. Its adaptability to low-light conditions, air-purifying qualities, and relative ease of care make it an ideal choice for beginners or anyone looking to add a touch of nature to their environment.

Parlor Palm

The Parlor Palm, also known as the Chusan Palm or Neanthe Bella Palm, is a popular choice for indoor plants that can thrive in low light conditions. It is native to the subtropical regions of Southern China and Taiwan, where it grows in the understory of dense forests.

The Parlor Palm is the perfect plant to brighten up a windowless room or any other space that lacks natural light. It can tolerate low light conditions and is one of the easiest indoor plants to care for.

This evergreen plant has a slender trunk with lush, green fronds that arch gracefully. The fronds are composed of multiple leaflets that give it a delicate and elegant appearance. The Parlor Palm can reach a height of 4 to 6 feet if grown in optimal conditions, although it usually stays smaller when grown as a houseplant.

The Parlor Palm requires minimal watering and can withstand occasional neglect. It is important to allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. The plant prefers slightly moist soil, so make sure to water it when the top inch feels dry to the touch.

As for temperature, the Parlor Palm thrives in average room temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also tolerant of lower temperatures, making it a great option for homes that are cooler during the winter months.

When it comes to fertilizing, a general-purpose indoor plant fertilizer can be applied once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). However, the Parlor Palm is known to be a slow grower, so it doesn’t require excessive fertilization.

The Parlor Palm is generally a pet-friendly plant, as it is not toxic to cats or dogs. However, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your pets and make sure they don’t chew on the leaves or the base of the plant.

In conclusion, the Parlor Palm is a great choice for anyone who wants to add some greenery to their home or office spaces. It is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in low light conditions, making it perfect for windowless rooms or other spaces where natural light is limited. Its lush green fronds and elegant appearance will definitely brighten up any space and bring a touch of nature into your life.

✿ Read More About Houseplants.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.