You may think that because parts of your house or apartment don’t receive much sunlight, you can’t grow plants there. Or maybe you’ve tried to grow a houseplant or two in dim corners, only to have them end in epic fails. Don’t be discouraged! What you need are low light houseplants that are perfectly happy to stay out of the sun.
A low light plant is one that grows just fine without direct sunlight. Excellent spots for low light houseplants include north-facing rooms (they usually score the least amount of light of the four directions), rooms in which nearby trees or buildings block out sunlight, the middle or corner of a room, and rooms lit only by artificial light (we’re looking at you, office cubicle).
Here are two important things you can do to get the most from low light indoor plants: Plant them in good soil and feed them regularly. Start with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix 8.8L, which helps the soil easily re-wet, gives plants a starter supply of nutrition, and is less prone to pesky gnats. Then, a month after planting, begin feeding your indoor plant babies with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food. It can be applied directly to all houseplants, even edibles—just add it to your watering can or squirt it directly on the soil. (Be sure to follow the directions!)
Ready to breathe life into your home’s shadowy spaces? Read on for the top low light indoor plants for every space and taste—including edible options.
The Best Low Light Houseplants
If we didn’t know better, we’d think ZZ plant wants to be left alone. It enjoys low light and prefers to dry out between waterings (wait until the top 3 inches are dry before adding more H2O). It’s an excellent choice for offices or that guest bedroom you forget to go into for weeks at a time. ZZ plant features shiny, dark-green leaves on stems that can grow from 1 to 3 feet tall. Get detailed growing information for ZZ plant.
Quick, think of a fern. Chances are, you just pictured a Boston. This classic, highly popular houseplant features green fronds that will spread as far as the container allows. Boston ferns are big fans of moisture, so keep the soil consistently moist and offer additional humidity by placing a tray of pebbles and water under the pot if it’s looking dry. Learn how to pot up, feed, and grow Boston ferns. (PS: Boston ferns look great in hanging baskets! Browse 9 other great hanging basket options.
While many herbs need full sun, chives will happily handle less light. These low-maintenance plants resemble thick stalks of grass and feature a delicate onion flavor that makes them ideal for topping soups, salads, potatoes, and casseroles. Water when soil is dry to the touch, and harvest by snipping from the tips with kitchen shears. To get your low-light indoor garden off to a great start, begin with strong, vigorous young chive plants.
Cast Iron Plant
The aptly named cast iron plant is just about as tough as they come. A big fan of full shade outdoors, it’ll love your low light areas indoors. Cast iron plants boast lush, long green leaves and can reach 2 feet tall and wide. Wait until the top of the soil has completely dried out before watering. Fertilize during the spring and summer, then lay off on the feeding during the fall and winter.
Known for its tendency to take over in shady outdoor gardens, mint is a strong performer inside, too. While it may be leggier than its outside counterpart, you’ll still be able to snip fresh leaves for mojitos on demand. Simply water when soil becomes dry to the touch and place the pot over a tray of pebbles and water for additional humidity if needed. Learn more about growing mint.
Highly versatile peace lilies will produce lush, dark green leaves year-round with minimal light. With a little more light, they may treat you to white, leaf-like flowers, but they make super pretty houseplants even without the blooms. The “adult” height of a peace lily can be anywhere from 1 to 4 feet. Your plant may flop over if it gets too dry, but not to worry, with a little water, it’ll stand right back up. Get detailed growing information for peace lilies.
How do we love philodendrons? Let us count the ways: They’re easy, versatile, attractive, and add interest to any space. Their trailing growth habit makes them ideal picks for hanging baskets or shelves, where their vines can spill over. If stems grow too long, simply snip them back to the length you want. Philodendrons are happiest when their soil is kept consistently moist. Learn all about how to plant and grow philodendrons.
Shade-loving begonias are among the few flowering low light houseplants you’ll find. These cheerful plants boast waxy leaves and rounded blooms in a wide variety of colors. Be sure to water when the top inch of soil dries out.
Why should sunny windowsills have all the fun? With one (or more!) of these low light houseplants, you can add greenery, color, texture, even pretty flowers and tasty herbs, to those dim nooks and crannies that—let’s face it— could absolutely use a burst of life!