There are a lot of plants that thrive indoors, finding houseplants that live in low light is something that every plant lover needs to know! This post covers my ultimate low light houseplants!
I have a very extensive post about plant lighting needs, it’s a good one and has a quiz to determine the type of lighting you have in your home! If you havent read that, it’s a great place to start!
Having plants in all parts of your home is amazing, but some places just dont have ideal lighting conditions. So what’s a plant lady to do!? Obviously buying a fake is not going to cut it. Intentionally buying plants that work in the space that you want them to live ensures that you are at least starting on the right path. Buying a plant that loves bright direct sunlight and putting it in your dark bathroom is a recipe for murder.
What Does Low Light Mean?
The term low light means that the space that you are putting the plant in receives very little natural light. Either there are no windows (or small ones) or there is something blocking them either on the inside of your house (like curtains) or on the outside (like an awning, a building, or vegetation.)
The Best Place To Buy Indoor Plants
This list runs the gamut between super common, like the ZZ Plant and Snake Plant. To the unique Marimo Moss Balls and Liriope. You can find a handful of these types of plants at your local Home Depot, or online at places like Etsy or The Sill, but my favorite place to score is a local indoor nursery called Moss and Timber (Southern Utah friends you’ve got to check it out!). Places like this is where you’ll find plants you’ve never heard of, and get more specific and specialized info and you can see the health of the plant. When you buy online its a mystery!
The Ultimate List of Low Light Indoor Plants
This list is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE low light houseplants. They each have a home in the Merc and I love them all so much! Read a little about each of them below as well as how to care for them!
Most low light houseplants only reach a meduim size. If you want a tree sized plant, I would recommend a Dracaena- if you start with a larger one, you’ll be able to put it in a room with dim light and it will do fine! Dracaenea are characterized by their long spikey leaves. They look similar to a palm with a woody stalk, but are more forgiving.
This plant will be on every low light houseplant list on the internet because it is just that good. Snake Plant or Mother In Law’s Tongue is sort of the perfect indoor plant. It can survive weeks of neglect and still look great, it handles low light like a champ, it’s easy to divide and propagate and cleans toxins like formaldehide and benzene out of the air. Keep watering to a minimal and let the soil dry out between waterings to keep it happy!
ZZ Plants have deep green glossy oval leaves that look fresh after months of neglect. Keep waterings few and far between and allow soil to dry out inbetween. In fact, one of the only ways to kill a ZZ Plant is to water it too much (you’ll know this is happening if the leaves turn yellow and start to drop off.) This guy is happy in a mostly dim room with little natural light (you probably walked passed a few last time you were at the mall in 2006)
Kangaroo Paw Fern
This cute guy gets his name from the kangaroo foot shaped leaves, but personally I love it’s fuzzy little roots more. If you (like me) run far away from any type of fern, listen before you high tail it out of here. Kangaroo Paw Ferns are VERY forgiving and nothing like their Boston or Maidenhair cousins. It does great in low light and prefers continuously moist soil but never overwatered or soggy. It is so fun to seen new leaves roll out and stretch their fingers.
Neanthe Bella Palm
Neanthe Bella are the worlds smallest palm tree! Often called a Parlor Palm, they are great for tabletops or desks. The tolerate low light very well and their bushy tops are so fun to run your fingers through! These guys love even moisture, so water when the surface of the soil becomes dry.
You can grow Chinese evergreen just about anywhere in your home, it tolerates low light well, but also grows well in bright spots. It doesn’t even need natural light to thrive! Chinese evergreen does just fine in offices with fluorescent lighting. This plant is fairly slow growing so it’s great for a desk or dresser and wont need repotting for a while.
Liriope, also known as Lilyturf is a hearty grass that blooms with bright purple flowers! It is extremely tolerant of any light condition and would look great on a coffee table! Liriope loves even soil moisture, so water when the soil is dry to the touch!
Marimo Moss Balls
These little guys are the equivalent of a plant puppy. They are absolutely adorable and it’s impossible to not want to pet them. Marimo Moss Balls are actually not moss at all but a very slow growing form of Algae that is found in cold freshwater lakes of Scotland, Iceland, Japan, and Australia. If they receive too much light (that can be intensified by their glass enclosure) they will start to turn brown and die. They are great on a bookshelf or in your kitchen and add so much personality. Marimo Moss Balls must be completely submerged in water at all times. Agitate them every few days with a quick stir or rub and change their water very 2 weeks (you can use tap water!)
With their unusual shaped leaves, and low light tolerance, Arrowhead Plants are a must-have for your darker rooms. The more mature they get the longer their trailing vines become. They are great in a hanging planter, or even trained to climb a trellis. The darker varieties with less variegation do even better in low light. Arrowhead Plants love even soil moisture, so water them when the soil surface begins to dry out.
Angel Wing Begonia
This guy, with it’s silver spotted leaves can adapt to almost any light condition. The Angel Wing Begonia is a flowering plant, and the color of the blooms + leaves depends on the amount of light received! The brighter the light the deeper the colors. When it’s a new plant (like mine) support the knobbly stalk with a chopstick until more shoots grow, then the large leaves will support each other. Allow the top 1″ of soil to dry out between waterings!
This is one of the coolest plants around. When lighting conditions are low, the leaves fold up (almost vertical) and touch each other, like praying hands! Prayer Plants come in a lot of different varieties, but this one (commonly called Red Maranta) is my favorite. I love the shades of green, the red veins, and the purple underside. Couple that with the velvety texture and it is sure to be a favorite!! Water when the top of the soil is just about dry, the Prayer Plant loves even moisture!