7 Great Houseplants for Low-Light Conditions

Best Houseplants for Low Light Illustration

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 auxilliary lighting. But all is not lost; there are some house plant species that positively thrive on little or no light.

Here are seven plant species that will perform well in indoor locations where there isn't much light.

Growing 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 the artificial lights on for a few hours each day.

  • 01 of 07

    Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

    Bamboo plant on side table by sofa
    ML Harris / Getty Images

    A member of the Dracaena genus that includes several other popular house plants, lucky bamboo is not a member of the bamboo family at all, though its shoots are similar to those of bamboo. Normally grown in water, lucky bamboo plants can be found in offices, on desks, in businesses, and in homes pretty much everywhere. 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.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; normally grown as a house plant
    • Color Variations: Green stalks and leaves
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Conditions: NA; normally grown in water
  • 02 of 07

    Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)

    Spider Plant (Chlorophytum) in a blue pot
    Lynne Brotchie / Getty Images

    The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is considered one of the most adaptable of houseplants and is one of the easiest to grow. The spider plant is so named because of its spider-like plants, or spiderettes, which dangle down from the mother plant like spiders on the web. Available in green or variegated varieties, these spiderettes often start out as small white flowers.

    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.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11; normally grown as a houseplant
    • Color Variations: Green or striped foliage
    • Sun Exposure: Prefers bright indirect sunlight, but tolerates shade
    • Soil Conditions: General-purpose potting soil
  • 03 of 07

    Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

    Golden pathos

     

    Wanmongkhol / Getty Images

    Golden pathos can thrive in conditions that almost no other plant can grow, including darkness and a near-complete lack of water. If you're looking for a sure-thing in shady conditions, try a pot of golden pothos. It is one most popular of all house plants, thanks to 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. Pothos vines are also among the top ten air purifying plants for indoor use.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12; normally grown as a house plant
    • Color Variations: Green or variegated foliage
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade; tolerates full shade
    • Soil Conditions: Potting soil with high peat content
  • 04 of 07

    Ferns (Several Genera)

    Flowerpot with nest fern
    Mareen Fischinger / Getty Images

    Not all ferns will thrive in shady corners, but many are well suited to low-light conditions. Ferns are some of the oldest plants in the world—they have been thriving for 300 million years and grow in an astonishing array of environments. As houseplants, they have been in cultivation for centuries. For indoor use, common species include American maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), bird's nest fern (Asplenium hybrid), and queen fern (Nephrolepis obliterata).

    • USDA Growing Zones: Depends on species
    • Color Variations: Light green to dark green foliage
    • Sun Exposure: Light shade to full shade
    • Soil Conditions: Soil-based potting medium
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  • 05 of 07

    Snake Plants (Sansevieria trifasciata)

    snake plant
    Clive Nichols / Getty Images

    The Sansevieria species are some of the best low-light plants. They are striking in appearance and strikingly easy to grow. The snake plant, also called mother-in-law's tongue, is one of the most recommended plants for improving air quality. The optimal place to keep this relatively inexpensive and low-maintenance plant is the bedroom because it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen at night. This is a very long-lived plant that can thrive for decades.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12; normally grown as a house plant
    • Color Variations: Deep green foliage with gray-green stripes
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Conditions: Soil-based potting mix
  • 06 of 07

    Dracaena (Dracaena spp.)

    Close-up of Dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
    Francois De Heel / Getty Images

    Plants in the Dracaena genus include a huge variety used for home, office, apartments, malls and landscape decoration. The genus includes nearly 40 species and hundreds of cultivars in various sizes and forms—all of them good choices for low-light conditions. These are plants with cane-like stems, often grown like small indoor trees or shrubs. Popular varieties include dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), Canary Islands dragon tree (D. Draco), song of India (D. reflexa), and Ti tree or cornstalk draceana (D. fragrance).

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12; normally grown as a house plant
    • Color Variations: Various shades of green or variegates/striped foliage
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Conditions: Soil-based potting mix
  • 07 of 07

    Urn Plant or Zebra Plant (Aechmea asciata or A. chantinii)

    Color Stories - Pink
    Simon McGill / Getty Images

    The Bromeliad family of plants are not typically considered easy house plants, but the Aechmea genus includes species that positively thrive in low-light situations. Aechmeas are typically sold while they are already flowering, and they will hold their bloom and shapes for many months in poor light or artificial light conditions. The most common Aechmeas are urn plant (A. fasciata) or zebra plant (A. chantinii).

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; normally grown as a houseplant
    • Color Variations: Violet to red
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Conditions: Moist, well-drained potting soil