Houseplants are perfect for bringing life to our homes. But not every room has the right lighting conditions to ensure all plants will thrive. Our list of the best low light plants is helpful to select a plant that will tolerate (or thrive) in rooms where there might be less light available.
Whether you’re looking for a lush tropical, small tree, or drought-tolerant plant, we collected a variety of readily available and low-cost plants that will appeal to a variety of tastes while being relatively easy to care for. Read on for our top picks for the best low light plants!
What to Look For in the Best Low Light Plants
Before we dive into our list, let’s cover what to look for on selecting a plant that will do well with low light. This will help you determine if a plant not included in our list will do well in low-light conditions. Typically, plants that are more tolerant of darker conditions have a few things in common:
They have dark green leaves – Dark green leaves indicate that a plant can tolerate lower-light conditions. Plants with dark green (or even purple) leaves get this coloration from having more chlorophyll cells – making them more efficient at converting sunlight into energy, even in lower light conditions. Look for dark leaves when searching for your next plant that can thrive in low light.
They belong to a tropical plant family – In nature, many tropical houseplants live on the forest floor under a canopy of trees. The light they receive is filtered by many layers of branches and trees above. Over time, these tropicals adapted and will do well in heavily diffused lighting conditions, assuming their other needs are met. If you’ve ever been hiking through a forested area, you’ve likely experienced the soft filtered light on the trail, even among the most sunny days. Ferns, Calatheas, and other tropicals will do perfect in these conditions.
Are Not a Cactus or Desert Succulent – Many people new to houseplants gravitate towards cactus and succulent plants. The promise of low-to-no watering makes them an attractive choice, but few recognize the these plants, which are from arid deserts, require 14-16 hours of direct sun exposure to reach their full potential. As a result, these plans will experience very slow growth or eventually decline as a result of them not receiving enough light to convert into usable energy.
With these main factors in mind, take a look at our list as a guide showcasing the easiest and best low light plants that will thrive in your home.
Scientific Name: Sansevieria
Common Names: Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
Known more commonly as Snake Plants or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Sansevieria is a family of beautiful, low-maintenance plants that don’t need much light to thrive. They’re among the best low light plants while also requiring very little water and humidity, making them a very easy to care for houseplant, especially if you have a room with less than ideal lighting. Their signature look includes long, spear-like leaves that cluster vertically, playing into their Snake Plant nickname. Different Sansevieria plants showcase different leaf coloration and patterns, with newer varieties arriving in interesting new shapes and textures. Not only is it beautiful, it’s perfect for beginners as a plant that’s also on our list of one of the hardest plants to kill.
Hurricane Bird’s Nest Fern
Scientific Name: Asplenium antiquum ‘Hurricane’
Common Names: Hurricane Bird’s Nest Fern
This classic fern is a great addition for rooms with moodier lighting, adding tropical flair to any space. The Hurricane Bird’s Nest Fern is especially great if you’re looking to add a little greenery to a room that has humidity on the higher side, and can keep up with regular waterings, as ferns don’t like their soil drying out completely. This makes them great candidates for bathroom plants where there’s some natural light and will love the humidity from baths and showers. If your bathroom can’t provide this don’t worry – placing a small tray of pebbles and water underneath the pot will go a long way to keeping this plant happy in any room.
Scientific Name: Platycerium bifurcatum
Common Names: Staghorn Fern, Antelope ears, Rainforest fern
Staghorn Ferns get their name from their beautiful, antler-shaped fronts that dramatically jut out from the center of this unusual tropical plant. Like Green Flame Ferns, they can thrive in low light conditions, but require regular waterings and high humidity. Staghorn Ferns may be found at your local nursery in small growing pots, hanging baskets, or even mounted on wood – providing many choices to grow this incredible plant. With their beautiful appearance and easy-going nature, it’s no surprise that Staghorn Ferns are one of the best low light houseplants available today.
Pothos Marble Queen
Scientific Name: Epipremnum aureum ‘Marble ‘Queen’
Common Name: Marble Queen Pothos
Like many other plants in the Pothos family, Marble Queen Pothos is a fast-growing, hardy plant that is very forgiving. It can tolerate low to bright indirect light, making these plants perfect for adding greenery to any home, even without long hours of indirect sunlight other more finicky plants require. The Marble Queen Pothos is known for its beautiful leaves that sport splotches of creamy white and green, adding interesting texture to any plant collection, or a strong statement piece for any room.
Maranta Lemon Lime
Scientific Name: Maranta leuconeura ‘Lemon Lime’
Common Name: Lemon Lime Maranta or Lemon Lime Prayer Plant
Prayer Plants are wonderful plants that can do very well in low-light conditions. Their stunning leaves – specifically from the vibrant “Lemon Lime” variation, add tropical flair to any setting. Like others on this list, they can be grown in all kinds of lighting – ranging from low light through bright indirect sunlight. To help your Maranta thrive, it’s best to keep it watered regularly, avoiding dry soil between waterings. And due to their tropical nature, Prayer Plants also prefer a moderate level of humidity. Dry plants will curl their leaves inwards to show you that they are too dry. While a little more care is needed to keep a Maranta Lemon Lime happy, their striking beauty is worth it, and a reason we think it’s one of the best low light plants you can find at virtually any nursery center or big box store.
Scientific Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Common Name: ZZ Plant
The ZZ Plant is one of the most popular houseplant with interior designers and plant enthusiasts alike. Its beautiful stalks add a dramatic architectural presence while its flat and waxy leaves add an organic and approachable appearance that softens any space. Not just great for its looks, the ZZ Plant is also a very hands off plant that make it a great starter plant. It can thrive in low light, doesn’t like too much water, and is an overall very forgiving houseplant. Due to it’s beautiful looks and no-fuss attitude, ZZ Plants prove that you can really have a great looking plant that takes virtually no work.
Scientific Name: Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’
Common Name: Philodendron Brasil
One of the more colorful plants on our low-light list, the Philodendron Brasil will bring a lot of personality to any room. Bold leaf variegations bring a splash of green and yellow hues, giving a fresh take on the classic Philodendron houseplant that has been a staple for decades. The vining stems also sport pink and orange sections as they grow. Beyond the incredible coloration, Philodendron Brasil is a very hardy and fast-growing plant that will quickly turn any room into a beautiful jungle.
Scientific Name: Rhapis excelsa
Common Names: Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Miniature Fan Palm
If you’re looking for a larger plant to cultivate in a low-light area, a Lady Palm might be the perfect addition to your home. The small tropical tree has signature, fan-like leaves that branch from a central trunk. Like other members of the Palm family, Lady Palms are easy to care for, requiring regular watering and can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions most homes can easily provide. In the right conditions, Lady Palm plants can live for years, and reach 6 feet in height when grown indoors if cared for properly. If your vision for a great low-light plant includes a tropical tree that needs minimal care, we recommend the Lady Palm as one of the best low light plants that fit these conditions.
Scientific Name: Chlorophytum comosum
Common Names: Spider Plant, Reverse Spider Plant, Hawaiian Spider Plant, Spider Plant ‘Bonnie’
One of our absolute favorite houseplants that also happens to do well in low light is the classic Spider Plant. Coming in several stunning variations, all Spider Plants are very easy to care for and can thrive in low-to-bright indirect light, making them great for rooms that may not have a large window. Spider Plants are also very well known for their air purifying properties, making them an ideal plant to grow indoors. Spider Plants are also one of the easiest plants to propagate – sending vines of small white flowers that quickly turn into baby plants that can be clipped and rooted in water. Many people who own Spider Plants use this as an easy way to gift plants to friends, and families with decades-old Spider Plants are known to pass down heirloom plants to family members as a fun plant tradition.
Wrapping Up the Best Low Light Plants
Houseplants can breathe new life into our homes – including rooms that may have less than ideal lighting. We hope that you learned a little about what makes a houseplant a great candidate for low-light growth, and enjoyed our quick collection of the best low light plants that can survive in a variety of lighting conditions while being affordable, low-maintenance and readily available at a garden center near you.