20 Great Houseplants for Low-Light Conditions

Best Houseplants for Low Light

The Spruce

Low-light conditions are always a challenge for the indoor gardener. Even plants that do well in outdoor shade tend to need more light when grown indoors, and this can be hard to come by unless you provide auxiliary lighting. But all is not lost. There are some houseplant species that positively thrive on little light.

Tip

Low-light houseplants will likely do fine in an east- or west-facing room that has a window or two, even if they get no direct sunshine. But a room with no windows or a single north-facing window will make it hard on even the most shade-tolerant plants. Here, you can help out your plants by leaving artificial lights on for a few hours each day.

Here are 20 low-light indoor plants that will do well, even if your window doesn't get bright sunlight.

  • 01 of 20

    Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

    a lucky bamboo

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Grown in either water or soil, lucky bamboo plants can be found in many offices and homes. An important element of feng shui practice, lucky bamboo plants are said to bring good luck and fortune, especially if the plants were given as gifts. It also helps that they have a well-earned reputation as being nearly indestructible. Lucky bamboo prefers some light but will gladly thrive in nearly full-shade locations. Just make sure they aren't by any drafty areas in your home. And keep them away from pets, as they do have toxic properties.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate to high moisture

    Color Varieties: Green stalks and leaves

  • 02 of 20

    Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

    a spider plant on a mantel

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    The spider plant is one of the most adaptable and easy to grow houseplants. It is so named because of its spider-like offshoots, or spiderettes, which dangle down from the parent plant like spiders on a web. Spider plants can be grown as hanging or trailing plants in baskets or pots. They will survive for a long time in less-than-ideal light conditions, including artificial light. Make sure to water regularly to prevent the soil from drying out.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green or variegated foliage

  • 03 of 20

    Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

    golden pothos

    The Spruce / Kara Riley 

    Golden pothos can thrive in conditions in which almost no other plants can grow, including darkness and a near-complete lack of water. It is one of the most popular houseplants, thanks to its attractive, durable, and easy to grow vines with smooth, leathery, heart-shaped leaves. Some varieties have leaves with distinctive marbling alternating along rope-like green stems. Be sure to loosen and dust the vines every so often to prevent them from becoming a tangled mess. Also, keep pets away from this plant, as it is toxic.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green or variegated foliage

  • 04 of 20

    Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

    a snake plant against a brick wall

    The Spruce / Alonda Baird

    The Sansevieria species are some of the best low-light indoor plants. They are striking in appearance and easy to grow. The snake plant, also called mother-in-law's tongue, is a very long-lived plant that can thrive for decades. It prefers to grow in partial shade but can tolerate quite shady conditions as well. Note that it is toxic to pets. And make sure not to overwater it, especially if it's not getting a lot of sun that dries out the soil. Overwatering can cause root rot and kill the plant.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Deep green foliage with gray-green stripes

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    Watch Now: How to Take Care of a Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law's Tongue)

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  • 05 of 20

    Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)

    staghorn fern

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    Staghorn ferns are epiphytic, meaning they grow naturally on other plants instead of in the soil. As a houseplant, they can even grow mounted on wood boards, making them beautiful natural art pieces. They prefer shady spots and can burn in direct sunlight. Be sure to allow them to dry out between waterings. 

    Light: Full shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green foliage

  • 06 of 20

    English Ivy (Hedera helix)

    English Ivy

    The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

    English ivy can spread as a ground cover outdoors, but as a low-light indoor plant, it simply offers a beautiful trailing effect when grown in hanging baskets. Indoors, place your English ivy somewhere that gets indirect light. Be sure to mist the plant to maintain adequate humidity, and keep it in a cool room at night if possible (ideally around 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, make sure pets stay away from the plant, as it is toxic.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Dark green foliage

  • 07 of 20

    Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

    Castiron plant

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Cast iron plants have a well-deserved reputation as being indestructible houseplants. They can tolerate all kinds of neglect, including a lack of light and water. But ideally, you should water them when you can stick your finger in the soil and it feels dry. In terms of light, keep them away from direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves. A north-facing window is ideal.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Dark green foliage

  • 08 of 20

    Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

    Peace lily

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Peace lilies are popular low-light indoor plants that also can take a lot of neglect. They sport large green leaves and bloom with elegant white flowers. What they do need is ample water, or else the foliage will wilt. However, watering usually perks it right back up. These shade-loving plants should be placed somewhere that gets indirect light. And keep them away from pets, as they are toxic.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate to high moisture

    Color Varieties: Dark green foliage, white flowers

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  • 09 of 20

    Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum raddianum)

    maidenhair fern

    The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

    The maidenhair fern sports delicate, fan-shaped leaves clustered on dark stems. It’s a popular low-light indoor plant to add a pop of green to a space. But these ferns do need consistently moist, but not soggy, soil to thrive. They also like a warm, humid environment, along with a spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight. 

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: High moisture

    Color Varieties: Medium green foliage

  • 10 of 20

    ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

    ZZ plant

    The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

    The ZZ plant is a low-maintenance houseplant that can technically survive even without natural sunlight. Thus, you’ll find it in many windowless offices. However, the plant does best with bright, indirect light. These plants also can tolerate drought well and should be allowed to dry out between waterings. Keep them away from pets, as they are toxic.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Dark green foliage

  • 11 of 20

    Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)

    Philodendron

    The Spruce / Alexandra Shytsman

    Philodendrons are popular houseplants due to their ease of care and ability to add a jungle-like vibe to a space with their long green vines. Be sure to regularly dust the vines to keep them looking and functioning at their best. In terms of light, a window that gets bright but indirect sunlight is ideal indoors. These plants can tolerate low-light settings but might experience leggy growth with lots of space on the stems between the leaves. Keep philodendrons away from pets, as they are toxic.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green foliage

  • 12 of 20

    Anthurium (Anthurnium spp.)

    Anthurium flowers

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Anthurium is a genus of tropical plants with bright flowers and lush foliage. These plants can be grown indoors as long as you give them high humidity and keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. A spot that gets bright, indirect light is best. Direct sun can burn the leaves. Also, keep these plants away from pets due to their toxic nature.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate to high moisture

    Color Varieties: Red, pink, or white flowers

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  • 13 of 20

    Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)

    Chinese Evergreen

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The Chinese evergreen features oval, glossy green leaves on short stems. These evergreens love the shade, making them excellent low-light indoor plants. Place them out of direct sunlight, as it can burn the foliage. If you have a variegated variety, it will need bright, indirect light to produce the best color. But all varieties can survive in shady conditions. Keep pets away from this plant as it is toxic.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate to high moisture

    Color Varieties: Dark green to silver foliage

  • 14 of 20

    Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

    Monstera plant

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    The Swiss cheese plant, also known as the split-leaf philodendron, grows large, leathery, green leaves with notable holes in them. These plants grow naturally in shady conditions and tend to do well with bright, indirect light indoors. Too much light can burn the foliage. These plants are toxic to pets.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Cream flowers

  • 15 of 20

    Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

    Prayer plant

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    The prayer plant is a small, low-growing tropical plant with attractive tricolor leaves. It grows well indoors, as long as you provide it with warmth and humidity. These plants are quite tolerant to low-light conditions, and direct sunlight can burn their foliage. A window that gets bright, indirect light is ideal.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate to high moisture

    Color Varieties: Deep green leaves with yellow and red

  • 16 of 20

    Silver Pothos (Scindapsus pictus)

    Satin pothos

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Silver pothos, also known as satin pothos, is quite similar to golden pothos except its matte green leaves are speckled in silver. These plants thrive in indoor conditions, including spots that don’t get a lot of light. Bright, indirect light is ideal for the best leaf color, but the plant will survive in dimmer locations. It’s ideal to regularly mist your pothos, as these plants like humidity. But keep them away from pets, as they are toxic.

    Light: Partial shade to full shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green and silver leaves

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

    Dracaena marginata

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    The dragon tree is part of the Dracaena genus and can tolerate shady conditions. It’s also quite easy to care for and very hardy. Indoors, the tree doesn’t typically reach more than 6 feet tall, and it only needs repotting every two to three years. A window that gets bright, indirect light is best. It will survive in lower light conditions but might grow smaller leaves. This plant is toxic to pets.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green foliage

  • 18 of 20

    Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)

    wax begonias

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Wax begonias are fun, colorful little plants to keep, and they can be low-maintenance additions to your houseplant collection. They appreciate some shade both indoors and outside, as direct sunlight can stress them. A bright, indirect window is best for optimal flowering, but they also can survive in lower light locations. They are toxic to pets, so keep them out of reach.

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate to high moisture

    Color Varieties: Red, pink, or white flowers

  • 19 of 20

    Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

    Corn plant

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Also of the Dracaena genus, corn plants produce thick canes, or stems, from which long, narrow leaves grow. They are popular houseplants, as they top out at around 6 feet tall indoors. These plants shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight, which can wilt and burn the leaves. Bright, indirect light is best, though they will survive a fairly shady spot. Keep pets away from these plants, as they are toxic. 

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Green foliage

  • 20 of 20

    Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

    polka dot plant

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Polka dot plants are grown for their eye-catching foliage. They commonly feature leaves with a pink base color and green spots, though there are other color varieties as well. These plants prefer some shade both indoors and outdoors. Too much sun can fade the foliage colors. An east- or south-facing window is ideal indoors. 

    Light: Partial shade

    Water: Moderate moisture

    Color Varieties: Spotted leaves in pink, green, purple, red, white, and more