Low Light, No Problem: 5 Houseplants That Love the Shade

by Aimee Kniceley-Barnes 10/10/2021

Keeping houseplants isn’t just for those with sunny homes. While the perfect south-facing window is many plant owners’ dream, lower light environments are just fine for many types of plants to thrive. Here we will go over some of the best low-light houseplants for your home.

Snake Plant

Snake plants are striking in appearance and extremely hardy. They have long, pointed leaves that stand straight up and can grow happily in partial shade for decades. An excellent bonus of the snake plant is that it is one of the best air-purifiers among house plants. If your snake plant is in the shade, make sure not to over-water it, as lack of sunlight means slower water absorption from the soil.

Spider Plant

Spider plants are famously hard to kill, partially because of their ability to survive and grow in lower light conditions. They will even live happily under mostly artificial light, making them a great option for offices and the home. You can grow them in hanging baskets or on a tall shelf to enjoy their long spider-like leaves hanging in all directions. Spider plants come in a variety of shades of green and some have bright stripes down the centers of the leaves. Giving the plant more light will help it maintain the deeper colors and pattern.

Pothos

In the wild, pothos thrive in partial and full shade by growing on the trunks of trees in the jungle. This makes them an excellent low-light houseplant and a perfect choice for a plant with long, trailing vines. You can train pothos to climb trellises or even directly into your walls if you wish or allow them to trail along as they would on the forest floor. There are many kinds of pothos varieties, but the best for low light is the rich green jade pothos, as lack of sunlight will not affect its coloring.

Philodendron

Similarly to pothos, philodendrons are popular house plants for their long vines. There are many types of philodendron but the heart-leaf philodendron is one of the easiest and most-loved house plants. It can make a lush addition to any room with its glossy leaves and requires very little in terms of maintenance. Philodendrons are fine in the shade but will look their best and grow the biggest leaves in bright indirect light.

ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant can technically survive without natural sunlight at all. This makes it a popular choice for offices or commercial spaces lacking windows. They only need water every few weeks, but are drought tolerant and can go longer in between waterings without harm. The glossy dark green foliage will thrive in partial shade and stay small if you keep it to a smaller pot. Otherwise, ZZ plants can grow to several feet tall, even with very limited exposure to the sun.

There are other plant varieties that do well in lower-light conditions, but these are some of the easiest to care for—and most popular. Any plant on this list will adapt to the lighting situation you provide, as long as you don’t allow the leaves to fry in harsh direct sun. Always research the specific needs for your plant of choice to make sure it lives a healthy and happy life in your home.

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Aimee Kniceley-Barnes

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