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 are low-maintenance plants that don’t need much light.
Here are my favorite easy-care houseplants that thrive in low light conditions.
Snake Plant – This is a great choice if you don’t have a green thumb. 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 with little care. 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 they are an excellent choice for growing indoors. I have found they can live happily with indirect sunlight. 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 on a windowsill. English ivy likes cool temperatures. If you live in a warm climate, don’t let them bake in a window during the warmer months.
Pothos (also known as devil’s ivy) – There are many different varieties of Pothos with different leaf colors. The glacier version has beautiful white tip heart-shaped leaves. Unfortunately, the more standard Pothos plant with green leaves does the best in a lower light environment.
This is one of the easiest houseplants to maintain. They only need to be watered every 7-10 days. Pothos make great tabletop plants or 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 shows up is mealybugs. If you notice them they are easily treated by placing the plant in the sink and spraying them off.
Lucky Bamboo – This popular houseplant doesn’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 are 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 is an easy plant to grow and can get as large as five feet. This is one of the best indoor plants and a popular choice for an indoor garden. They are very tough and don’t require much attention, which makes them the perfect plant for me. Maybe a useless fact, the common name ZZ comes from its botanic name zamioculcas zamiifolia.
ZZ plants like to have dry soil before they are watered again. Be careful not to over-water.
Tips for Keeping Indoor Plants Healthy
Don’t overwater – Not all indoor plants need regular watering. What can often kill indoor plants is too much water. The most important thing to do is to stick your finger into the top 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 which can cause root rot, 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 its 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 bright window to get a lot of light 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 helping to maintain well-drained soil. It’s good if you lean toward over-watering because the soil can dry out more easily.
What are your favorite low-maintenance houseplants?