All plants need light, whether that’s from an electric bulb or straight from the source, aka the sun! A select number of plants have extremely good low-light tolerance and can get by in very dim conditions. Some ambient light is always required, but it doesn’t need to be all that much for these plants to survive.
WATERING TIP: Plants in a low-light environment will be consuming less water, and there will be less evaporation. To avoid over-watering you may need to reduce the watering quantity and frequency.
LIGHTING TIP: These plants will adapt to the reduced light and do not need to be rotated into a brighter position. Temporarily moving your plant into a sunny spot will have no positive effect and may even damage it. If you do think your plant is struggling, move it for a few months so that it can have time to adjust and take advantage of any increase in light levels.
Make sure to check out the full Low Light Indoor Plants collection, too!
1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
Peace Lilies come in a huge range of leaf shapes, colours, and sizes. All of them are really easy to care for and will be very happy in darker spots. If you’re after something small for a desk, Peace Lilies can come in very small sizes, and some cultivars (like the Chico) will stay small forever. If you’re wanting a big impact in your space, Peace Lily ‘Sensations’ have huge broad leaves and will grow up to 2m tall! You can also try the Peace Lily Domino, which has beautiful white variegation in the leaves. Peace Lilies can also live happily in a small pot, and are very straightforward to care for. Click here to read the Peace Lily Care Guide for more details, and you can buy Peace Lilies here!
2. Devil’s Ivy AKA Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
In its natural home, Devil’s Ivy grows along the trunks of trees and over the forest floor, so they can easily adjust to darker spots in your home. Devil’s Ivy looks great hanging from the roof, spilling over a desk or shelf, or climbing up a totem. They are very easy to look after and have minimal water requirements - plus, you can propagate them so easily! There are lots of different varieties of Devil’s Ivy; Marble Queen, Snow Queen, and Neon will need moderate lighting, but the classic Green and gold variety (aureum) and the solid green Jade cultivar will do very well in the darkest of spots.
Alternatives: Heart Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron cordatum), Syngonium podophyllum.
3. Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)
This is a super interesting and beautiful plant, which also happens to be pet safe. It is non-toxic to dogs, cats, and, if you’re the kind of person to let them in the house, horses! No concrete evidence either way on their toxicity to actual zebras.
Zebra plants add a bit of brightness to the room with their interesting white and green foliage, and the occasional bright yellow flower. If this plant has been dry for too long it will wilt. This is a good warning sign and is a much better option to over-watering, but not something to always rely on.
4. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Cast Iron plants are the problem-solver: pet friendly, interesting foliage, drought tolerant, and happy in dark spots. The green variety of Cast Iron is great, but there are other options, too! The two main variegated varieties of these are the “Milky Way”, which has beautiful white speckles that look like stars, and the classic variegata, which has white linear stripes. Whatever you decide on, Cast Iron plants are a gorgeous addition to your low-light space. You can buy Cast Iron plants here.
5. Zanzibar Gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
The most O.G. of low light indoor plants, the Zanzibar Gem is well-suited for dark spots and can survive for weeks without water. Under the soil, this plant has gigantic rhizomes that look like potatoes and store lots of water. With their giant glossy leaves and stems for water storage, too, Zanzibar Gems are like little green camels that only need a drink every so often in their journey through the desert. They’re also easy to separate out and propagate. You can buy Zanzibar Gem here!
6. Snake plant (Sansevieria sp.)
Snake plants, also sometimes called Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (misogyny), are a great solution to your plant positioning problems. They’re very adaptable, and can tolerate darker spots as well as very bright ones. It’s key to change your watering routine to suit the spot, making sure the soil stays nice and dry if you’re placing it in a dark room. There are lots of different species and cultivars of Snake plants, like Sansevieria “Moonshine”, S. cylindrica, and the classic yellow striped S. trifasciata. They’re very easy to propagate, and you can treat them like cacti. You can buy Snake Plants here!
7. Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby Rubberplant)
These juicy boys have mad succulent vibes, but without the high light requirement! The classic green Jade cultivar is best for dark spots, but they also have marble and variegated cousins that do well in moderate lighting. They are also pet safe, which is lucky because they look delicious!
8. Chain of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii)
Even in dark spots, Chain of Hearts is fast-growing and a very rewarding plant. They are drought tolerant, with little rhizomes that store water as well as their succulent heart-shaped leaves. These also come in a beautiful light pink variegated form. Check out the Chain of Hearts Care Guide for all the details! You can buy Chain of Hearts here.
9. Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea atrovirens) and Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
You can get these palms in a wide range of sizes, from a small 10cm Parlour Palm to a huge 2m tall Cascade Palm! These palms will provide seriously lush vibes for your space; plus, they’re pet friendly! They will need small regular waterings to maintain moisture, but they do need to drain so they aren’t sitting in water all the time. Allow the top 20% of soil to dry out before watering again. You can buy indoor palms here!
10. Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
These palms have gorgeous rich green foliage, and are very easy to care for. They like regular watering with good drainage. Allowing the top 20% of the soil to dry out in between watering is best, especially in dark spots. These palms have a very regal and structural appearance, and are a very popular indoor alternative to the light-hungry Fan Palm. You can buy Lady Palms here.
11. Philodendron congo
These happy little guys are very easy to care for, happy to be cramped, and can get quite large. While they can live well in bright spots, they can also tolerate low to moderate lighting as long as they’re kept nice and dry. The chlorophyll in their bright green leaves means they are efficient energy producers in darker spots. In contrast, their cousin, the Philodendron rojo congo, has a deep red pigment that acts like a sunscreen and lets them tolerate very bright spots. You can buy Philodendron Congo here in our Philodendron collection. Check out our Philodendron care guide for more tips!
Greener House Nursery is an Indoor Plant Nursery located at 95 Sydney Road, Brunswick, in Melbourne, Australia. We have the specialised knowledge to make sure you get the right house plants, pots, and accessories for your home. Weather you're looking for low-light, low-maintenance, pet friendly, hanging, or air purifying plants, we've got you covered.