6 Low Light Houseplants Fitting For That Darker Room

low light indoor plants

Wondering how to add greenery to your low-light bathroom, dark corner, or small space? There are luckily a few indoor plants that’ll do just fine in spaces with, let’s call it... a lot of shade. And some will even enjoy and benefit from that bathroom humidity. Do note though that low-light and no-light are two different things. And all plants require some level of sunlight in order to survive. So if this darker room of yours has zero light, then we advise adding zero plants. Without photosynthesis, plants will not survive unless supplemented with grow lights or taken into a spot with brighter light every couple of days. Conveniently, all of the plants on our list are also considered easy to care for and are great for beginners. 

What exactly would be considered low-light?

low light houseplants graphic

Typically “low-light” rooms mean that there’s some source of light, like a window nearby or down the hall. When it comes to windows, north-facing ones receive the least amount of natural light. So low-light tolerant plants will usually do well near a window facing north. If there’s a west, east, or south window in somewhat proximity to your plant (like in a different room from your plant, but the light floods into the plant’s room), then your plant could live happily depending on how much light is trickling in. Basically, if you can enter a low-light room during the day and carry along with whatever you went in to do without needing to turn the lights on, then your plant will likely be ok in there. However, if it’s so dark that you cannot easily see what you’re doing without needing light, then there won’t be enough light to adequately supply the plant. You’ll also want to pay attention to the ways that sunlight shifts in your space during different seasons. Winter means less sun intensity and for shorter periods, so you may need to move your plant accordingly. After you’ve established how “low” your level of light is, you can start to plan where the plant should live.

Low-Light Tolerant Houseplants:

  1. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
moonshine snake plant

With many varieties of the snake plant, one without variegation or bright colors will work best in lower light conditions. This is because the lighter and brighter shades (of all plants) tend to contain less pigments, and therefore less chlorophyll, so need more light to photosynthesize. A traditional green plant like the Sansevieria trifasciata or cylindrica will typically do well in the office, nook, or bedside table (especially since snake plants release oxygen at night!). 

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2. Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)

dracaena houseplant

Dracaena, also known as the Corn Plant, handles soft light well and is generally a simple plant to look after. It also adds some height with the vibrant stalks & sturdy trunk, which is perfect for filling in corners nicely. Dracaena is believed to filter the air, cleansing the indoor environment. 

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3. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas)

zz plant

Both drought-tolerant and low-light tolerant, the ZZ plant is adored by plant lovers for its easy going demeanor (not to mention, it’s beautiful!). This plant is indigenous to the desert and can go weeks without water. It’s also quite pest-resistant which makes it a favored choice. The ZZ, also known as Zanzibar Gem, makes a seamless addition nearly anywhere in your indoor space. 

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4. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Known for being low-maintenance, Pothos is a great option for your low-light spot. Again, the cultivars with darker colorations will fare better. For instance, the Golden Pothos is a wonderful option to boost vibrancy and lushness in your space. In lower light, variegation will be less pronounced. 

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5. Monstera (Monstera)

monstera deliciosa

Monstera plants such as the Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii will handle fairly well in low-light. In their natural habitat, they grow under the trees (and climb upwards) in rainforests. So they’re used to a shady spot as long as it’s warm (normal indoor temps are good) with some humidity. 

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6. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

ponytail palm plant

The Ponytail Palm is another houseplant that is semi-drought tolerant. It’s simple to maintain, whimsical, and unique. This plant makes a great statement piece in any space like the entryway or hallway.

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Signs of Insufficient Light

If your plant is getting too little light, it will tell you through faded, wilted, and dying foliage. Other ways that light depravity may express itself is through leggy, sparse, or patchy growth.  In these cases, it’s best to move the plant to a new permanent spot with brighter light in order to revive. In some cases you can simply move it closer to the window, your closest light source (assuming it’s indirect). Or if that just isn’t an option, you may need to invest in a grow light. 

It’s also helpful to remember that the vast majority of indoor plants are accustomed to filtered, moderately bright environments in the wild. So while these sturdy and flexible houseplants are ‘tolerable’ of lower amounts of light, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll flourish best there. Overall houseplants usually thrive under indirect, bright conditions, but sometimes we have no other choice but low-light environments— like city apartments with few windows or rooms with limited access to light. And everyone has that dim spot that they want to spruce up. In certain lower light spots, plants will certainly live, but may experience slowed growth. So don’t be discouraged if your plant isn’t putting out new leaves as much, it’s still totally healthy and fine!

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