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House Plants That Like Shade

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017

Houseplants bring the outdoors indoors. They can be used to liven up a room and add touches of fresh color that are more vibrant and alluring than artificial flowers. Like their outdoor counterparts, houseplants have varying needs when it comes to sunlight. Just because a specific part of your home doesn't receive direct sunlight doesn't mean you can't grow a lush indoor forest.

Herringbone Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Like the fabric that shares its name, the herringbone plant's foliage features three colors woven together. The plant's leaf shapes vary by cultivar, but always contain the plant's characteristic tri-color combination, though the colors themselves vary from purple to green to red to yellow. Keep this houseplant in light shade during the spring and summer growing season, and avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight. Too much sun fades the leaves' colors and, over time, will kill this shade-loving perennial.

Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema)

Chinese evergreens, of which there are several types, thrive in low-light rooms while reaching an impressive height of up to 4 feet. Select your cultivar by its foliage. Leaves range in size from long, wide triangles to thin and narrow triangles. Colors likewise vary, from dark, even greens to variegated, light hues.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

The peace lily can withstand dark shade to indirect sunlight, making it perfect for moving around your home whenever a room needs the brightening effects of the plant's tall, white flowers. The plant's overall simple design also makes it ideal for anchoring corners of a room, or complementing the smooth shapes of modern design. Standard cultivars can reach a height of 3 to 4 feet. Smaller, dwarf cultivars are available and can be used as desk or table plants.

Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

The gardenia is one of the few shade-tolerant houseplants that produce massive, beautiful blossoms. The flower's sweet scent is an added benefit, instantly freshening your home's air. The plant does well in both shade and indirect sunlight.

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)

The dumb cane's massive, wide foliage, dotted or mottled with various hues of green, makes an impressive addition to your houseplant collection. The plant does well in a variety of light situations, ranging from light sunlight to shade. Dumb cane is ideal for rooms that receive some sunlight during the afternoon but are largely shaded during the rest of the day.


About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.