Houseplants for Low Light

Plants that will grow in low light are much appreciated in homes and offices that do not have an abundance of windows.  There are some excellent plants, which will thrive with just a little care.  Here are a few tips for growing plants in low light.


What is Low Light?


We consider the light that is available to a plant that is located in a windowless corner, or near a window that is shaded from the outside by a large tree or building to be low light. The light coming through a north-facing window without obstructions may be medium to low. Plants that are placed more than eight feet from the source of light will also be subjected to low light. Offices with only fluorescent light should also be considered low light when selecting plants.




A plant growing in low light often needs much less water than those growing in brighter areas. One of the biggest causes of plant failure in low light areas is over watering. Most low light plants appreciate drying out moderately between waterings.




Because plants in low light tend to grow very slowly, fertilizer must be applied sparingly. Plants should only be fed when in a period of active growth. During the winter months, they will not need fertilizer.




Most plants that grow in low light can survive quite a while in a pot that is becoming root bound. It also helps in preventing over watering when plants in low light are left in their pots until noticeably root bound. The best time to repot is in the early spring, when the plant starts to grow. Be sure that the pot you are transplanting in to is only about one inch larger than the pot that it currently resides in.


Here are some Recommended Plants for Lower Light Levels


Aglaonema - Chinese Evergreen


Subtly patterned leaves brighten low light spots. Do not subject the leaves to direct sunlight, as it will scorch them. During the winter, water only enough to keep the soil from drying out completely.  Fertilize monthly during active growth.


Aspidistra - Cast Iron Plant


A rugged, durable plant that will survive where others fail. Will tolerate a variety of temperature and humidity ranges. Let the plant go almost dry before watering. Over watering causes brown spots on foliage. Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season. Repot in spring.




Used mostly as basket plants, philodendrons also do well on a support, like a bark strip. Keep soil barely moist. Keep temperatures above 55 degrees.


Spathyphyllum – Peace Lily


Beautiful dark green leaves. Do not expose this plant to harsh direct sun. Keep barely moist. Flowers intermittently. A little morning sun can be beneficial in getting plant to flower.




Several types, including Dragon-Tree, Warnecki, and Corn-Plant are adaptable to lower light conditions. Care must be taken not to over water especially during the winter. Prefers warm temperatures.


Dieffenbachia – Dumcane


Tolerate many indoor conditions. As the plant grows, the lower leaves drop and plant becomes tree-like. Let the soil become dry between waterings. Sap is poisonous if ingested.