Keeping indoor plants may not feel like an option if your home is more of a shade shelter than a sun trap. Afterall, high-school science taught you that happy plants are ones that have plenty of water, fresh soil, and sunlight. While this is true for some species, there are plenty of plants that like it when you throw a little shade into the mix.
In this article, we’ll explore why some plants can survive in low light, reveal the common characteristics of darkness dwelling plants, and suggest some indoor plants that prefer life on the dark side.
Why do some plants thrive in low light?
All plants need some form of light to help them grow because plants create their energy through a process called photosynthesis. Light is needed for a plant to photosynthesize but luckily, different plants can get by on different levels of light. Some have adapted to living in shady conditions. For example, plants living on the floor of dense forests and jungles are in the shade of taller trees. They can go for most of the day, and sometimes whole seasons, without access to much natural light. For those of us living in sun-deprived homes, this works in our favor.
To keep plants in low light all you need to do is make sure there’s some light coming into the room. It can be natural light or an artificial grow light. And it doesn’t even have to be direct light. Your plant can be sat in a shady corner but a window on the opposite side of the room still provides a light source.
Characteristics of darkness dwelling plants
According to one UK science and plant education site, the most common characteristics of darkness dwelling plants are:
- large, broad leaves
- thinner leaves
- longer internodes (the bit between stem and leaf)
- a tendency to grow taller, faster as they search for light.
Tropical plants also tend to be happier in shady conditions. This stands to reason when you think about what we said earlier: that plants have to survive in jungles and forests where there may not be much light for days or weeks at a time. Keep these characteristics in mind when shopping for your indoor plants.
5 indoor plants for low light
If you’re looking for some low light plant inspiration, here are our top five indoor plants that do well in darker dwellings.
Devil’s Ivy isn’t picky when it comes to growing conditions. It’s happy in pots, hanging planters, partial shade or very low light, and doesn’t even need watering all that often.
Known for growing under the shade of trees on the jungle floor, some species of bromeliads do well in full or part shade. For example, Vriesea and Guzmania bromeliads are fine in full shade.
3. Bird’s Nest Fern
Here’s a great example of the characteristics low light plants possess. Bird’s Nest Ferns have broad, bright leaves that aren’t too thick to the touch. While it’s happy with some sunlight now and then, this tropical plant prefers low light and warmer conditions.
4. Aglaonema Cutlass
Not all Aglaonema varieties are suited to a life in full shade, but the Cutlass is one. It does well under artificial lights, enjoys a bit of humidity, and can be left to completely dry out between watering.
5. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
As far as low maintenance houseplants go, the peace lily is one of the toughest. This dark green, broadleaf plant prefers shade and low light, although if you’d like to encourage the plant to flower we suggest putting it in filtered or indirect sunlight.
A shady-plant surprise! Succulents that do well in low light
Did you know that some succulents do well in low light? This can come as a shock because we think of succulents as desert dwellers. And deserts aren’t exactly short on sunlight. However, there are a few varieties that do just fine in low light, for example:
- smaller varieties of aloe vera
- snake plants
- Burro’s tail, which is a trailing succulent
- Zebra cactus.
Brightening up your home with plants for low light
The beauty of plants that do well in darker dwellings is that they come in various colors, sizes, and textures. By choosing a few different varieties you can create a bright, lively, and interesting display for your home.
Many of the plants mentioned in this article can be found in our plant store or give us a call at 702-997-0222 if there’s something specific you’re after.