Low Light Houseplants :: A Short (but awesome!) Guide

Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Lawn & GardenPlants

Over the years, the most frequent question I hear in our greenhouse is “Which plants will grow without any light?” Of course, no houseplant will grow in the dark; but if you have north facing windows or rooms with no direct light there are a number of low light houseplants that might do nicely. I have listed a few common ones below, but if you have additional questions or need more choices, please do not hesitate to contact use in the greenhouse. We are always happy to help.

Aglaonema ( Chinese Evergreen)

This plant has large attractive upright variegated leaves. It requires very little watering. It is considered a Clean Air Plant, which means it reduces common pollutants from the air. Due to the ease of growing and the attractiveness of this plant, you often see large varieties planted in shopping malls.


Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor Palm, Neanthe bella)

This small indoor palm is a slow grower with a delicate appearance. This palm is also considered a Clean Air Plant. Keep it evenly moist: not completely dry or overly wet. It likes to be fertilized.


Epipremnum aureum (Golden Pathos)

This plant has heart shaped leaves which can sit on a table top, hang from a basket or stand upright with a support. The more light it receives the more variegation you’ll see on the leaves. Keep the soil moderately dry and cut back if it becomes too long.


Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston Fern)  

This plant is often used as a interior design element. Keep it away from cold drafts and heat ducts. It likes to be kept evenly moist with high humidity. There are quite a number of ferns that do well in low light.


Philodendron (Heart-leaf)

This is a strong, easy grower, often seen trailing over the edge of bookshelves. Let the soil dry out between watering. Yellow leaves could indicate too little light or too much water.


Rex Begonia

This plant ,with its multi-color leaves, adds color to a shady spot. Water when soil is slightly dry.


Sansevieria (Snake Plant)

This architecturally shaped succulent thrives on neglect. It has sleek glossy leaves and is also a Clean Air Plant. It is slow growing. You can control the height by the size of the pot and there are newer dwarf varieties. It is low or high light tolerant.


Spathiphyllum (Peace Lilly)

This plant, with dark glossy leaves, produces a stunning large white flower, which will re-bloom several times during the year. The soil needs to be kept consistently moist. They are commonly seen in office buildings.


Syngonium podophyllum  (Arrowhead Vine)

This plant has colorful arrow shaped leaves that keep their variegation even in low light. Smaller plants form a mound, but stems begin to vine as the plants mature. Keep them evenly moist.


Zamioculcas (ZZ Plant)

I have saved the BEST until last. This is a ferny looking Philodendron relative. The glossy thick green leaves grow up and out. The only way to kill this plant is by over-watering. It thrives on neglect and is a slow grower. It is great for the traveler. I have one in my dining room (3 years now), which has very low light, and one in my entertainment room (2 years), which has medium light. Both are doing great. The ZZ is for anyone and for everywhere.


If you try to duplicate the natural environment of your plant, it will have a good chance to thrive. All the plants listed here can take some light. Generally speaking, with more light, the faster the plant will grow and the more water it will need.

So relax this winter in that low light area with a fire glowing, a glass of wine, maybe a dog or cat on your lap and your low light plants. Enjoy!

Marilyn Fanning | Greenhouse Sales & Design