If you garden, chances are that you have wondered whether you can grow plants in your home even with poor lighting. I’ve been in the same position before, and I was frustrated by the lack of resources that were available to help me make my decision.
Don’t worry- you won’t have to go through the same struggle! I’ve compiled a list of the 14 best indoor shade plants that require minimal lighting and maintenance.
But, before we begin, you need to determine what type of light you have in your home. Here’s some info to help you:
- If a room has lots of windows and is facing south, it has “high light”.
- Rooms that face east or west have “medium light”.
- Finally, rooms that face north, or that simply do not have any windows have “low light”.
If you do decide that you want to raise your indoor shade plants in a room that lacks windows, you have two choices: you can either leave the lights in the room on for 12 hours a day, or you can do a rotation where the plants spend several weeks in the room without windows, and are then moved back to a room with natural light.
Now, let’s move onto the good stuff:
1. Lucky Bamboo
Not only is this bamboo decorative, but it’s also ideal for homes with little light. Keeping it alive and healthy is simple, as you really only need shade, relatively low temperatures, and fluoride free water. Avoiding direct sunlight is a must, as it can harm the leaves and make them yellow. If you do get your hands on this indoor shade plant, keep it in a dimly lit corner and give it the occasional indirect sunlight. Water it frequently with normal tap water.
If the leaves do start to yellow or brown, it means that it’s had too much sunlight, fluoride, or the roots are overgrowing. And, if you want to have a little extra fun, play with the direction that the light is hitting the plant’s stem from, as this can cause it to change shapes.
Learn More: Lucky Bamboo Care Guide
2. Crotons and Pothos
Crotons, not to be confused with croutons, can be found at most plant or flower shops. These plants are known for having beautifully colored leaves and flowers that require little sunlight to blossom and bloom. Almost as soon as you purchase one and get it settled, you’ll notice that it will start to shed its multicolored leaves. Don’t fret, though, as new leaves will start to replace the old ones in just a few days.
Pothos, which are actually very similar to crotons, are also great for indoor areas with little light The main difference between these two plants is that pothos have huge evergreen leaves that have yellow stripes running down them. But, just like crotons, they will continue to bloom and thrive when kept in your home.
Learn More: Croton Care Guide
3. Kalanchoe Plants
Once you see a kalanchoe, you’ll realize how hard it is not to love their bright colors and interestingly shaped leaves. Plus, if you are like me and love variety, this plant is a great choice, as they come in red, pink, yellow, and white.
Kalanchoes are the definition of low maintenance, and they require very little sunlight and water. If you want to put in a little extra elbow grease and allow for them grow quicker, feel free to mix some fertilizer into the soil and cut off the flowers once they’re done blooming.
4. White Orchids
White orchids are by far one of the best indoor shade plants around. But, when purchasing these beauties, it’s important you keep in mind that you need a fresh stem that has at least 12-14 buds on it. Also, make sure that the leaves look healthy, are shiny, and don’t have any blemishes. Once you put it in a fairly wide pot and mix some mulch into the soil, you’ll be good to go.
Another reason why I’m such a huge fan of the white orchid is that it flourishes in light but is also considered a shade house plant. If you keep it in a dimly lit room, you’ll notice that the leaves will turn dark green, but when it’s in direct sunlight, they’ll become a light green. If you’re not digging the shade of green, you can always experiment with the lights to get your ideal color.
5. Areca Palm
I’ll be honest, a full size areca palm is surprisingly expensive. So, if you’re ballin’ on a budget, getting a table top version may be your best bet. Keep in mind that they grow 6-7 inches per year, and their mature height is 6-7 feet, if not more. If you don’t have the space for them to spread out, you may want to consider another plant.
On the bright side though, you can trim them without potentially harming them, and they live for up to 10 years. Looking for a long-term companion? This plant will make the cut.In order to make this shade house plant as healthy as possible, you have to make sure to get the light right. Place them near a south or west facing window, and make sure the light is bright but indirect. Direct light makes their leaves turn yellow, and no one wants that.
6. Spider Plants
You may not like spiders, but I guarantee you’ll love this plant. The spider plant is known for being one of the easiest full-shade indoor plants to maintain, and it can put up with a lot of climates and conditions. It got its name from its little spiderettes, which hang from the main part of the plant and look similar to spiders on their webs.
More often than not, these spiderettes initially start off as being small, white flowers.If you don’t have a particular green thumb, or you’re just looking for something that’s low maintenance, this indoor shade plant is perfect for you. They’re tough and I promise you won’t kill it (or doing so will at least be difficult).
Give them nice soil and water, and you’re in business. The one thing you should be keeping in mind is that if you overwater them, the roots will rot. To avoid this, just let them dry out before you water them again. It’s as simple as that.
Learn More: Spider Plant Care Guide
7. Peace Lily
Peace lilies are a fan favorite, and you’ll see them in offices and homes all the time. This plant is known for having white flowers and dark green leaves. They’re really easy to care for, and that’s one of the reasons why they’ve become such a popular full-shade indoor plant. But, just because they’re easy to care for doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay close attention to their environment.
Not surprisingly, peace lilies do best in low or medium light. Are you starting to see a pattern throughout this list? The amount of light that you give your peace lily is entirely dependent on how you want it to look. When they’re given more light, they will bloom frequently and appear “flowery”. In lower light, however, they look more like a traditional foliage plant. It’s up to you to decide which vibe you would like to go for.
Learn More: Peace Lily Care Guide
Philodendrons are one of the most laid back plants around. They love being indoors, but they also don’t mind the occasionally sunbathing. These indoor shade plants don’t yellow easily, and they’re not as sensitive to changes in climate as some of the others on this list are.
With philodendrons, it’s all about keeping the perfect balance. If the plant starts to wilt at all, change the amount of light it’s receiving, and you should be good to go.
9. Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese evergreen is incredibly popular, as there are so many variations of this plant. Each of them has a different, intricate pattern on its leaves, and they’re known for being quite beautiful.
They very rarely grow past 1’, and they’re perfect for people who want something small and manageable for the home or office. Make sure to keep a close eye on it during the summer months, as it will sprout lovely green
10. Snake Plant
Snake plants are an incredibly unique type of indoor shade plant, as they are known for improving indoor air quality. They also have really cool sword shaped leaves that I guarantee you’ll love. They’re incredibly easy to take care of, for the most part, but make sure to keep them away from excessive moisture. I learned this lesson firsthand, and it was not a fun one.
Learn More: Snake Plant Care Guide
11. Dumb Cane
Don’t let this plant’s name deceive you- it’s actually really cool. If you’re looking for something that will grow to be a bit larger than the average house plant, definitely get a dumb cane, as they usually are 5 to 6 feet tall. But, if you have pets or small children, be wary! Dumb canes are toxic when consumed, and can make you very sick.
Learn More: Dumb Cane Care Guide
12. Prayer Plant
I’ll be honest- I’ve severely neglected my prayer plant in the past. Yet, despite all of this abuse, it’s still plugging along. They generally range anywhere from 12 to 18 inches, and they have beautiful leaves that are about 5 inches long.
But, the coolest part is that the leaves roll up at night, making the plant look as if it is praying. I’ve found that mine is a late riser and generally doesn’t unroll its leaves until mid morning. Neat, right?
Learn More: Prayer Plant Care Guide
13. Wandering Jew
If you’re looking for an indoor shade plant that is aesthetically pleasing, the wandering Jew is the one for you. It has beautiful leaves that are silver, purple, and green, making it perfect for indoor gardens. People tend to hang them in baskets, as the leaves flow over the sides and look quite lovely. They’re also the perfect size, as they range anywhere from 1 to 3 feet.
Learn More: Wandering Jew Care Guide
14. Peacock Plant
There was one day where I stopped by Home Depot to grab a few things, and I ended up walking out with a gorgeous peacock plant. For some reason, mine has stayed pretty tiny, but I’ve heard of them growing up to four feet tall. My favorite thing about it is that it constantly has beautiful white flowers, even though it’s an indoor shade plant.
Before you run out and buy this entire list, here are some final words of wisdom:
- Indoor shade plants generally don’t need to be watered as much as normal plants, so don’t over-water them.
- Make sure to keep the temperature around 70 degrees. Just because a plant thrives in shade does not mean it likes being cold.
- Try to fertilize them every two weeks.
There you have it- the best indoor shade plants. I hope you found this list useful, and make sure to let me know which indoor shade plant you wind up liking best.
Many of these are some of my all-time favorite plants, and I honestly wish that I had known about them earlier.
Tell me what you thought of the list in the comments, and feel free to mention any plants I might have left out!
I’m the founder of Epic Gardening, a website dedicated to teaching 10,000,000 people how to grow plants. I enjoy skateboarding, piano, guitar, business, and experimenting with all kinds of gardening techniques!