Indoor Plants that Require Low Light

Indoor plants bring color, texture and a touch of nature into the home. Unfortunately, not all plants do well indoors, especially under low-light conditions. The University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program describes low-light growing conditions as light received at least 10 feet away from windows. Obstructed north-facing windows are also considered low-light areas. Although many flowering plants require bright light conditions, several foliage plants tolerate low light very well.

Bird's Nest Fern

The bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is an evergreen fern with stiff, upright fronds, growing 2 to 4 feet tall. Its large leaves, up to 8 inches wide, are bright green, with irregularly wavy margins. Bird's nest fern grows on a wide range of moist soils. It prefers a moderately humid environment, but many homes are quite dry from artificial heating and cooling. Regular misting or the use of a room humidifier may be beneficial. Fertilize monthly with a dilute commercial houseplant fertilizer.

Parlor Palm

The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans), also known as neanthe bella, is a small, single-trunk palm tree growing 4 feet tall, with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. Its large leaves, 18 to 36 inches long, are composed of 20 to 40 leaflets that are 1 inch wide and 8 inches long. It has a thin green trunk with visible leaf scar rings. This palm requires low light conditions and well-drained soil. Fertilize monthly and reduce feedings to quarter doses during fall and winter.

Corn Plant

Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) grows up to 25 feet tall, with a 15-foot spread. It has simple, whorled clusters of leaves up to 3 feet long and 4 inches wide. The leaves are dark green with a yellow-green center stripe. Corn plant tolerates a variety of moist soils but prefers organic. It is very adaptable to low-light interior conditions with medium humidity levels. Corn plant should be fertilized monthly.


Pothos (Scindapsus pictus) is an evergreen vine commonly grown as a houseplant. It has a slow growth rate but can reach over 20 feet in length. It has simple, oblong, heart-shaped leaves. Pothos foliage is dark green, splotched with silver-gray, with pale undersides. Grow in well-drained soils and fertilize monthly. Allow the soil to become slightly dry between waterings.

White Flag

White flag (Spathiphyllum spp.) is grown for both foliage and flowers. It has deep green, feather-shaped leaves and white blooms consisting of a cup-like spathe and long, creamy yellow spadix borne on long, thin stems. It grows well in shade conditions but may have fewer blooms than when grown in medium light. Keep the soil moist and fertilize monthly.

Keywords: low-light indoor plants, low-light houseplants, interior plants

About this Author

Marie Roberts is a freelance writer based in north central Florida. She has a B.S. in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida. Roberts began writing in 2002 and is published in the "Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society."