Not every room in our home can have giant french doors with brilliant light flooding the area. Many spaces, especially those of the bathroom or bedroom variety, may only have small windows (or none at all).
Does that mean we are doomed to stare at blank walls and only dream of tall potted plants greeting us with vibrant colours and blooms? If you’re starting to feel like you might relate better to vampires and owls, hiding in dark spaces, don’t worry there are low light plants you can grow and become friends with!
A low light room with only a small window, or reflective light from another part of the house, can be enough for some potted indoor plants. Even a bright lamp or fluorescent lights, left on all day, can simulate enough sunlight for really sturdy varieties.
Although the plants below can live in low light situations, it is never an ideal situation for any plant and you likely won't see it growing super fast or flowering. As another option, you can swap your low light plants around your house every month or two. Rotate the plants near bright big windows with those in darker rooms, to keep them all growing happily. If you find that you don't have any bright windows available, houseplants can enjoy an afternoon of bright sunshine outdoors in the summer. Like a tropical get-away for your potted plants!
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
This bright green, glossy looking plant can sometimes be mistaken for a faux houseplant, it's so lush. Luckily for us, this plant can do quite nicely on fluorescent or incandescent lights in your room. You may want to leave the lights on during the daytime if you can, when keeping the ZZ in a room with no windows at all.
Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
The prayer plant is often chosen for its vivacious colourings, such as the violet or red leaf stripes or white accents. Another neat trick this plant performs is folding up its leaves every night. You can keep them in low-light, but we don't recommend a no-light space.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
A classic houseplant that fits into every style room, this light coloured fern isn't too fussy about light. Keep it away from your drafty spots, and out of reach of any heating vents, to get on the Boston fern's good side. Water this plant when the soil becomes dry.
Corn Plant (Dracaena massangeana)
These plants are known for their light-coloured yellow stripe down the centre of each leaf, adding eye-catching colour to your room. If you need a plant with height, this is the one for you. Low light levels don't bother the corn plant, but you won't see it growing very fast either. Get one that's already quite tall rather than waiting for yours to sprout up.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
A crowd favourite, the spider plant is known for its hardiness and its quick propagation. It looks great hanging or standing and you'll have tons of baby spider plants in no time to fill your darker rooms! As an added bonus, it's really easy to care for and won't croak if you forget to water it for a few days.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
A super sturdy plant for your home. The Chinese evergreen has a number of colour varieties for you to choose from, but when picking a new plant remember that the red varieties need a bit more light than the all green styles. A small window will be enough for this bushy plant to keep growing.
The philodendron (especially the heart-leaf varieties) are fantastic for low-level spaces and will give you bright green foliage. The hanging vines cover a lot of wall length, creating an eye-catching focus for your room. You can also get philodendron in a variety of colours and styles, such as variegated which mixes lime and dark greens on its leaves for a beautiful display.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
A popular plant, the snake plant has many names including mother-in-law's tongue, devil's tongue, viper's bowstring hemp and tiger's tail. Regardless of what you call it, this plant is easy to grow and requires very little light. In fact, its delicate leaves will burn if it has direct sunlight. Maybe they should call it the vampire plant!
Don't despair if you're living in a home with less light than you'd like. You can still have houseplants to help brighten up the space! Low light plants are often low-care plants as well, which is quite the boon for any houseplant grower! Enjoy potting up your new plants and adding them to your home. These plants are available at nurseries and garden stores (including West Coast Gardens) year round, and we grow many of these plants ourselves in our greenhouses, from babies until they are big enough to go home with you!
It's easy to put together a planter with a few of your favourite tropicals, low light or not, and we give you some tips in this DIY video.