Indirect Light Houseplants: Choosing Plants For North-Facing Windows

Potted Plant On Windowsill
north facing
(Image credit: Studio Light and Shade)

When growing houseplants in your home, one of the most important aspects to ensure they will thrive is placing them in the correct light. If you are looking for some great indirect light houseplants, there are plenty that you can grow. North-facing windows provide the least amount of light compared to other exposures but, luckily, you have many choices for houseplants in north-facing windows. 

Choosing Houseplants for North-Facing Windows

Keep in mind that no plant likes to be placed in a dark corner. There are plants that will tolerate it, but you’ll want to have your plants within a foot (30 cm.) or so away from your north-facing window. Here are some plants that like low light windows:

  • PothosPothos is a wonderful low light houseplant. You can allow the trailing vines to grow long, or if you’d like a bushier look, you can trim them back. This plant has also been studied by NASA for its air purifying qualities. It tolerates a good amount of neglect and is a great beginner’s plant.
  • Sansevieria – Mother in law tongue, or snake plant, is a fantastic plant. There are many varieties and they all tolerate a great amount of neglect and varied light conditions. Be sure to give these plants a nicely draining potting mix and let them dry out in between thorough watering.
  • ZZ Plant – The ZZ plant is another tough houseplant that will thrive in front of a north-facing window. Although these plants are not technically succulents, you can treat them as succulents when it comes to watering. Give them a well-drained potting mix and let them dry out completely in between watering. 
  • Calathea – There are many species in the Calathea genus that make fantastic houseplants for your north-facing windows. The trick with Calathea is to keep the potting mix evenly moist. Never allow these to dry out completely. Allow the surface to dry a bit, and then water again. If you can provide higher humidity for these plants, it will benefit them. Proper watering is more important though. 
  • SpathiphyllumPeace lilies are great plants for northern windows. They will even flower for you. These plants will often tell you when they need to be watered by wilting. Be sure to water these thoroughly if the soil is completely dry and you see the entire plant wilting. These plants prefer to stay on the moister side, much like Calatheas do.
  • Staghorn Ferns - Staghorn ferns are a more unusual option for your northern window. These are typically sold mounted to a piece of wood and affixed onto sphagnum moss. Simply soak them when the moss is almost dry. Also mist the foliage as well. It is important to avoid moisture extremes with these plants. Never allow them to dry out completely for too long, but be sure that they don’t sit in water either for a long time as this can encourage disease.