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Low Light Indoor Plants: The Complete Guide

May 18, 2024 2 min read

Low Light Indoor Plants: The Complete Guide

Studies show that having indoor plants nearby lowers stress, boosts mood, productivity and even helps to clean the air. Unfortunately, many indoor spaces are low-light environments that are not conducive to a thriving plant collection. Low light is one of the most challenging aspects of growing beautiful, healthy plants all year-round.

The good news is there’s no shortage of beautiful indoor plants that can handle - or even flourish in - a low-light environment. By finding the right ones and giving the right TLC, even the shadiest living spaces can welcome glossy greenery. Our Horty Hints will walk you through everything you need to know about growing indoor plants that tolerate low light, selecting the most robust low-light plant picks, how to care for them properly and troubleshooting common concerns.

What Are Low Light Plants?

Low light indoor plants are ideal for areas with poor lighting conditions. The definition of “low light” primarily depends on the plant’s needs. Generally, low light conditions refer to environments where no amount of direct sunlight can penetrate. This includes spaces more than 10 feet from a window, north-facing windows, areas where obstacles block sunlight, and rooms without windows. Low light houseplants have some common characteristics which make them suitable for survival in low light:

Slow growth rate: Low light plants grow slower than those requiring more light. Their metabolism is also slower.

Larger leaves: A low light plant’s large leaves have a better chance of capturing the little sunlight available.

Low light requirement: Low light plants can photosynthesize and manufacture energy with the least level of light available.

High shade tolerance: Low light plants have adapted to survive in heavily shaded areas.

Keep in mind the following factors to help identify low light indoor plant varieties suitable for the shadiest interior spaces.

Natural habitat – Plants from tropical rainforests are adapted to live on the gloomy forest floor and can cope well with low light levels.

Leaf thickness - Plants with thick waxy leaves need less light than plants with thin leaves.

Variegation – Plants with solid green and dark leaves can photosynthesize more easily and will need less light than plants with variegated leaves.

Growth habit - Vining and trailing plants will often do well in low light.

The Top Low Light Houseplants

Low light houseplants are great for adding green life to the areas of your home that do not receive much natural light. Here are Hortology’s picks of the best low light indoor plants to grow and their care requirements.

Epipremnum aureum - Golden Pothos & Mayfair Hanging Plant Pot - Antique Brass


Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, is a versatile houseplant that grows well indoors. It has cascading vines that look great in hanging baskets or draping from shelves.

Pothos prefers bright indirect light but is tolerant of low light. Water the plant when the soil becomes dry. If the vines are too long, trim them back to stimulate denser growth.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia - ZZ Plant & Solento Plant Pot - Terracotta Speckle


The leaves of the ZZ plant are oval-shaped and waxy, emerging from thick underground rhizomes. ZZ plants are tolerant of neglect and forgetful watering regimes, making them an excellent plant for beginners.

Put the plant in average to low indirect light. Watering only when the soil is dry will help prevent root rot and dusting its leaves occasionally will keep them looking gorgeously glossy.

Sansevieria zeylanica HydroCare in Opus Hammered Globe - Silver - 40 x 89cm


The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, has thick structural sword-like leaves. They prefer low light and only need to be watered infrequently, every three to four weeks at most.

Make sure the soil has dried up completely before giving them a drink. Snake plants are extremely low maintenance as well as being one of the top air purifying plants.

Spathiphyllum Vivaldi - Peace Lily & Nolan Plant Pot - Caramel


Peace lilies prefer bright indirect light but can adapt to lower light. Let the soil dry out between waterings.

The leaves will droop if the plant is thirsty but watch out for yellow leaves that indicate overwatering. Misting those large dark green leaves will also provide a humidity boost.