Small house plants and

Plants that thrive in low light

LIVE greener | 6 MIN READ | 2021-01-18

Are you a plant lover living in a north-facing apartment? Are you struggling during the darker winter months to keep your plants looking spry? Look no further! We’ve pulled together the ultimate list of plants that thrive in low light environments – so your apartment is insta-ready all year long. 

The dark and damp lovers

Small bathroom plants beside toothbrushes and soap

Living in an apartment means there’s a good chance your bathroom doesn’t have windows – so why would you put a plant in there? Contrary to what you may believe, some plants prefer little to no sunlight and will actually perform best in your bathroom. Try bringing a little life and colour to this space with some of these beauties: 

  • Staghorn fern: known for growing best in high humidity environments, the staghorn fern normally grows in trees and requires no soil. Place this plant in some moss and keep the roots damp to keep it looking its best. 
  • Tillandsia (air plant): speaking of plants that don’t require soil, the tillandsia never disappoints. These plants will naturally soak up the moisture in the air while you’re having a shower and require very little attention. Place them in decorative bowls or hang them from the ceiling. 
  • Chinese evergreen: this hearty plant will do well wherever you place it in your home. It loves to soak up moisture but can also still thrive when completely dried out – perfect for the frequent traveler and the not-so-green thumbs out there!
  • Snake plant: the least finicky plant on earth. When placed in bright light this plant will grow very quickly, but in low light it’ll stay approximately the same size. That means there’s no bad spot for the snake plant in your apartment. 

o Tip: these plants will tolerate living in very low light but do appreciate some sun from time to time, if possible. Keep your bathroom door open during the day to let a little bit of natural light flow in to keep your plants in the best shape possible. 

The indirect sunlight shiners

Apartment living room with plants

So now that you’ve sorted the plant you’d like most in your bathroom, it’s time to focus on your living space. Even in an apartment with floor to ceiling windows, if you’re north-facing it’ll be difficult to achieve that full sun that some plants need to thrive. Have no fear, the indirect sunlight team is here: 

  • Calathea: or prayer plant, grow best in medium to low light while still producing beautiful large leaves. Place this plant beside your north-facing window, or slightly away from it so your calathea can still feel the indirect sunlight. 
  • Anthurium: these flowering beauties produce large vibrant flowers in red, white and pink. They do best in low light, and like their soil to be kept moist all year round – so for those who forget to water, this may not be the best plant for you.
  • Lucky bamboo: everyone’s favourite housewarming gift. This plant flourishes in medium to low light and can be grown in just water. This is ideal for those who forget to water, as you can clearly see the water levels in the vessel that houses the bamboo . If a frequent full water change is too much maintenance, transfer your bamboo to soil and keep the soil moist. Bamboo loves water! 
  • Monstera: or the Swiss Cheese plant is truly a showstopper. With its large tropical leaves and distinct slits, this plant thrives in all light levels and requires watering once a week. It’s also known for its air purifying properties – our favourite plant on the list! 

o Tip: are you a plant forgetter? Consider downloading an app like these ones that remind you to water your green babies. You may also consider a glass watering globe for the plants you’re most worried about. 

The low light team 

Plants in kitchen next to coffee machine and wine glasses

These plants are similar to ones that require indirect sunlight, however, they need even less light. Similar to your bathroom, your apartment kitchen may also be low on light. But that doesn’t mean you can’t green it up with some growing friends: 

  • Pothos: this beautiful vine can grow to be very large and absolutely loves low light conditions. In fact, placing this plant too close to a sunny location may cause the leaves to get scorched. Grow your pothos vine in a jar of water for that modern farmhouse aesthetic, or plant it in a terracotta pot and paint it to match your kitchen. Once you’ve decided if your pothos is going to live in soil or in water, be wary that you cannot change it later on, as it will be harmful to the plant. 
  • English ivy: another beautiful vine that will add that perfect touch of the outdoors to your apartment, it requires low light and little watering. Watch it grow and give it necessary haircuts to keep it the size and shape you’d like. 
  • Spider plants: similar to pothos, this plant can be grown in water or in soil and does best in low light. While generally hearty, being placed too close to the sun will cause the long grass-like leaves to brown and wither. This plant gives you a good bang for your buck as it’s often growing new plants which you can clip and replant to have spider plants all over your home (or gift to family and friends)!
  • ZZ plant: the ultimate low light plant. This plant can go days without seeing any light, but prefers a dry environment (no steamy bathrooms for this guy)! The ZZ plant will tolerate quite a bit of neglecting, and is perfect for a traveler or forgetful plant parent. 

Having plants in your apartment can be therapeutic, helps clean the air and offers a very low commitment relationship. Just because you’re living in a smaller space that may be north facing or shaded by outdoor trees, doesn’t mean you can’t provide the perfect environment for the right plants. 

Remember, you’re bringing a living thing into a new and different environment, so don’t get discouraged if you have a couple of casualties along the way. A lot of being a plant parent is trial and error, so if something isn’t working, move it to a new location and be patient. Plus, there are so many handy apps out there that will diagnose an issue with your plant if there is one so give it a try - there’s a plant out there for everyone, we promise!