Before we start, I just want to say that no plant will "thrive" in low light. Just like us, plants respond best to nice, natural light, and there are just some varieties that won't turn up their toes in a darker corner! You may notice reduced or slow growth, and you also may need to adjust your watering schedule accordingly (ie plants in a darker spot probably won't need as much water as one in a sunny position!)
I've seen so Low Light Plant Lists featuring plenty of plants that do not respond well to low light... peperomias, succulents, figs, to name a few, need very bright, indirect light to be happy (even a little bit of direct sun in the morning will do wonders). So I've been pretty strict on what to include on the list below! So here are the top 10 houseplants that can survive in low light.
The OG houseplant - Devil’s Ivy is the number one plant for any beginner with any kind of conditions including low-light. These indoor plants are really easy to care for as they thrive with little attention and they can propagate easily. You can even grow your Ivy in water - see here for more on water propagation.
Devil's Ivy will trail or climb (depending how you train it) and they are pretty resistant to most pests - just keep an eye out for caterpillars as they can munch through your whole plant in a day!
Lady Palm (Raphis)
These palms are very hardy and only require watering when the soil is dry (usually around once a week). They can be prone to scale if they dry out for too long so just keep a look out on the stems for little white spots. This palm is also slow growing, so if you’re wanting a large plant, it is best to buy the size you are after.
The holy grail of low light plants. Zanzibars or “ZZ Plants” is one of the only plants which can survive with little to no natural light (perfect for offices or pokey bathrooms).
They also only need watering once a fortnight, and once a month in winter (yes, really). These plants are not prone to pests and thrive on neglect, so the best way to care for them is to pretend they are fake.
The most common way way to kill a Zanzibar Gem is to over-water it!
Peace Lilies are happy and will even bloom in low light conditions. They are also great for beginners - they will tell you when they are thirsty, with the leaves drooping when watering is required. They can be a little fussy when temperatures drop under 15 degrees and they aren’t a fan of unfiltered water (same, tbh). They are highly toxic for pets.
This is a very hardy, low light plant that only needs watering once every three to four weeks. Snakeplants are along the same vein as ZZ Plants - not prone to pests and too much love is usually the main culprit for killing these!
They also come in a dwarf variety where the leaves don't grow beyond about 20cm - perfect if space is of concern.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Cast iron plants have a reputation as being pretty indestructible. They can tolerate all kinds of neglect, including a lack of light and water. Like most plants, the more light you give them the more they will grow, but they won’t turn up their toes in a dimly lit position.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Aglaonema or ‘Chinese Evergreen’ are very tolerant of low light and air-conditioning, making them a perfect option for an office. They also come in a variety of colours including emerald greens, whites, reds and pinks.
If you have a variegated variety, it will need brighter, light to produce the best colour. They prefer to be kept on the drier side so make sure you let the soil dry out between watering.
Keep pets away from this plant as it is toxic.
Leopard Lily (Dieffenbachia)
Similar to Aglaonemas, the Dieffenbachia plant is hardy and can tolerate low light. Its growth will slow with limited light so you may notice no new leaves appearing if you have it in a dark corner. They also prefer to have dry soil between waterings.
Many ferns live naturally on the rainforest floor, tucked alongside rocks or tree stumps, so they are accustomed to darker spaces. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata), maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.), bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus), and button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia) are all varieties that can grow in medium to low light. Ferns prefer moist soil so they are perfect for a dark bathroom!
Varieties such as Parlour Palms or Cascade Palms can make a great larger statement piece in a medium-light room.
In their native habitat, these palm thrive along streams and in wet lowlands, so they can tolerate lower light conditions - this also means you need to water frequently!
If you notice your palm not looking it's best, try putting it outside next time it rains. Palms respond very well to a good soak in rainwater!