Houseplants beautify our homes, purify the air, and offer therapeutic qualities especially in this dark time of year. Choosing plants that can thrive in home conditions, however, can feel like a challenge. Especially in winter, air is dry and the quantity of natural light is low. Here is our top ten list of plants that can thrive indoors in low-light conditions:
1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.)
Peace Lily is one of the best choices for low-light rooms. Peace lilies have glossy leaves and long-lasting flowers surrounded by a spathe as is typical for aroid species. Peace lilies are a favorite indoor plant. They flower best when root bound and when thriving can bloom twice a year. Peace Lilies like high-humidity, so mist frequently. Do not over-water, but don’t allow soil to dry completely between waterings. If the plant collapses due to dryness, water as normal and wait for the plant to perk up again. This can take several hours. Learn more about peace lilies here.
2. Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sanservaria trifasciata laurentii)
Sanservaria is one of the easiest tropicals to grow indoors. It can tolerate both bright light and low-light conditions, as well as slightly lower temperatures than most tropicals (just keep it above 50F). It has fleshy, stiff upright leaves that are either green (Snake Plant) or green with a yellow border (Mother-in-Law’s tongue). From spring to fall, water moderately, letting the soil dry out between waterings. In winter, water only once every month or two. With this house plant it’s better to water too little than too much.
3. Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)
Philodendron are foliage plants that are either climbing or non-climbing, with much variation in leaf color, size, and shape. They thrive in conditions of dappled light and are good easy-care choices for the home environment. Keep soil moist, but not saturated in spring-fall; mist foliage to increase humidity around the leaves. In winter water infrequently, keeping the soil barely moist.
4. Zeezee Plant (Zamioculcas zamifolia)
Zeezee Plant is a long-lived tropical indoor plant that is known for being low maintenance and hard-to-kill. A succulent with round waxy leaves borne on stalks, it requires a very low input of water, tolerates low-light conditions, and is generally said to thrive on neglect. Too much water and fertilizer is a sure way to kill it. This houseplant is one of the easiest of all houseplants to take care of. They are perfect for vacation homes as well as forgetful homeowners.
5. Dracaena (Dracaena spp.)
The Dracaenas genus incorporates a large number of plants that vary somewhat in color, shape and size. Although some are shorter than others, all have an upright bamboo-like appearance. Some can grow quite tall and look somewhat tree-like. They prefer light shade in the home, and most thrive best in temperatures that stay 65F and above. Keep soil moist; even in winter do not allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
6. Spider Plant (Clorophytum spp.)
Spider Plant is grown as a hanging plant inside the home. They can be green or variegated, can tolerate sun or shade, and take temperatures down to 45F. They thrive best in indirect but bright light. Water generously in summer; sparsely in winter.
7. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos is a trailing/climbing plant that is easy to grow in the home. Try letting it climb up a windowsill or letting it spill down from a shelf on a wall. They prefer bright indirect light but tolerate semi-shade as well. Variegated types may lose some color in too much shade, however. Pothos likes generous but infrequent waterings. Allow the soil to dry out between watering; this plant rots easily if given too much water.
8. Prayer Plant (Maranta spp.)
Prayer Plants are low-growing foliage plants with striking ornamental leaves. They have oval green leaves with brightly colored pink to red veining, and splotches from pale green to yellow down the midrib. They prefer partial shade inside the home; too much sun fades the color of leaves. They like high humidity – keep soil moist at all time and mist leaves. This is not one of the most long-lived houseplants, but it makes up for it with its extraordinary ornamental value.
9. Parlor Palm and Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea elegans, C. erumpens)
The bamboo palm is a clumping palm with a shrubby, textured appearance. These palms very popular in the home because they are quite adaptable to low-light conditions, require very little water or fertilizer, and can tolerate colder temperatures (down to 50F). Ideally they prefer bright indirect light; they do well with northern exposure. They are very sensitive to overwatering; water generously only when they are dry.
10. Arrowhead (Syngonium podophyllum)
Arrowhead plants are foliage plants with arrowhead-shaped leaves that vary in size and color depending on the variety. You can buy them in pots or train them to climb or trail over a basket. Variegated forms prefer brighter light than green forms. Water generously and keep soil moist at all time but not saturated. Mist leaves to raise air humidity.