8 houseplants that can live happily in low light

8 houseplants that can live happily in low light

If you’ve tried adding houseplants to your space and then they wilt, one of the culprits could be light — an especially annoying element to get into the right spot.

“Although a window may appear bright to your eye, the reality is that the light available to your plants is much less than you think,” Leslie F. Halleck, a certified professional horticulturist and author of Gardening Under Lights, says via email. .

“Most spots in our house would be considered low-light unless they were directly in front of a window that gets direct sunlight,” adds Rafael Di Lallo, author of “Houseplant Warrior” and founder of Ohio Tropics.

And not all windows are equal: While a west-facing window provides intense afternoon light and a south-facing window provides ample light throughout the day, a north-facing window doesn’t provide much general light at all; East-facing windows generally provide a good balance. Other factors, such as the season, the distance your plant is located from the glass, and obstacles outside your home, further complicate matters.

Fortunately, many houseplant species — often varieties found on bush and forest floors in the wild — can grow well in low-light conditions. Just remember, “Low light doesn’t mean no light,” says Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, founder of Houseplant Guru and author of Houseplants: The Complete Guide. She and our other experts also warn that some common recommendations for dark spots aren’t actually a natural fit for them. An example is the snake plant, which thrives in sunlight in its native habitat. “It will survive (in low light), but it will die slowly,” Steinkopf says. “You will see that it becomes sparse because it does not have enough energy.”

So, while you won’t find snake plant on this list, you will find eight other recommendations, all of which can live happily in low-light places.

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This plant, which grows up to three feet tall, has lance-shaped leaves that are great for adding brightness to a bedroom, shelf or desk that receives low light. Just be sure to choose a type with dark green leaves. “There are some brightly colored varieties, or some pink and red varieties, but they need more light so the colors don’t fade,” Di Lallo says.

You’ll know how to water your Chinese evergreen when the topsoil dries out.

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In the wild, ferns typically grow in shaded areas with limited light, which often makes them an ideal housemate for homes with a lot of dark areas. But that doesn’t mean they’re low maintenance, most ferns also need a humid climate and plenty of water to thrive.

“If you love ferns, but struggle to survive in low humidity, I highly recommend the Blue Star Fern“,” Halleck says. This gorgeous fern has bluish-gray fronds and is tolerant of low light and low humidity. And forgetting to water it wouldn’t be a death sentence: “Blue star fern can store more water in its fleshy roots, so you’ll find this plant to be very resilient and tolerant of periods of drought,” she says.

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If you want a lush-looking plant without the bright light requirements that many tropical regions require, the heart-leaved philodendron may be an ideal choice. This shelf-sized plant has drooping vines with — you guessed it — heart-shaped leaves, making it a particularly attractive choice for a high perch where its greenery can cascade downward.

Not only can it tolerate low light, but it can survive low humidity as well. “You’ll also find that they’re very flexible and forgiving when it comes to forgetful watering,” Halleck says.

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Hoyas are often called wax plants because of their waxy green leaves. Many varieties grow well in a hanging basket or on a shelf from which their leaves can hang. It is best to place it near a window that does not receive a lot of direct light.

“One older variety is Hoya pubicalyx, which is a vine that can be grown on north, east or west windows,” says Byron E. Martin, president of Logee’s Plants for Home & Garden and co-author of “Edible Houseplants.” “You don’t want it in southern windows because the leaves will bleach.”

If you travel frequently or are indiscriminate with your watering, this is a good plant to have. “They are very tolerant of dry conditions because they are epiphytic, which means they grow in tropical forest trees,” he says. “It goes through long periods of drought, so if you grow it in your house and go on a trip for a couple of months, the plant will be fine.”

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Peace lilies have bright green, glossy leaves, and when they open, their white, oval flowers appear. Although many flowering houseplants require a sunny location, peace lilies can still produce flowers even in low light situations. “I put them away from the window and they are very forgiving as long as you don’t allow them to dry out completely,” Di Lallo says. “This is probably the best (option) for low-light flowering houseplants you can grow at home.”

Steinkopf keeps his peace lily in a window overlooking a covered front porch, which means the plant is only illuminated in the morning. She says she is “happy” and that it has bloomed, but not as profusely as might have been possible with more sun.

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Because pothos plants are hardy and easy to care for, they are popular and readily available plants. “It’s almost everywhere,” Di Lallo says. “You can find it in nurseries and in supermarkets.” Pothos tolerates low light, and as a bonus, Di Lallo says, it’s resistant to pests.

Consider the jade plant with its thick, dark green leaves that are more drought-tolerant, so you don’t need to water as often, Steinkopf says. Another option is golden pothos, with stunning yellow foliage. These plants are on the smaller side, making them well-suited for shelves, plant stands, or hanging containers from which drooping vines can hang down.

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Despite the name, silver pothos, which has variegated green and silver leaves, is not actually part of the pothos family; He belongs to a different genus. But similar to the Pothos species mentioned above, they are also ideal for placing on a shelf or in a hanging basket from which their vines can hang.

Steinkopf has had silver gems for years that appear in her book. “It’s five feet from the west window in my bathroom, and it still looks as good as it does in the photo,” she says.

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This type of peperomia is a compact plant with variegated leaves whose green and white stripes resemble watermelon rind. Native to the tropical rainforests of South America, they are found on the forest floor, Martin says, which means they are well adapted to getting little light as well as dealing with periods without water. Give them a drink when the top layer of dirt is dry to the touch.

Lauren David writes about gardening and sustainability.

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