9 Low-Light Plants to Brighten Up Your Home
Did you know that some of the most vibrant and easy-care houseplants can thrive on low light? If your office or finished basement is in need of some brightening, consider one of these gorgeous plants.
Known as one of the premier varieties of indoor plants, philodendron is very tolerant of low-light conditions. It is a fast-growing vine that works great in hanging baskets and can be trained to climb a small trellis; its trailing stems can get up to 8 feet long. There are a couple newer varieties of philodendron that produce vibrant foliage — the ‘Brasil’ variety with gold-and-green variegated leaves and ‘Micans’ with satiny purple leaves.
Care: Give philodendron low or indirect light and water when the soil is dry to the touch.
Often mistaken for philodendron, pothos thrives in just about any part of the home as long as it stays out of full sun. It’s considered an easy-care vine that can be trained onto a trellis or used in hanging baskets. Since its trailing stems can reach up to 30 feet long, it’s probably a good idea to prune it back to keep it smaller. Pothos is available in a wide range of colors, including dark green, yellow-and-green, white-and-green, and spotted silver.
Care: Only water pothos when the soil is dry to the touch and keep the plant in low light or indirect sunlight.
Another favorite for hanging baskets, English ivy features trailing foliage that comes in a range of leaf colors and shapes. Since it thrives in low light, this plant is a great option for perking up an otherwise dull room. It’s also the perfect plant to perch on a chilly, north-facing windowsill. In addition, English ivy can be trained into various topiary shapes, which can be fun, and grows up to 8 feet long. Keep in mind that it can attract spider mites, so be sure to mist the plant frequently to prevent the little pests from getting established.
Care: Water English ivy before the soil becomes dry to the touch. It thrives in low light or indirect light.
Since being discovered in the late 1800s, Boston ferns have played a significant role in interior design. They feature vibrant green fronds that look especially handsome in baskets or urns. Keep Boston ferns happy by placing them in partial shade away from heat ducts or cold drafts. They thrive on humidity, so be sure to mist them often during the winter months. These gorgeous plants can grow to be 3 feet tall.
Care: Water Boston ferns when the soil is dry to the touch, and keep them in a low-light or indirect-light environment.
If you’re in search of a houseplant that holds up well to dark conditions and neglect, then the ZZ plant is the one for you. In fact, it’ll do fine even if it’s only exposed to fluorescent lights in an office. A native of Africa, the ZZ plant also deals with dry conditions well, so is perfect for someone always on the go. The plant looks good as well — upright stems boasting shiny, dark green leaves. It can get up to 3 feet tall.
Care: The ZZ plant thrives on low light as well as bright, indirect light. Water it when the top inch of the soil is dry.
The uplifting foliage of the prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura) will surely brighten a dark corner of your home. An easy-care variety, this petite plant boasts variegated green-and-cream leaves with striking red veins. It’s name comes from the charming fact that its leaves fold up at night. Since it only grows to be 6-8 inches tall, it’s an ideal choice for a bookshelf or end table.
Care: Water a prayer plant when the soil is dry to the touch. It prefers low light or indirect light.
Cast Iron Plant
A variety that most definitely lives up to its name, the cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) happily thrives in dark rooms with occasional watering. In other words, it enjoys neglect. A rugged plant, it spreads slowly so rarely requires repotting. Featuring dark green narrow leaves, the cast iron plant can grow to be 3 feet tall. It also comes in a variegated form, but it can be hard to find.
Care: Much like the other plants mentioned, the cast iron plant prefers low light or indirect light and should only be watered when the soil is dry to the touch.
With magnificent bright green leaves that brighten even the gloomiest room, Aglaonema has been on the upward trend for houseplants over the last few years. Other varieties feature red or even pink foliage. Tolerant of dry conditions, Aglaonema is a great plant for forgetful gardeners — it’s almost foolproof. It can grow up to 3 feet tall.
Care: Water Aglaonema when the soil is dry to the touch, and find it a low-light location or one with indirect light.
What’s the best way to describe the peace lily? Elegant and easy. It’s a low-light houseplant that produces crisp white flower swaths on tall, poised stems. What’s better, its shiny green foliage looks good even when not in bloom. For a gorgeous, low-maintenance houseplant that won’t get too big — it tops out at 36 inches tall — look no further. Tip: Peace lily is often sold under its botanic name, Spathiphyllum.
Care: Give your peace lily a home with low light or indirect light, and water it only when the soil is dry to the touch.