Low Light Plants for Winter at Home


Image Credits: 1- Ferns; 2l- Sansevieria; 2r- Aralia; 3- Aglaonema; 4l- ZZ Plant; 4r- Begonia; 5- Pothos.

Low light conditions are tough for most indoor plants, especially during the short days of winter. Seeking a touch of green to enliven darker spaces around the house, we checked in with plant buyer Karen C. She says, "My favorite low light plants range in color and form, but share some common denominators for care; they shouldn't be placed in direct sunlight, overwatered, or allowed to become too dusty (the first will cause the leaves to burn, and the latter two can encourage rot and insects). Essentially, keep these specimens in low, indirect or artificial light, clean them periodically, and water only when the soil is dry. You'll have long-lasting, happy plants!"

Fern: In general, ferns are a great choice for low light conditions, and they come in many colors and growth habits. One favorite is the ruffle fern, a variety of the Boston fern with crinkly leaves that form a clump of 3-foot fronds. Another great option is the kangaroo paw fern, which sends shiny, deeply serrated fronds up from fuzzy rhizomes that lie above the surface of the soil. Kangaroo paw is perfect for a hanging basket, as it grows to just a foot tall, but spreads to around 2-3 feet wide. In its native Australia, it’s grown as groundcover. The silver ribbon fern is another good choice, with delicately arching fronds of bi-colored green and white leaves cascading up and outwards.

Sansevieria: For those who like a more architectural look, this is a great indoor plant. 'Fernwood' is an interesting miniature variety, featuring upright cylindrical canes that resemble giant grass stalks with white tiger stripes. 'Bantel’s Sensation' is tall and beautiful clumping variety with wide, dark green leaves and dramatic, white markings. 

Aralia: Aralia is a tropical native with an upright growth habit, with some varieties reaching about 3 feet in height. The delicate, dissected leaves look fussy, but this plant is remarkably trouble-free. Aralia is the perfect pick for a kokedama string garden, too. 

Aglaonema: These clumping plants can grow up to 4 feet tall, depending on the variety. Most of them are variegated; the lighter the leaf, the more light it needs to maintain its variegation.

Rex Begonia: Rex Begonias are truly notable more for their amazing foliage than for their flowers. The number of varieties is countless, with extraordinary variations in foliage color and form. Some favorites include a variety that has black leaves resembling satin, and another topped with nearly iridescent, silver foliage. 

Pothos & ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Let’s not forget the two most common low-light plants! These two are great options because they are virtually indestructible. Pothos is a trailing plant that can grow to crazy lengths when cared for correctly, and it comes in countless colors, from gold to chartreuse to silver. Right now, we're loving 'Silver Satin' pothos – it’s a more compact variety, great in a pot or hanging basket, that has dark green leaves with a satiny, gray overlay. Pothos requires more water than the other plants on this list to look good, but bounces back quickly even if dried out. ZZ plant is another architectural option, with upright, arching stems and glossy, dark green leaves arranged in a herringbone pattern. This plant thrives on neglect– put it in a corner and forget about it, it will look great weeks or even months later!

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