Do you love the way plants look but you only have one place that gets any sun? That’s definitely the case in my house. My kitchen is the only room that gets enough light for most plants. What I discovered by accident is that there are hard to kill, low light houseplants.
Did you know there are people who specialize in interior plantscaping? They maintain plants in office buildings, hotels and airports. If you look around inside restaurants and hotels you will begin to see the same plants. That’s a good clue that they don’t take much care or light.
Snake Plant – I see these in every restaurant far away from any window. I have one in my bedroom and we often forget to open the blinds, but it continues to thrive. These require very little water and suffer lots of neglect. Apartment Therapy agrees with me. See this article about how snake plants are low maintenance.
Snake plants come in a variety of sizes. I’ve seen giant pots of them in hotel lobbies. They act more like trees than small potted plants because of the space they occupy.
English Ivy – English ivy can be invasive outdoors, but indoors I have found they can live happily with indirect light. Real gardeners, which I don’t consider myself, may disagree with me on this, but for multiple years I have kept two pots of ivy happy.
My secret is that I move them around. Sometimes they sit on a bookshelf, far away from sunlight, and sometimes I put them in a windowsill. English ivy likes cooler temperatures. If you live in a warm climate, don’t let them bake in a window during the summer.
Pothos (also known as devil’s ivy) – There are many different varieties of Pothos with different leaf colors. The glacier version has a beautiful white tip. Unfortunately, the more standard solid green ones do the best in a low light environment.
These only need to be watered every 7-10 days. Pothos make great table top plants or a hanging plants. They can grow up to 25 feet if you let them hang.
If you are a bargain hunter like me, these are great because if you buy one you can grow many. All you have to do is cut off a 6″ stem and let it sit in water until it develops roots and you’ve got a second plant.
The main pest that show up are mealybugs. If you notice them they are easily treated by placing the plant in the sink and spraying them off.
Lucky Bamboo – These plants don’t even require soil. They can grow in water for their entire life. In fact, they aren’t really bamboo they are Dracaena, but they look like bamboo.
They are supposed to bring good luck, but not if you have an arrangement with 4 stems. 3 stems is the most common size. Bamboo plants are sold at Trader Joe’s, so they are pretty inexpensive.
Lucky bamboo will tolerate low light, it just doesn’t get much bigger. It’s best to get one that is already as large as you want it to be.
ZZ Plant – This plant can get as large as five feet. They are very tough and can really take neglect, just what I’m looking for in a plant. Maybe a useless fact, the name ZZ comes from it’s botanic name zamioculcas zamifolia.
ZZ plants like to dry out before they are watered again. Be careful not to over-water.
Tips for Keeping Indoor Plants Healthy
Don’t over water – What can often kill indoor plants is too much water. It’s best to stick your finger an inch or so into the soil to see if the plant is dry. Many plants don’t like their roots to be wet all the time, they like to dry out a little bit between waterings.
If you want more information on how to water your indoor plants I recommend this article, How Often Should I Water My Indoor Plants.
Intermittent sun – If you truly have no sunlight and the plant starts to lose it’s green color or drop leaves, try putting the plant in a sunny spot for a few days. I have two small English Ivy plants and I often rotate them so that one is close to a window to get some sun and the other is away from the window.
Use Terra Cotta Planters – I like terra cotta because each pot looks unique. They are porous so air and water can pass through them. It’s good if you lean toward over-watering because the soil can dry out more easily.
What are your favorite low maintenance houseplants?