23 Indoor Plants for Low Light, Perfect for Brightening Up Your Home

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english ivy plants on floating shelf
Photo: Jacob Fox

Is your basement in need of a few indoor plants? Looking to add life to your office desk? Some of the most colorful and easy-care houseplants thrive even where they don't get much light.

01 of 23

Philodendron

three philodendron plants on table
Jacob Fox

One of the best indoor plant varieties, philodendron is very tolerant of dark interiors. This fast-growing vine works well in hanging baskets or can be trained to climb a small trellis or totem. Two newer varieties offer colorful foliage. The 'Brasil' variety has gorgeous gold-and-green variegated foliage, while 'Micans' sports purple flushed leaves with a satin-like texture.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Trailing stems can reach up to 8 feet

Buy It: Philodendron Brasil

02 of 23

Pothos

pothos plants on chair pedestal
Jacob Fox

Often confused with Philodendron, pothos will thrive in any room of your home as long as you keep it out of full sun. It's an easy-care vining plant that you can train onto a trellis or allow to tumble over the edge of a hanging basket. Pothos comes in a variety of colors and bicolors, including dark green, chartreuse, white-and-green, yellow-and-green, and spotted silver.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Most will stay between 6 and 10 feet, but the trailing stems can reach up to 30 feet (prune it back to keep it smaller or if it's looking leggy)

Buy It: Marble Queen Pothos ($57, The Sill)

03 of 23

ZZ Plant

ZZ plant Zamioculcas zamiifolia
Kindra Clineff

Looking for a houseplant that tolerates dark corners and neglect? Check out ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia. This African native will do just fine even if it only gets fluorescent light in an office or shop. It also tolerates dry conditions, so it's ideal for someone who travels frequently. The ZZ plant looks great, too; it produces upright, slightly arching stems covered in shiny, dark green leaves (and you can even find a new variety with near-black foliage).

Light: Low light or bright, indirect light

Water: When the top of inch soil dries out

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Buy It: ZZ Plant ($42, The Sill)

04 of 23

Palms

palm varieties near window
Jacob Fox

Popular since the Victorian era, parlor palm, Chamaedorea elegans, is a slow-growing Mexican native that does well in low-light situations. It grows 4 feet tall and makes a bold statement in any room. Parlor palm only needs to be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch, but it does help to mist the plants once in awhile during the winter.

Buy It: Parlor Palm, $31.00, The Sill

Perfect for any room in your house, ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata, is virtually indestructible. It's a fascinating and unusual plant with long straplike leaves sprouting from a large, fat base that gives this plant it's other common name, elephant's foot palm. If you travel a lot, ponytail palm is ideal because the plant stores excess water in its chubby base, so it can go for several weeks without being watered. Ponytail palms are sold in a variety of heights from tabletop to tree-size, and can reach up to 6 feet indoors.

Buy It: Ponytail Palm ($65, Bloomscape)

05 of 23

Boston Fern

cotton candy boston fern on bar cart with wine glasses
Brie Passano

Ever since they were first discovered in the late 1800s, Boston ferns, Nephrolepis exaltata, have played an important role in interior design. These gorgeous plants develop bright green, arching fronds that look great in urns or baskets. Boston ferns thrive in partially shady indoor and outdoor locations away from cold drafts or heat ducts. Like all ferns, they love humidity, so mist often during the winter to minimize leaf drop.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Buy It: Hanging Basket Boston Fern ($20, The Home Depot)

06 of 23

Dieffenbachia

dieffenbachia houseplant in wicker basket
Jacob Fox

When it comes to colorful leaves, few houseplants offer as many options as Dieffenbachia. These gorgeous tropical plants feature a wide range of speckled or splotched leaves in either yellow-and-green or white-and-green. Although they grow well in dark rooms, they do prefer some bright, indirect light to keep them from getting too leggy. Dieffenbachia is poisonous, so keep it out of reach of children and pets.

Light: Low light or bright, indirect light

Water: When the top inch of soil is dry

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Buy It: Dieffenbachia ($20, The Home Depot)

07 of 23

Gloxinia

bolivian sunset gloxinia
Denny Schrock

Although Gloxinia can't survive in a completely dark room, it will bloom beautifully anywhere it can receive bright, indirect light away from full sun. A close relative of African violet, Gloxinia develops large velvety, trumpetlike flowers in a variety of jewel-like colors. Use warm water and avoid getting the foliage wet. Feed once a month with a liquid houseplant fertilizer while the plants are in bloom.

Light: Bright, indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Buy It: Multi-Colored Butterfly Gloxinia Flowers Bulbs ($10, The Home Depot)

08 of 23

Monstera

monstera hanging macrame planter
Jacob Fox

Create a tropical getaway in your living room with Monstera adansonii. Occasionally called Swiss cheese plant, Monstera produces huge, bright green, attractively cut leaves. Monstera has a dense, bushy shape, but over time, it will begin to stretch and climb a trellis or wood totem. A small Monstera can even be repotted into a hanging basket. If you want to keep the plant compact, simply prune back the vining branches. Water Monstera whenever the soil feels dry to the touch, and fertilize once a month during the spring and summer.

Light: Indirect light

Water: When the top inch of soil is dry

Size: Up to 13 feet tall, though most will stay much smaller indoors

Buy It: Swiss Cheese Plant ($40, The Home Depot)

09 of 23

Cast Iron Plant

cast-iron plant aspidistra elatior
Denny Schrock

Here's a houseplant that truly lives up to its name. Cast iron plant, Aspidistra elatior, thrives on neglect and lives happily in dark rooms with only occasional watering. Plus, this rugged plant spreads slowly, so it rarely needs repotting. Cast iron plant produces dark green narrow leaves; there's also a variegated form, but it can be difficult to find.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Buy It: Cast Iron Plant ($49, The Home Depot)

10 of 23

Aglaonema

potted aglaonema silver bay
Jacob Fox

Over the past few years red Aglaonema has taken the houseplant world by storm. With spectacular bright green leaves, this houseplant will brighten even the darkest room, though you can also find varieties with red or even pink foliage. Aglaonema doesn't mind dry soil either, so it makes a great gift for forgetful gardeners. Originally called Chinese evergreen, Aglaonema is almost foolproof.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: Water when the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Buy It: Aglaonema Siam (from $17, Etsy)

11 of 23

Peace Lily

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum wallisii 'Domino'
Blaine Moats

Easy and elegant: That's the best way to describe peace lily. This low-light houseplant sends up pure white flower spaths on tall, graceful stems. Peace lily also has shiny green foliage that looks great even when the plants aren't blooming. Often sold under its botanic name, Spathiphyllum, peace lily makes a relatively undemanding houseplant.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 36 inches tall

Buy It: Peace Lily ($28, The Home Depot)

12 of 23

Prayer Plant

prayer plant maranta leuconeura
Scott Little

Brighten the dark corners of your home with the cheerful foliage of prayer plant, Maranta leuconeura. This easy-care charmer sports variegated green-and-cream leaves with bright red veins. It gets its name from the fact that the leaves fold up at night. Prayer plant only grows 6-8 inches tall, so it's a good choice for an end table or bookshelf.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 8 inches tall

Buy It: Red Prayer Plant ($35 Bloomscape)

13 of 23

English Ivy

english ivy plants on floating shelf
Jacob Fox

Perfect for a hanging basket or urn, the trailing foliage of English ivy is a great choice if you want to lush up a dull room. English ivy comes in a wide variety of leaf colors and shapes and thrives in low light. In fact, it's the perfect plant to grow on a cool, north-facing windowsill. You also can train English ivy into a variety of topiary shapes. English ivy can be bothered by spider mites, so mist the plants often to prevent these pests from gaining a foothold.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: Before the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 8 feet

Buy It: English Ivy ($43, The Home Depot)

14 of 23

Dracaena

three green plants in assorted pots on wood floor
Jacob Fox

Dracaenas add a touch of elegance to any room of your home. This plant is often sold as a standard houseplant or in tree form, so you can cluster several together to create a miniature forest. To keep it looking its best, remove any faded leaves as they appear.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 6 feet tall indoors

Buy It: Dracaena Rikki Cane

15 of 23

Arrowhead Vine

potted arrowhead vine on shelf
Jacob Fox

Native to Central America, arrowhead vine, Syngonium podophyllum, can tolerate a wide range of low-light conditions. Its handsome foliage can be bright green, bronze, or variegated. When young, arrowhead vine forms a bushy mound; over time the plants will begin to vine, making them ideal for hanging baskets or trained up a trellis or totem. Pinch your plants if they begin to get too leggy.

Light: Low or medium indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 3 feet

Buy It: Arrowhead Plant

16 of 23

Peperomia

peperomia varieties in planter
Jacob Fox

Perfect for terrariums or dish gardens, Peperomia grows only 4-10 inches tall and offers a wide selection of different leaf shapes and colors. It has few insect or disease problems, and it's native to rain forests, so it likes to be in a spot with plenty of humidity.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 10 inches tall

Buy It: Peperomia Obtusfolia ($40, The Sill)

17 of 23

Moth Orchid

pink orchids potted plant on bed of rocks
Peter Krumhardt

Add a touch of elegance to any room in your home with Phalaenopis, commonly called moth orchid. These easy-care beauties hold their blooms for up to four months and are ideal for low-light locations. Moth orchids come in a wide selection of colors and bicolors, and they're generally sold in two sizes: Standards that grow 18-24 inches tall and dwarfs that stay under 12 inches in height. Moth orchids grow in bark or moss and should only be watered when that material feels dry. More orchids die from overwatering than under-watering, so don't be afraid to let it get just a little dry.

Light: Low light or bright, indirect light

Water: When the growing medium is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 24 inches tall

Buy It: White Moth Orchid ($98, The Sill)

18 of 23

Anthurium

anthurium flamingo flower
Dean Schoeppner

The bold, red, pink, orange, white, or purple flowers of Anthurium are a welcome treat during the dark days of winter. These tropical beauties don't like overly dry or wet soils, so it's important to keep the soil slightly moist at all times. Anthurium blooms best in bright, indirect light, but will do just fine in darker situations, although flowering may be limited. However, the plants have bright green, heart-shape leaves that keep the color show going even when they are not in bloom.

Light: Low light or bright indirect light

Water: Just before the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Buy It: Red Anthurium ($68, The Sill)

19 of 23

Spider Plant

Potted Spider Plant, Indoor Houseplant
Courtesy of Bloomscape

Don't let the common name of this amazing houseplant scare you off. Spider plant, also called airplane plant, gets its name from the many runners it sends out with baby plants at the tips. Available in dark green and variegated forms, spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum, makes a great tabletop or basket plant in low-light conditions. During the winter, mist the plants frequently to help prevent the leaf tips from turning brown.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Buy It: Spider Plant

20 of 23

Yucca Cane

yucca cane plant
Dean Schoeppner

When you think of yucca plants, sunny desert conditions probably come to mind. But indoors, these plants are almost as happy in a dark corner where you can enjoy its leathery green, lancelike foliage and attractive tan bark. The plant won't grow as quickly in a dark room as it does in a sunny spot, but it will be just fine as long as you don't overwater it.

Light: Low light or bright indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 8 feet tall indoors

Buy It: Yucca Cane ($47, The Home Depot)

21 of 23

Begonia

rex begonia shadow king
Justin Hancock

The jewel-like leaves and flowers of begonia will turn any dark room into a festival of color. There are many species of begonia to choose from, but one of the best for growing indoors is rex begonia, which comes in different varieties sporting multicolor leaves in an assortment of silver, green, pink, red, orange, and burgundy. Growing only a few inches tall, rex begonias can also be used in terrariums or dish gardens. Rex begonias do best in soil that's kept just slightly moist at all times.

Light: Low light or indirect light

Water: Just before the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 8 inches tall

Buy It: Begonia ($20, Lowe's)

22 of 23

Columnea

close up view goldfish plant
Dean Schoeppner

Columnea develops tubular orange or yellow blooms that give these jungle natives their common name, goldfish plant. Although Columnea blooms best in a bright location, the plants themselves will thrive in darker rooms where its trailing, shiny, dark green leaves will be appreciated. Columnea makes a great basket plant.

Light: Low light or bright, indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Up to 24 inches

Buy It: Columnea 'Hot Lips'

23 of 23

Hoya

hoya wax plant porcelain planter rabbit decor
Kindra Clineff

A gorgeous slow-growing vine, Hoya, or wax plant, thrives in bright indirect light, but does almost as well in darker locations. Hoya comes in either flat-leaved or crinkled- leaved forms and will occasionally produce clusters of highly fragrant white flowers. Flat-leaved Hoya also comes in solid green or variegated cream-and-green leaves. You can train a Hoya up a trellis or totem or allow it to trail over the edge of a pot or urn.

Light: Low light or bright, indirect light

Water: When the soil is dry to the touch

Size: Trailing vines can reach up to 4 feet

Buy It: Variegated Hoya ($29, The Home Depot)

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