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Low-Light Indoor Plant Guide: 17 Easy-to-Grow Houseplants

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Aug 26, 2020 • 4 min read

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Ron Finley Teaches Gardening

Beautiful lush houseplants may seem like they require constant watering and direct sunlight, but that’s not always the case. Some indoor plants thrive in low-light situations and can be more low maintenance than some outdoor plants. Low-light houseplants are great options for beginner indoor gardeners.

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17 Easy-to-Grow Houseplants That Thrive in Low-Light Environments

If you’re looking for some new greenery to spruce up your living room or bedroom but don’t have time to tend to an indoor jungle, check out these easy-to-grow, low-light plants:

  1. Zanzibar gem. Also known as ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), these low-light, waxy-leafed plants are drought-tolerant and hardy enough to withstand a bit of neglect. Avoid overwatering ZZ plants, as they are prone to rhizome rot. You should water ZZ plants when the top of the soil is dry. Learn how to care for your ZZ plant in our comprehensive guide here.
  2. Philodendron. The arrowhead philodendron (Syngonium podophyllum) and the heart-leaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) make excellent plants for low-light environments. The heartleaf and arrowhead plants are two of the best houseplants you can grow, either in pots or in hanging baskets (though due to the plants' toxic nature, the latter is a better choice if you have pets). You should only water philodendrons when half the soil is dry.
  3. Pothos. Golden pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, can grow up to 10 feet, with long, trailing vines. It can tolerate all levels of humidity and thrives with weekly watering. Find our guide to the pothos plant here.
  4. Sansevieria. Also known as mother-in-law's tongue or the snake plant (due to its striped, wavy leaf patterns), Sansevieria is another waxy-leafed hardy houseplant that can withstand long periods without sunlight. Snake plants can survive with just one watering every two to eight weeks.
  5. Spider plant. Spider plants have thin, spiky leaves, and are drought-tolerant. Their leaves also produce small white blooms. Spider plants are easy to grow and make great hardy indoor plants. One watering per week is enough to keep this plant thriving.
  6. Chinese evergreen. Part of the Aglaonema genus, the Chinese evergreen has leathery leaves that can adapt to fluorescent light and is one of the best plants for beginner indoor gardeners to grow. The Chinese evergreen is a low-maintenance plant that can tolerate three weeks without water and doesn’t require fertilization.
  7. Dracaena. Dracaena (romanized from the Greek words for “female dragon”) is a drought-tolerant houseplant that is easy to grow and only needs water a couple of times a month. Direct sunlight can burn its waxy, dark green leaves, so it’s best to keep the plant in partial shade or low-light areas.
  8. Monstera. Also known as the Swiss-cheese plant, the monstera plants are evergreen tropical shrubs that grow wildly in Panama. They have perforated leaves that can grow up to two-feet wide. Keep the monstera plant from spreading by pruning regularly, and allowing the soil to dry before watering.
  9. Peace lily. Peace lilies bloom their white flowers throughout the year and are known for their air-purifying qualities. The flower is somewhat intolerant to overwatering, so only water if the top of the soil is dry.
  10. Prayer plant. These tropical plants are native to the jungle, so if you’re in an area with relatively warm temperatures, this plant is ideal. The prayer plant can do well in indirect sunlight. Keep the soil consistently moist in the spring and summer, but taper off the amount in the fall and winter.
  11. Baby rubber plant. Peperomia obtusifolia, also known as the baby rubber plant, can grow in low-light conditions but prefers a medium-light situation. Water once every 10 to 14 days.
  12. Rex begonia. The rex begonia has colorful, striking leaves that enjoy humidity and indirect sunlight. You should only water this plant when the soil becomes dry to the touch.
  13. Bird’s nest fern. This fern is a tropical-looking houseplant whose foliage resembles banana leaves. Keep the soil evenly moist and, if possible, at room temperature.
  14. Lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo is an easy-care plant that is traditionally given as a gift to promote health and wealth. Clean the growing container and refresh the water once a week to prevent algae from forming.
  15. Bromeliads. Bromeliads are colorful, low-maintenance houseplants with unique watering needs. Place a small pool of water in the center cup of their pot to keep them moist and hydrated. To help the plants thrive, give them proper air circulation while maintaining an optimally humid environment.
  16. Parlor palm. One of the most popular houseplant palms on the market is the parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans). Growers often harvest their xate (fronds) to use for floral arrangements or decor. Keep this palm in high humidity, and ensure the soil stays evenly moist.
  17. Dieffenbachia. Also known as dumb canes, this is an all-around plant that will do well in bright light or low light. You can grow these plants on a windowsill or tabletop, and while not fatal if ingested, it may cause stomach discomfort if eaten, so keep away from children and pets. Water only when the first two inches of soil are dry (or when the leaves begin to droop).

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Grow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the MasterClass All-Access Pass and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.

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