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House Plants for Dark Rooms

peace lily image by Ronnie Howard from

It is not necessary to forgo growing plants in rooms with low levels of natural light if you choose varieties of house plants that survive or even grow well in lower light levels. Most of these plants are easy to care for and can even stand a little neglect.

Corn Plant

Widely used in indoor public spaces, the corn plant (Dracaena "Janet Craig") is a tough indoor plant that will grow in very low light levels. It has a thick, relatively straight trunk with interesting tan bark. The branches undulate from the main trunk and form a stocky rosette of leaves at the terminal end. The leaves are light green with yellowish-green margins. Allow the corn plant to dry out completely between waterings. Because it prefers lower light levels, do not place it in a south-facing window.

Peace Lily

Another plant widely used in indoor public spaces, the peace lily (Spathiphyllum) has large, dark green leaves. It handles low light levels quite well, although its soil needs to be kept moist. Related to the calla lily, the peace lily sends up a white flower with a similar shape. Peace lilies need to be repotted every three to four years or new growth will be spindly and yellowish. Although most often seen as a large floor plant, a smaller variety suitable for tabletops is also available.

Mother-in-Law's Tongue

Also known as the snake plant, the mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) is a very tough, succulentlike house plant that grows well in the lowest light levels. The dark green, mottled leaves grow straight up from the base of the plant, becoming taller as the plant ages. The mottled markings resemble the skin of a snake and give the plant one of its common names. A variegated variety with yellow leaf margins is also available. Because the leaves are so thick and tough, they hold a lot of water. Snake plants should only be watered when the soil is dry an inch below the surface. They will tolerate very low light levels, although their growth will be slow.

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