Popular Low Light Houseplants – Indoor Plants That Need Low Light

Large Indoor Potted Plant
low light plant
(Image credit: Bogdan Kurylo)

If you are looking for low light indoor plants, there are many houseplants to choose from. You must keep in mind a few things, though. This article will help you understand what it means to have plants that need low light and which houseplants for low light areas are most suitable for your space.

About Low Light Indoor Plants

The term “low light” can be very misleading. When you purchase a plant and the label includes it as a low light plant, it does not necessarily mean that these are indoor plants that need low light. It means that these are indoor plants that tolerate low light. Many of the houseplants that are sold are native to jungles around the world and grow on the forest floor. Oftentimes, the forest floor offers much more light compared to many locations in our homes. The lowest light inside of a home is found in front of northern windows. And this light intensity drops very quickly the further you get from any window.

Houseplants for Low Light Areas

Here are some of the best low light houseplants for your home or office area:

  • Sansevieria – The snake plant is a very popular and tough plant. These actually grow in bright light, and even direct sunshine, in nature. Amazingly enough, however, they are quite tolerant of lower light in the home. Best results will come from brighter light, but they will tolerate fairly low lit areas for quite a long time. There are varieties that grow just a few inches (several centimeters tall) to ones that can get up to 2-3 feet (61-91 cm.) tall. Plants are poisonous if ingested.
  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia – Commonly known as ZZ Plant, it is equally as tough as Sansevieria and is very similar in care. They have beautiful, glossy leaves that grow on slightly arching stems and seem to thrive on neglect. These plants are also poisonous if ingested.
  • Pothos and Philodendron – If you are looking for vining low light houseplants, both Pothos and Heart-Leaf Philodendron are excellent choices. The care is very similar, but the plants have slightly different appearances. There are varieties of Pothos with varying degrees of variegation in the leaves. The lower the light, the less the variegation. Heart-Leaf Philodendron has similar shaped leaves, but typically are just plain green.
  • Chlorophytum comosumSpider plants are delightful and easy to grow, and have the bonus of not being poisonous to cats. They produce quite a few baby plants that you can easily propagate in water and pot up.

There are many more low light plants to choose from including:

  • Chinese Evergreen – Varieties of Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) tolerate low light conditions rather well. They don’t like drafts, though, so keep them away from windows or doors where this could become an issue.
  • Cast Iron Plant – The cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a lush plant with has dark green leaves that will tolerate low light areas of the home. It’s slow growing and easy to care for.
  • Parlor PalmParlor palm houseplants (Chamaedorea elegans) grow slowly and are easy to care for. Unlike many “palms,” they actually prefer low light and thrive better when located in an area that receives early morning or late afternoon light.
  • Dracaena – A number of Dracaena houseplants are good candidates for low light, the most familiar of which is the Madagascar Dragon tree (D. marginata).
  • Peace Lily – The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is suitable for both low and medium light. In fact, those that are placed in more light tend to produce more lovely white spathes, while plants in lower light will bloom less but the foliage is still just as attractive.

Keep in mind that the lower the light, the less water these plants will use so be careful to allow these plants to dry out sufficiently before watering again. Be especially careful in the winter months when light is lower. You may want to move your plants closer to a window or supplement with fluorescent lighting.