5 Houseplants That Don’t Need Much Light (With Pictures)

Plants need light for photosynthesis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them indoors if your house does not receive enough sunlight.

There’s a selection of indoor plants you can care for even in lowly-lit areas of your house. I’ve explained what low light conditions are and suggested 5 plants that don’t need much light below.

What are low-light plants?

Low light plants are plants that can thrive and tolerate light at low intensities, usually about 25-100 foot candles (FC). However, other aspects, such as the duration of the light and its quality, can also determine how low the natural light is in your home.

North-facing windows are considered to have low lighting conditions, but placing plants farther away from the window decreases the intensity of light they’re exposed to. That’s why you need indoor trees and plants that can tolerate low light intensity.

Some plants you can place in low light north-facing windows include the ZZ plant, Resurrection plant, Snake plant, and Cast iron plant.

These plants are very easy to grow, as many require little maintenance. If you are still not convinced, you need to consider the kind of lighting that is available in your house.

  • For instance, a room facing southwards with many windows will normally have lots of light.
  • Rooms facing the north or those that don’t have a window are deemed to have very little light.
  • For a room that does not have any windows, it is recommended that lights be left on for at least twelve hours each day.

Alternatively, consider rotating your plants every few weeks to ensure that you move them from the low-light room into a well-lit room after every few days. This will encourage balanced growth.

Houseplants that Tolerate Low Light

While some houseplants can thrive and grow in dim conditions, others require a bit more light but can tolerate limited light. However, they may not be able to grow at their optimum.

Here are houseplants that can tolerate shade and low light situations:

1. Areca palm

Areca palm growing in a container near a window.

If you have a south- or west-facing window, you’ll be able to grow an Areca palm as a large indoor tree that won’t need much sunlight to thrive and enjoy its air-cleaning capabilities.

With a simple watering schedule (every 2-3 days), this tree will thrive indoors, especially when placed near a window.

Name(s)Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, Dypsis lutescens, golden cane palm, yellow palm, butterfly palm.
Light requirementsBright indirect sunlight (place near an east, west, or south facing window). Blinds can help block direct sunlight.
Water requirementsWater once every 3 days. Keep the soil slightly moist.
Maximum height6 to 7 feet tall when growing indoors.
Indoor benefitAir cleaning and removing pollutants.

Pro tip: If you provide too much direct sunlight, the leaves of this palm tree will easily start discoloring – usually turning yellow. Also, provide just enough water as too much will suffocate the roots and cause root rot.

As is the case with many trees native to the tropics, you need to ensure that the palm tree receives moderate temperatures and good air circulation and is placed in a humid environment.

2. Citrus

Lemon tree can survive low light

Citrus trees are great fruit trees that you can grow indoors for the benefit of the fruit and beautification. The scent of a lemon or orange tree that is in full bloom is great, so growing these trees in low-light conditions is a great idea.

Citrus trees need a lot of water, citrus fertilizer, and humidity. If thinking about having a citrus tree in your house, you should consider purchasing a humidity tray. Take the tray outside whenever possible to ensure that the tree is getting everything it needs to continue growing.

3. Fiddle leaf fig

You can place fiddle leaf figs in bathrooms or bedrooms with fairly medium to low sunlight. While it is not ideal, the tree will survive indoors in such conditions, provided other requirements are met, especially watering.

Fiddle leaf fig

4. Parlor palm tree

Name(s)Chamaedorea elegans, neanthe bella palm, parlor palm tree.
Light requirementsLow light, mostly indirect sunlight.
Water requirementsWater sparingly, 1-2 times a week. Water less in winter. Always allow soil to dry before watering again.
Maximum heightAbout 4 feet tall. Desktop parlor trees are shorter (1ft).
Indoor benefitAir purification plant for removing pollutants.
Parlor palm does not need much light

A parlor palm is a slow-growing tree that’s native to Mexico and can grow up to four feet tall. With small spaces indoors, it is a good option to grow where it can receive some indirect sunlight.

Apart from being one of the best trees that don’t need much light, parlor palms are easy to grow and maintain indoors because they will easily adjust to shaded conditions and thrive well with minimal attention. As the sun moves away from the windowsill, this tree will still thrive just fine.

Parlor palm trees grow up to 4 feet tall with bamboo-like stems that stand out to make great decorations for your indoor space. 4 feet is fairly tall, so parlor palms will be a great choice if you want large indoor trees that can tolerate low light.

Water this tree when you feel its soil has become dry to your touch. Do not overwater palm trees because they are highly prone to root rot disease. I recommend you mist it a little during summer and winter.

5. Banana tree

Dwarf banana tree

Banana trees can grow too tall and large for an indoor set-up, but the dwarf varieties are the best for indoor potting and can act as great indoor low-light trees. Plenty of sunlight is ideal, but when placed near a window, the low light is enough to keep an indoor banana tree thriving just fine.

Name(s)Dwarf banana tree
Light requirements4-6 hours of full sunlight per day. Supplement with a grow light.
Water requirementsKeep the soil moist but not wet. Allow soil to dry before watering again.
Maximum height5 to 9 feet for indoor dwarf banana trees
Indoor benefitRemoves toxins (formaldehyde) in indoor air.

You want to place this tree near a south-facing window if you want to be successful at growing it indoors for clean air because the banana tree may need a little more light (4-6 hours of full sunlight) per day.

For the taller varieties, prune some of the large lower leaves to reduce the amount of space consumed indoors.

Banana trees need regular fertilizing and filtered light to enable them to reach their potential. If you notice that its leaves have started to turn brown or are curling, check whether they have any mites.

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