Raise your hand if all of your plants are currently squished into the one spot in your house with bright light… 🖐️ We understand the feeling! But thankfully, there are some plants that can tolerate the low light spaces in your home.

A low light area technically has between 50 and 250 foot-candles of light; a foot-candle is a unit of light intensity defined by one lumen per square foot. The direction your windows face makes a difference in quality of light. Place a low-light plant within:

  • 2–3 feet of a window with northern exposure
  • 3–5 feet of a window with eastern exposure
  • 4–10 feet of a window with western exposure
  • 10–18 feet of a window with southern exposure


Keep in mind that a plant growing in low light requires less water and fertilizer than the same plant in brighter conditions. Unfortunately, variegation or color in a plant’s leaves is often lost or muted in low light, and a plant that is tolerant of low light may grow faster in brighter, indirect light.

Houseplants Tolerant of Low Light

  • Arrowhead PlantSyngonium podophyllum
  • Bamboo PalmChamaedorea seifrizii
  • Cast Iron PlantAspidistra elatior
  • Chinese Evergreen Aglaonema
  • DumbcaneDiffenbachia (does best with medium or indirect bright light)
  • Dracaena Janet CraigDracaena deremensis janet craig
  • Heartleaf PhilodendronPhilodendron scandens oxycardium
  • Kentia PalmHowea forsteriana
  • Lady PalmRhapis excelsa
  • Nerve PlantFittonia albivensis
  • Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum (may not bloom heavily in low light)
  • Pothos or Devil’s IvyEpipremnum aureum (may grow long and spindly; pinch back occasionally for fuller appearance)
  • Prayer PlantMaranta leuconeura
  • Rattlesnake PlantCalathea lancifolia
  • Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)Sansevieria trifasciata; recently reclassified as Dracaena trifasciata; certain cultivars prefer brighter light (new leaves grown at extreme low-light levels may be long and thin)
  • Spider PlantChlorophytum comosum
  • ZZ PlantZamioculcas zamiifolia

Although we consider most outdoor ferns to be shade tolerant, many indoor ferns prefer indirect, bright light to low light, but will not tolerate prolonged direct sun. Staghorn Ferns and Asparagus Ferns are especially low-light tolerant.

    Do I Have Any Other Options?

    Supplement indoor natural light with full-spectrum light bulbs. We carry a decorative pendant-style LED grow light or a simple wide angle LED bulb that can be installed into existing fixtures.

    Give plants a 90-degree angle turn each month to promote balanced growth by exposing different sides to the window.

    In darker rooms, consider purchasing two of the same plant and switching the plants out on a 2 to 4-week basis; keep one plant in more ideal conditions while the other is in the darker space, then switch them before the “dark” plant shows signs of decline.

    The best way to decide which low light solution works best for you is to experiment! Play around with the different options to find out what’s fitting for your plants and current light conditions. Happy Planting!

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