Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Jan 5
7 min read
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12 Houseplants For Dark Spaces

Not all house plants do well in bright light. This is because the natural environment these plants come from is often the under canopy of tropical rainforest where they enjoy the dark, humid climate. For this reason the following plants do well in the dark rooms of your home.

For stronger growth most of these plants will also enjoy being regularly misted if you live in a dry area. For healthy indoor plants you will also want to consider the soil they are growing in. Make sure you use well draining soil. We have a great option for you that is organic and free of animal by-products.

While houseplants grow slowly they can benefit greatly by an occasional feeding. We recommend using this liquid FloraGro fertilizer from General Hydroponics. Even though it is formulated for use in hydroponic systems it can be used on soil when growing microgreens or potted plants. Simply follow the instructions on the bottle for how much should be added when you water.

Generally for houseplants you should only fertilize about once a month. This formulation will be most beneficial for plants with a lot of foliar growth as it is designed to provide essential nutrients to stem and leaf development.

Plants for low light rooms:

Aglaonema - Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreens are very easy to care for as they are tolerant of many conditions. They are especially known for their ability to grow in low light conditions while also being drought tolerant. Bright colored varieties will need more light than the all green varieties. If you struggle to keep plants alive be sure to transplant the Chinese Evergreen with a soil mix of equal parts potting soil, perlite, and sand to ensure well-draining soil. Starting off with a great soil mix will help your plant to develop a strong, healthy root system. The best defense for any plant against pests, disease, and adverse conditions is to start with good health.

Chlorophytum comosum - Spider Plant

The Spider Plant is the perfect plant for small spaces and rooms that feel very closed off as it is one of the best air filtering plants around. Living true to its name, the Spider Plant will produce spiderettes which are needed for propagation. If you see these hanging from the main plant, you may take a cutting by removing one of the spiderettes to form a separate plant.

Dracaena fragrans - Corn Plant

Be careful where you put this guy as it is toxic to cats and dogs. If your pets are likely to nibble on the leaves it may be best to try a different plant. If you don’t have plants I would strongly recommend this plant due to its health benefits to people. In NASA’s clean air study it was found to remove a considerable amount of toxins from the air. If you are prone to health problems this is the leafy friend for you.

Epipremnum aureum - Pothos

Pothos is popular for its cascading habit and easy care. This plant has become one of the most popular to have in your home because it is so adaptable. You can place it in bright to low light, it can handle water or dry soil, and will grow regardless of poor soils. Hang this fun plant for more vertical interest in your home.

Maranta leuconeura - Prayer Plant

If you are looking for a plant that will brighten a dark room this is the one for you. The prayer plant is unique in that it has a variegated leaf with pink veinations. Beyond its bright color it is also unique for its folding habit during the night. This folding is what gave it the prayer name as its leaves look like praying hands. While this plant is very low light tolerant, you may want to expose it to more light during the winter months to prevent complete die back.

Phalaenopsis - Moth Orchid

Moth Orchids are another great option to bring some color into a low light area. The main consideration with growing orchids is their watering schedule. You will want to make sure it is well watered, then allow it time to dry. Generally they only need water every 10-14 days. Do not allow it to sit in any water. After saturating with water, dump the excess so it can start drying.

Sansevieria - Snake Plant

Only water when the soil feels dry to the touch, which should be about every 3 weeks. Don’t overwater. This plant is a great option for those of us who tend to forget about watering houseplants. During the winter months you won’t need to water much as it can go up to two months during this season without watering. Because it is so easy to care for I would recommend the snake plant to anyone getting their first indoor plant as you will likely have great success. Another great reason to get a Snake Plant is that it gives off lots of oxygen. Make this guy your next best friend today.

Spathiphyllum - Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is good for dark or bright areas and is loved for its air purification properties. For this reason it has become popular not only in the home, but for the office as well. While it can grow well in low light, you will likely see more blooms if it is exposed to some indirect light. When watering, keep in mind the Peace Lily is more tolerant of underwatering than giving it too much. It is ideal to check about once a week. Some people will even wait until it starts to droop. Either way will be just fine for your plant.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia - ZZ Plant

The ZZ Plant is ideal for any low light area and any level of grower as it is low maintenance. The only real drawback to the ZZ Plant is that it is toxic to pets and should be kept out of the mouths of small children. If you have pets or children who may nibble on this plant I would opt for a different option, otherwise this is the plant for you. Because it is so easy to care for, this plant is often the most popular houseplant sold by nurseries and garden centers.

Philodendron - Heartleaf

Philodendron can develop long trailing stems, though they are more popularly seen in a denser habit that comes from pinching. To pinch your plant either use your fingernails or scissors to make a clean cut near a node. Pinching near the node will cause more stems to develop, creating a denser growing habit. While it can do perfectly well in a poorly lit room you will get stronger growth with some indirect light. It would also benefit from misting though it is tolerant of dry air.

Chamaedorea elegans - Parlor Palm

If you love palm trees this is the perfect indoor palm for you to start with. It can tolerate low light conditions, though I would avoid complete darkness. It is also somewhat tolerant of lower temperatures making it a great option for areas with fluctuating seasonal temperatures. When growing Parlor Palms just be careful not to overwater them as they are sensitive to too much water.

Adiantum - Maidenhair Fern

The Maidenhair Fern is a great option for low light areas, however be aware of its need for moisture. Ferns naturally are found beneath large tree canopies in humid environments. This environment can be difficult to create indoors. While it needs lots of moisture, it also needs to be able to drain excess water away making good soil pivotal to your success. To maintain good humidity use warm water to mist the leaves daily or place in your bathroom where it will benefit from shower steam.

Ashleigh Smith's photo

I'm Ashleigh Smith, a native to Northern Utah. I first gained a love of gardening with my grandmother as I helped her each summer. I decided to make a career of it and have recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University - Idaho. My studies have focused on plant production while I also have experience in Nursery & Garden Center Operations.

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Janelle Huston AKA Garden Glam Goddess

I loved your article. It was very nice. It is always interesting to learn about the language of flowers. This is a wonderful advertisement for a gift that can be given to friends and nonromantic relationships. Perfect for “Galentine’s Day” and “Palentine’s Day.” Thank you.


Michelle

I learned a lot from this article! We give our cat wheatgrass but never knew how good it was for them! I just bought some seeds to grow our own so our cat can have it all the time.


Kathie Hitt

This is amazing! I had no idea you could grow your own popping corn. Will be definitely adding to my fall gardening plan to surprise my family. Thank you!


Bethany

Thank you for the helpful information! As a beginner gardener it has been tempting to start everything indoors. It’s helpful to know that it best to directly sow some crops.


Mandy

Beauty berry is one of my favorites bug repelling plants. Great article.


Mandy

I love nasturtiums. Great article.