How to Grow Houseplants in Low Light Conditions

This pothos has survived windowless offices and dark corners without complaint.

“I live in a basement apartment and only have two windows. What are your recommendations for growing houseplants in low light conditions?” -Amy

For low light conditions, a general guideline is to choose plants with darker foliage. The dark green color means that the plants are very efficient at photosynthesis and can get by on less sunlight.

Here are some plants that are particularly well-suited to low light conditions:

  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonemia)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
  • Pothos (Raphidophora aurea)
  • Snake Plant (Sanseveria trifasciata)

Some gardeners make the mistake of thinking that extra fertilizer can make up for the lack of sunlight, and they end up feeding and watering their low-light houseplants to death. Truth is, plants in low light use less water, and fewer nutrients, than plants in a brighter setting, so they’ll actually be happier if you treat them with a mild level of neglect.

Allow the plants to dry out somewhat between waterings, and feed them only about once a month during the growing season. Don’t let them get soggy, moldy, or too dusty, and don’t expect them to grow very rapidly – low-light plants are experts at conservation.


Further Information


  1. Excellent advice. The key is to choose a houseplant that will grow in low light conditions. Then recognize that they will not need as much water as a plant would in brighter light, so only give them what they need.

  2. We have a brick front porch that is covered by a ceiling under the roof gable. We have two 15′ x 3′ plant/flower beds on either side of the brick entrance to our house. The front halves of each bed received ample sun during the day – left in the morning; right during the afternoon. The back halves of each bed receive no sun at all.
    What kind of lighting can we install that will provide lighting for the areas that do not receive any sun at all? What is the best kind of light bulbs for this purpose? Advise and thanks

    • Hi, Arnold,
      The article offers these tips to care for plants in low-light conditions:
      • Use less water and fewer nutrients
      • Allow the plants to dry out somewhat between waterings
      • Feed them about once a month during the growing season
      • Don’t let them get soggy, moldy or too dusty
      • Don’t expect them to grow rapidly
      We hope this helps! 🙂


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