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The 10 Best Low Light Houseplants

The 10 Best Low Light Houseplants
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These hardy low light houseplants will thrive in the places where other plants won’t.

Not all plants require bright light to flourish; in fact, some plants do best in low to medium light exposure, making them a perfect fit for north-facing and small indoor rooms with little to no natural light. Learn about 10 great low light houseplants that can enhance dimmer living environments and add beauty and life to rooms that were once thought to be too dark for plants.

Low Light Houseplants
Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
Spider plants are one of the best low light houseplants.

10 Best Low Light Houseplants

Ferns: Ferns thrive in shady areas in the wild and will actually burn and die if left in direct sun or high light sources. Airy and woodsy, these plants are a low light classic. Placing them in filtered sunlight is also an option, as well as keeping them damp, but not soggy. Ferns are not tolerant of dry conditions, so morning misting can be helpful to your ferns.  

Snake Plant: Sometimes called “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue,” this low light houseplant can grow to be a few feet high and add height and balance to your décor. The snake plant will thrive in minimal to bright light. It is one of the most forgiving and enduring of all houseplants.

Spider Plant: Spider plants prefer low light and can go for long periods of time without hydration only to spring back into great shape when watered. If the leaves begin to turn brown, the plant may be getting too much light. Keep within 5-8 feet of the window and it should thrive.

Anthurium: The anthurium plant, which serves as a great focal point for any room, requires low light and infrequent watering. However, insufficient light will slow the plant’s growth rate and fewer flowers will be produced. This plant produces beautiful red blooms that sprout at the tip of a stem punctuating the green foliage back drop.

Baby Tears: A carpet of tiny trailing green leaves, this houseplant requires a moist medium. It thrives in low light environments. Keep out of direct sunlight as it may scorch the leaves.  

Begonia: With its crinkled, wavy textured leaves that may or may not have a fuzzy outer layer, begonias can be transplanted outside in the spring. If the plant is receiving too little light, it will appear to be stretching to reach the sun. Too much sunlight will scorch the plant’s leaves. Begonias do well under fluorescent lights, as well.

Orchids: These delicate plants are surprisingly easy to grow and prefer a steady climate of indirect light and the occasional misting. Dark blotches on leaves or reddish-green leaves indicate that the plant is getting too much sun. Leaves that are dark green rather than bright green indicate not enough sunlight.

Bonsai: A great Feng Shui plant, certain bonsais are the perfect fit for a room that lacks direct sunlight. There are several types of bonsais to choose from, and it’s worth the time spent researching them to find a low light bonsai that will make a statement in an otherwise plant-free room. If the plant is getting too much light, the leaves will scorch and the foliage will press down as though it’s shrinking away from the light and heat.  

Bamboo: This water plant looks lovely grouped in a tall cylindrical vase in any room. Anchor the vase with smooth river stones for a Zen flair. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves, but if the plant begins to stretch, or if the green fades, it may need more light.

African Violet: A great terrarium plant with tiny, delicate, pink, white or purple flowers, the African violet is right at home in a room temperature climate with adequate light conditions. Keep soil moist. If plant stops blooming or the leaves become yellow, place it in a sunny window for a few weeks. Elongated stems and leaves may indicate too little light.

Like this article? Check out these other popular houseplant posts:
Sun-Loving Houseplants │ 5 Windowsill Choices
African Violet Care │ Grow Healthy African Violets
Best Houseplants for Winter Foliage

Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley (Fleming) Wigglesworth is an award-winning freelance journalist from Maine specializing in maritime topics and the commercial fishing industry. She is also a certified Maine Master Gardener who writes gardening articles on a regular basis for Yankee Magazine. Her work can be found in the following publications: The York County Coast Star, Portsmouth Herald, Bangor Daily News, Yankee Magazine (online), National Fisherman Magazine, Commercial Fisheries News, Tourist News, Points East Magazine, Coastal Angler and The Maine Lobstermen's Association’s “Landings.” Follow Shelley on Facebook.
Updated Monday, March 24th, 2014

One Response to The 10 Best Low Light Houseplants

  1. Pro Carpet Cleaning Hampshire April 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Jade plants are also pretty good for areas with low light. I always get the impression that they like the light (do very well outside in the summer), but they’re so hardy that they’ll survive just about anywhere!

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