Indoor Plants for Low Light

Few things add freshness and calm to an interior space like a lush, green plant. But indoor gardeners sometimes struggle to find a plant that will thrive in a setting where light is limited. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true houseplants that do well in low light spaces and deliver on natural beauty.

Peace Lily

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a versatile houseplant in that it can handle moderately bright light, but will also readily adapt to low light, as well. However, if you want to ensure that your plant will produce its trademark cupped white blooms, it must receive between 100 and150 foot candles of light, according to horticulturalists at North Dakota State University. A typical peace lily will reach between 18 to 24 inches in height and 12 to 18 inches in width. Its dark green leaves benefit from an occasional dusting, and the plant prefers moderate watering. Peace lilies prefer low fertility, and over-fertilizing can cause brown spots on the leaves or inhibit flowering.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is an outstanding indoor plant that can tolerate a variety of conditions, low light included. The Chinese evergreen has striking variegated foliage, and reaches around 2 to 2 1/2 feet in height in most cases. The plant doesn't require much in the way of moisture, and Texas A&M Extension Service suggests that you allow the soil to dry out between waterings. The Chinese evergreen can produce flowers, but this is less common indoors. It should be fertilized monthly, and loves warm temperatures.


Philodendron (Philodendron scandens) is another low-maintenance indoor plant that can do without bright light. It should be kept out of direct sunlight, and placed where it receives only diffuse light. This vine-like plant can be allowed to tumble out of a pot, or trail over the edges of a hanging basket. Some growers prefer to prune the cascading plant to help it thicken up and stay within an appropriate space. Philodendron likes a warm room and soil that's kept just moist at all times.

Snake Plant

The spiky, upright fronds of the mother-in-law's tongue or snake plant (Sansavieria trifasciata) add distinctive visual interest to an indoor garden. In addition, it is adaptable to a variety of light conditions, from bright to very low. Snake plants also tolerate the dry air found in most homes, and need to dry out completely between waterings. Over-watering and freezing temperatures are the plant's only real foes. There are several cultivars of the snake plant, ranging in height from 6 to 48 inches. While most varieties have some type of flower, they rarely flower indoors.

Keywords: low light houseplants, dark room plants, best indoor plants

About this Author

Dana Hall McCain is a freelance writer based in Dothan, Ala., and is a a regular contributor to numerous regional publications. She writes features and columns on a variety of topics, including the outdoors, faith and health/wellness. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University in public relations/communication in 1995.