House plants for low light
When building up your houseplant collection, it’s so important to consider the origin of each plant when you’re selecting a location for them to live. Plants thrive when their conditions match or mirror where they come from. Different levels of natural light, humidity and space throughout your home lend themselves to different types of houseplant. This might sound overly complicated, but it doesn’t have to be - we’re here to help you find the right plant for the right spot.
In our last blog, we took a look at plants that love a warm, humid bathroom spot. This week, we’re answering another of our most asked questions-
To start with let’s talk about plants and light. Light is your plant’s number 1 friend. It is their food. They convert light energy into fuel for their growth. In other words plants need light to grow and to thrive. It’s above water and temperature as a determining factor in your plant’s health.
Trying to recreate the light conditions that a plant would experience in its natural environment can be tricky. As a rule of thumb it helps to assume that in a typical domestic environment light levels are a bit lower than the outdoor world. If you keep this in mind you can choose and position your plants in the best spots to maximise future growth.
Here is our list of plants that tolerate lower light conditions and make great house plants.
#1 ZZ Plant
If you’re a notorious plant killer but still want to add greenery to your space, a ZZ plant is your saviour. The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is a striking tropical foliage plant with waxy leaves, originating in Africa. Due to the dry environment it came from, the ZZ plant is extremely tolerant and forgiving, and one of the hardiest houseplants you can get your hands on.
When it comes to caring for a ZZ plant, the key is to not overdo it. They cope well with darker spots and indirect light but in this situation don’t water too much. Pop your ZZ plant in well-draining soil, and water only when the soil is dry to the touch.
Need to know
One thing to bare in mind is the ZZ plant’s toxicity, so it’s advisable to keep them on a shelf or desk away from pets or children. Don’t let this put you off, though - they’re wonderfully purifying, and can remove lots of toxins from the air around you.
We love them because…
It’s brilliant for beginners, and is a wonderful way to build up your houseplant collection without the pressure of a tricky or demanding care regime.
#2 Snake Plant
Snake plant, or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is a firm favourite of ours and a staple part of any plant collection. They’re visually stunning with their sword-like upright leaves, adding height and texture to any shelf. A distant relative of garden asparagus, the snake plant also has brilliant air purifying qualities.
The perfect spot
Although they prefer a bright spot, Snake plants are very tolerant of darker spaces. They prefer well-draining soil and only need watering once the soil is dry - overwatering is one of the only things that can kill a snake plant especially in darker situations where the rate of growth will be slower. Ensure you’ve put your snake plant in a warm spot - they’re native to tropical West Africa, so would suffer if subjected to cold outdoor temperatures.
Air cleaning excellent
Sansevieria purify the air by absorbing toxins through the leaves and then producing pure oxygen. Most plants release carbon dioxide at night (in the absence of photosynthesis), but the Sansevieria continues to produce oxygen all night, making it the perfect bedroom plant.
We love them because…
The architectural shape and structure sets it apart from the crowd. The yellow edges on the blade-like leaves helps the snake plant to stand out against any backdrop.
#3 Devil’s Ivy
The name may sound a little intimidating and ominous - but Devil’s Ivy is far from scary. In fact, it’s heart-shaped leaves and draping vines have a romantic fairytale quality - and it’s nearly indestructible, which is good news for any budding green fingers. The leaves of the Pothos plant are dappled with greens and yellows, ideal for injecting some aesthetic variety into your collection.
Caring for your Pothos is simple, as it thrives in most conditions. You guessed it - pop it in well-draining soil and don’t get tempted to overwater. The Pothos will grow at a steady rate, but if you want to see more rapid growth, fertilise more frequently and repot it into a more spacious pot to allow the roots more room.
Time for a trim
If your Pothos starts to take over, don’t be afraid to trim and prune it right down - it will grow back again in no time.
We love this because…
The rate of growth is so rewarding, and allows you to see encouragingly fast results. You can help your Pothos to trail by hanging or suspending it, or encourage upward growth with a moss pole to support it.
OTHER PLANTS FOR LOW LIGHT SPOTS
Calathea originate from the jungles of the Amazon where they grow beneath the tree canopy in dappled shade. They are known for their stunning coloured and patterned leaves. Bright sunlight actually fades the unique patterns.
Aspidistra was named as the Cast Iron plant because of its tolerance to low light and cold temperatures. We love it for it’s upright foliage, perfect for adding green anywhere.
Different plants have different lighting requirements and everyone’s space is different. If you think your plant isn’t thriving try moving it to a lighter spot.
Written in collaboration with Mollie Carberry