Brighten Up Your Dim Areas with the Best Plants for Low Light

Best plants for low-light

Do you have a room or corner in your home that doesn’t get much natural light? The right low-light plants can add life, color, and interest to these spaces. In this post, we’ll share the best plant options for low light along with tips for helping them thrive.

Selecting the Best Plants for Low Light

When choosing plants for a dim area of your home, it’s important to pick varieties that are adapted to low-light conditions. Luckily, many houseplants can tolerate dimmer spaces. But what makes a plant low-light tolerant? It comes down to how efficiently they photosynthesize (turn light into energy for growth) and their natural adaptations.

In the wild, low light tolerant plants often grow as understory plants beneath a dense forest canopy where light is limited. Over time, they’ve developed adaptations like large surface areas to maximize light absorption, darker green leaves that are more efficient at photosynthesis, and slower growth rates. When brought into our homes, these same traits allow them to handle less-than-ideal light conditions.

Some of the best low-light houseplants include:

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) – The waxy, dark green leaves of the ZZ plant allow it to thrive in dim spaces. It’s also incredibly drought-tolerant and low maintenance.

    ZZ Plant

    Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) – Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant tolerates neglect and a wide range of light conditions. Its tall, upright leaves add nice vertical interest.

      Snake Plant

      Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) – Chinese evergreens come in many colors and patterns. They prefer moderate to low light and can help purify indoor air.

        Chinese Evergreen

        Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) – This vining plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow. While it prefers moderate light, it can tolerate low light. The trailing vines look great in a hanging basket.

          Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

          Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) – As its name suggests, the cast iron plant is nearly indestructible. It slowly grows long, dark green leaves even in dim conditions.

            Cast Iron Plant

            Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) – Peace lilies are one of the few low-light plants that will produce flowers. The glossy leaves and delicate white spathes add a touch of elegance.

              Peace Lily

              Philodendron – There are many types of philodendrons and most tolerate low to moderate light. These vining plants also help purify indoor air.


                While these are some of the most adaptable options for low light, there are many other plants to consider like lucky bamboo, parlor palm, and dracaena. When selecting any plant for a dim area, be sure to check its specific light requirements and provide accordingly.

                Tips for Growing Plants in Low Light Conditions

                Growing plants in low light does come with some challenges. But with the right care, you can keep your dim-loving plants happy and healthy. Here are some tips:

                Provide sufficient indirect light – While labeled as “low light,” these plants still need some indirect light to photosynthesize and grow. Aim for a spot that receives bright to moderate indirect light for at least a few hours per day, like near a window with sheer curtains. Avoid placing plants in the darkest corners or far from any windows.

                Water carefully – Plants in low light photosynthesize more slowly and thus need less water. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes with low-light plants. Always check the soil moisture with your finger before watering. Let the top inch or two dry out between watering. Pour out any excess water that collects in the saucer.

                Don’t over-fertilize – Like watering, plants in low light need less fertilizer since they are growing more slowly. Aim to fertilize at half-strength or less frequently than the package recommends to avoid burning the roots.

                Boost humidity if needed – Some tropical low-light plants appreciate higher humidity. If your space is dry, consider running a humidifier nearby or setting plants on a pebble tray with water.

                Dust leaves regularly – Low-light plants are especially prone to dust buildup on their leaves which can interfere with photosynthesis. Gently wipe or mist leaves periodically to keep them clean.

                Know when to move – Sometimes, even low-light plants don’t get quite enough light and will start to become weak and spindly. If a plant is struggling in a dark corner, don’t hesitate to relocate it to a spot with a little more indirect light. You can also rotate plants between higher and lower light spots.


                With the right plant selection and care, you can successfully grow and sell food photography along with houseplants even in the dimmest parts of your home. Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about low-light plants.

                1. What does “low light” actually mean for plants? In general, low light for plants is defined as an area that receives no direct sunlight and minimal indirect light, typically 25-75-foot candles of light. This would be similar to the natural light more than 8 feet from a bright window.
                2. Can plants live in rooms with no windows? It’s difficult for plants to survive long-term in a room with no natural light. Even low-light plants need some indirect sunlight to photosynthesize. If you want to keep a plant in a windowless room, you’ll likely need to use a grow light.
                3. How do I know if my plant isn’t getting enough light? Some signs a plant wants more light include pale, spindly new growth, leaf drop, slowed growth, or a “reaching” habit where stems become elongated as the plant grows towards the light source.
                4. Can low-light plants tolerate direct sun? Most low-light plants will burn if placed in intense direct sunlight. It’s best to acclimate them slowly if moving to a sunnier location. Some plants like cast iron plants and ZZ plants can handle some direct morning sun.
                5. Why is my low-light plant turning yellow? The most common cause of yellowing in low-light plants is overwatering. In dim conditions, plants use water more slowly so it’s important not to water too frequently. Yellowing can also be caused by underwatering, cold drafts, or nutrient deficiencies.
                6. Can I use a grow light for low-light plants? Grow lights can help supplement natural light for low-light plants, especially in winter. Use a light with the right spectrum (color temperature) and intensity for foliage plants. Keep the lights 8-12 inches from the foliage to avoid burn. Philodendrons, pothos, ZZ plants, and snake plants are some of the best plants for growing under artificial lights.
                7. How can plants purify indoor air? Numerous studies have shown that common indoor plants can remove toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from the air. Plants purify air by absorbing these compounds through their leaves and roots and converting them into harmless substances. They also increase humidity and produce oxygen. Some of the best air-purifying plants for low light include snake plants, pothos, peace lily, and philodendrons.


                In summary, many houseplant options can tolerate and even thrive in the low light conditions common to certain rooms or corners of our homes. The best low-light plants include tried-and-true options like the ZZ plant, pothos, snake plant, cast iron plant, Chinese evergreen, peace lily, and philodendron.

                To successfully grow these plants in dim areas, provide as much indirect light as possible and water and fertilize sparingly. Boost the humidity if needed and keep leaves clean for optimal photosynthesis. With these simple tips, you can transform even the darkest spaces into lush, thriving oases that also purify your air.

                Don’t let a lack of light stop you from enjoying all the benefits indoor plants have to offer.