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Top 10 Shade-Tolerant Houseplants

Houseplants are great at bringing our homes to life, but the darker corners can be more difficult to brighten up. There are, however, some plants that will thrive in lower light and suffer in full sun. Some houseplants originate from jungle environments where they would naturally be shaded by trees, meaning they’re happier in indirect light or shade. We’ve put together a list of our top ten shade-tolerant houseplants that will grow in low light.

1. Bird’s nest fern – Asplenium nidus

Ferns are notorious for their ability to grow in the shade. Bird’s nest ferns are no different – while they grow their best in indirect light, they will also do well in lower light. Keep in mind that growing this plant in a shady spot will mean it won’t need as much water.

2. Calathea medallion

This plant has beautiful, patterned leaves which prefer indirect light or low-light situations. Direct sun can burn the leaves or cause their gorgeous colours to fade.

3. Swiss cheese plant – Monstera deliciosa

In their natural habitat, these plants climb trees or crawl across the ground, being shaded by taller plants and trees. Because of this, they enjoy indirect and lower light conditions. The fenestrations (holes) in their leaves allow light to filter through to the bottom leaves so that even with some shade, all the leaves are getting light.

4. Golden pothos – Epipremnum aureum

Golden pothos is a versatile, low-maintenance plant that will do well in most conditions. You’ll see the most growth in medium or bright indirect light, but they will still grow in lower light. The leaves can burn in direct sunlight so they’d much prefer a shady spot, as long as they’re not completely in the dark!

5. ZZ plant – Zamioculcas zamiifolia

ZZ plants are one of the most tolerant to very low light. Their ability to grow in a shady spot is unmatched. Just like most shade-tolerant plants, growth will be quicker with a bit more light, but a darker corner won’t hurt it at all.

6. Heartleaf philodendron – Philodendron scandens

These beautiful, trailing leaves can be burned by too much sun, so should be grown in indirect or low-light conditions. The heartleaf philodendron is a beloved, low-maintenance plant.

7. Kentia palm – Howea forsteriana

If you’re looking for a shade-tolerant plant to fill up a big corner, the Kentia palm is perfect. The elegant foliage prefers indirect light or shade and can grow several meters tall under the right conditions. A shadier spot will, however, limit this growth, so don’t worry about it taking over the house!

8. Dragon tree – Dracaena marginata

The dragon tree is a classic no-fuss plant which will do well under most conditions except for direct sunlight. It’s the perfect shade-tolerant plant for shady rooms with a bit more space to fill and a great office plant.

9. Red Chinese evergreen – Aglaonema siam aurora

This colourful plant is the perfect way to brighten up a corner of your house that doesn’t get too much sun. The leaves have interesting, pink variegations, which means every new leaf could have different splashes and patterns of colour.

10. Hardy elephant’s ear – Alocasia wentii

This is a striking plant that handles lower light situations well. Alocasias have interesting growth patterns which can end up giving you large, beautiful leaves. With the right care, this can be a statement plant in a shadier spot in your house.

Updated on December 19, 2023

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