Indoor Plants That Don't Need a Lot of Sunlight

By choosing the right variety, you can grow a houseplant even in low light. Remember that the water needs of plants grown in low light are not as great as if they were in a sunnier spot. Keep the soil minimally moist, allowing it to dry before watering again. Also, plants kept in low light do not require frequent fertilization. If the plant appears to be deteriorating, cycle it to a spot with more sun for a period of time to allow it to recover.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

The Chinese evergreen is a durable houseplant which grows from 1 to 3 feet high and as wide. The solid green cultivars are the most tolerant of low light. They will do best in a shadowless exposure such as a north window. They prefer warm temperatures but will tolerate a cooler environment, and do well in the low to moderate humidity of most households.

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

The rubber plant is easy to grow and makes an excellent houseplant for the beginning indoor gardener. It will grow up to 6 to 10 feet if given room, though it can be pruned to make a smaller plant. Though it prefers bright light, it is adaptable and will do well in morning light from an east window. Dusting its large, glossy leaves will keep a rubber plant looking attractive.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Also called mother-in-law's tongue, this familiar houseplant will grow almost anywhere, even in the dim interior of a room. The species has erected sword-shaped leaves that grow 18 to 30 inches, but there is also a variety with 4-inch tall leaves that form a rosette. It is important to allow the soil of a snake plant to dry completely between waterings, otherwise rot may form.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The peace lily is one of the few houseplants that will flower in low light situations. The plants are sturdy, growing from 1 to 4 feet high and as wide. The leaves are a glossy dark green, and grow directly from the soil. Periodically the peace lily produces long-lasting white flowers which resemble small calla lilies. Though they will survive in low interior light, they will grow and bloom best in filtered bright light (such as through a sheer curtain in a bright window).

Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens)

The heart-leaf philodendron is capable of surviving in adverse conditions. This vining species has 2- to 4-inch dark green heart-shaped leaves, and is often grown in hanging baskets or dish gardens. It can also be trained to grow up a support. The philodendron likes bright, indirect light in a north, east or west window, and can even grow in the existing light in the interior of a room. It appreciates warm temperatures and some humidity.

Keywords: low-light houseplants, Chinese evergreen, rubber plant, snake plant, peace lily

About this Author

Gwen Bruno has 28 years of experience as a teacher and librarian, and is now a full-time freelance writer. She holds a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and master's degrees from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin. She writes articles about gardening for DavesGarden.com.