What Plants Grow Indoors In Shade: Houseplants That Like Shade

Japanese Holly Fern
Image by Leonora Enking

By Bonnie L. Grant

Shaded locations of the home are tough to stock with live plants. That is probably why silk plants are popular. However, there are numerous low light plants that can liven up the darker spaces and thrive. Tropical plants for shade regions, for instance, are perfect choices because the light level mimics their understory jungle habitat. Read on to learn what plants grow indoors in shade and how to keep them looking their best.

Easy Care Indoor Plants for Shade

Houseplants that like shade may be a little hard to pinpoint but actually there are many that can tolerate low light situations. The key to keeping them healthy is to supplement light levels with artificial lighting. Any plant needs a certain number of foot candles of light per day for optimum health. Foot candles measure the amount of light given off by a candle one foot away and increase as light intensity increases. Additionally, the bulbs used need to provide the red and blue parts of the spectrum that plants require for growth.

Many shady areas are found in office buildings and work settings. The plants need to be low maintenance, as they spend weekends alone and holidays and vacations. Supplemental lighting is generally found in the fluorescent lights, which gives off little heat and work minimally unless there are reflectors.

Some plants that are perfect for these types of situations are:

Each of these is a great shade plant for inside. Additionally, English ivy, some cacti and Dieffenbachia are great plants to grow in low light situations.

Tropical Plants for Shade

Tropicals lend an air of the exotic to humdrum office cubicles or just the dim corners of your home.

Dracaenas come in several forms from Dragon tree to Rainbow tree, and will add dimension as well as color and life to dim locations.

Mother-in laws tongue, or snake plant, is more than a plant with a fun name. It is hardy and tenacious, requiring little water and minimal to moderate light. It has architectural appeal with the pointed thick foliage and waxy exterior.

Other tropical shade plants for inside might include:

Other Considerations with Indoor Plants for Shade

Far beyond deciding what plants grow indoors in shade are the cultural and other environmental conditions for interior plants. Houseplants that like shade still need light. If the lighting is enough that a person can read comfortably, the shade lover should receive enough foot candles. If the area is dimmer, you will have to increase the day hours the plant is exposed to light.

Shade plants for inside tend to need less frequent watering than those in full light. Water deeply, but infrequently and allow the top few inches of soil to dry out to prevent mold.

Interior plants usually thrive best in temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 C) or more. Shade lovers are no exception and those dark spaces of the home tend to be cool. Turn up the heat so your plants are happy.

Indoor plants for shade also require fertilizing every two weeks with a liquid dilution from March to September. This will help compensate for the low light levels and minimal carbohydrate storage the plant contains for fuel.

This article was last updated on

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