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Plants That Need Little Light

By Kathy Burns-Millyard ; Updated September 21, 2017

Just about every home or office has a spot or two inside or out that doesn't get much sunlight--if any--anytime during the day. If you've tried to grow regular indoor or outdoor plants in this dark or shady area you've probably become a bit frustrated by the lack of results. The problem can be remedied by growing plants that do well in low-light situations.


Hosta plants are perhaps best known and loved for their wide variety of colorful foliage, but they're also hardy perennials that are very easy to grow, and many varieties will thrive in deeply shaded areas.

With over 2,500 different cultivars to choose from ranging in size from just 2 to 3 inches around in size to over 8 feet, it's not difficult to find just the right Hosta plant for your particular low-light location needs.

"Moonlight" Philodendron

Philodendron x 'Moonlight' is a fairly new Philodendron hybrid that does very well in low lighting conditions. This plant can grow up to 2 feet tall and wide, and it does not produce flowers. The leaves start as a bright eye-catching green and deepen in color as they mature.

Bird Nest Fern

Asplenium nidus is a member of the Boston fern family, which can grow erect, wavy bright green fronds up to 4 feet tall. These ferns prefer indirect sunlight and low light conditions, but once mature they can tolerate higher levels of sunlight.


Approximately 60 different cultivars of Sansevieria grow around the world, and several of these are commercially grown for indoor house plant usage. Possibly the most well known is the Sansevieria trifasciata, which is also known as snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue, or common sanseveria. The leaves on this plant will vary based on how much sunlight is available: More light will develop dark green leaves with prominent gray-green cross bands, and less light will develop leaves with almost solid colored dark green leaves.

Parlor Palm

Chamaedorea elegans is a plant that does well even in dark and dimly lit corners. This is a shrub that grows upright and can reach as tall as 4 feet in height, with about 36 inches in width. The small, compact size and ease of care makes this a favorite choice for growing indoors.


About the Author


Kathy Burns-Millyard has been a professional writer since 1997. Originally specializing in business, technology, environment and health topics, Burns now focuses on home, garden and hobby interest articles. Her garden work has appeared on GardenGuides.com and other publications. She enjoys practicing Permaculture in her home garden near Tucson, Ariz.