Low-light indoor plants: the best plants for dark rooms


As a child, I played every day in the garden in front of my house in my home town of Rheinlandpflanz. There, my interest in nature grew, as did my aspirations to become a natural scientist. I now study horticultural phytotechnology and am currently writing my bachelor’s thesis on the topic of crop protection in orchards. Since living Berlin, I have become particularly interested in improving the quality of life in cities with the help of plants.

Favourite fruit: figs, passion fruit, berries, limes and oranges.
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, pickles, lamb’s lettuce and rocket.

Plants require light to photosynthesise, but some can cope with less sunlight than others. Discover some of the best low-light indoor plants ideal for dark rooms.

A few potted plants
Certain houseplants can thrive even in dark rooms [Photo: Pixel-Shot/ Shutterstock.com]

We all have corners of our home that are a little dark, but they need not look drab and gloomy! There are plenty of low-light indoor plants ideal for dark corners that can help brighten things up. Dark rooms all have varying degrees of light, and there are many indoor plants that prefer shady or semi-shaded spots and do not tolerate direct sunlight. Read on to discover some of our top houseplants for dark rooms.

Small houseplants for dark rooms


Our first low-light indoor plant is mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii), a creeping herbaceous perennial originally from Sardinia and Corsica. It can be kept as a ground cover or hung in pots. The threadlike stems can reach up to 50 cm in length and can grow up to 25 cm high in a bush-like manner.

Baby's tears plant in hanging basket
Baby’s tears grow densely and look good in hanging baskets [Photo: Amelia Martin/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: hallway, bedroom, stairwell

  • Light to partial shade
  • Well-ventilated
  • Room temperature and cooler, min. 5 °C in winter, max. 15 °C in summer
  • High-quality potting soil with organic nutrient supply, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition


  • Water regularly and keep moist, but avoid wetting the leaves
  • Apply organic liquid fertiliser every 4 weeks from March to August
  • Repot in spring into wide, shallow pots or hanging baskets with drainage hole

Potential pests & problems:

  • Long shoots due to the location being too dark or too warm
  • Dying tips due to dry soil
  • Old plants that are bare in the centre can be pruned in the spring

Propagation: Divide the plant in spring or take many cuttings and plant them into loose, slightly acidic soil.

Tip: Avoid waterlogging and do not let the plant dry out! You can prune your mind-your-own-business to retain the ball shape if necessary.

2. Golden pothos

Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is an evergreen climber that develops aerial roots and so makes a wonderful hanging or climbing houseplant for dark rooms. It belongs to the arum family known as Araceae and rarely blooms. And as another humidity-loving plant, golden pothos also make lovely hanging plants for darker bathrooms in particular.

Pothos plant in hanging pot
Golden pothos, or devil’s ivy, is native to the Pacific region [Photo: Riyan prastyo/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living room

  • Light to shady, room temperature and warmer, min. 16 °C
  • High humidity
  • Standard potting soil


  • Keep soil moist
  • Repot every 2 to 3 years
  • Easy to prune and propagate

Potential pests & problems:

  • Yellowing leaves normal to some extent
  • Leaves may lose variegation (turn green) and suffer if they do not get enough light

Propagation: In spring, plant several cuttings together or place them in water; these plants root very easily and therefore very easy to propagate.

Spider plants

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) belong to the asparagus family known as Asparagaceae. It is a clumping plant, meaning it grows in a large, compact clump and spreads by forming other clumps nearby. Native to Africa, spider plants are also found in the wild in Australia and the USA and can grow up to 60 cm tall. Aside from being some of the easiest indoor plants for dark rooms, they are also said to purify the air from formaldehyde, xylenes, and toluene. However, this has not yet been confirmed in any reliable studies.

Close-up of spider plant leaves
Spider plants are notoriously easy to propagate [Photo: Danny Hummel/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: anywhere

  • Light to partial shade
  • Moderately warm all year round, tolerates temperature changes (12 to 22 °C)
  • Humus-rich, nutrient-rich, slightly acidic soil, ideally pre-fertilised and peat-free, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost


  • Tolerates short dry periods, avoid waterlogging and water sparingly in winter
  • Fertilise every 8 to 14 days from spring to autumn
  • Repot when roots start showing at the top of the soil

Potential pests & problems:

  • Brown leaf tips due to dry soil or air
  • Limp or bent leaves due to excessive heat or lack of light

Propagation: Separate and plant overgrown offshoots or allow to root in water.

Tip: Spider plants are tough plants that tolerate a fair bit of neglect and are said to help purify the air.


The leaves of this bushy semi-shrub can grow quite large (up to 30 cm). Aglaonema leaves sometimes have grey-green or silvery variegation. Aglaonema (Aglaonema commutatum) rarely flower, so the red berries that develop from the flowers are a rare sight.

Close-up of pink and green aglaonema leaves
The colourfully variegated aglaonema is native to the Philippines and Sulawesi [Photo: SimplyAdrienne/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: bedroom, kitchen, bathroom

  • Light to partial shade, no direct sunlight
  • Room temperature or warmer, min. 18 °C
  • Warm soil
  • High humidity
  • Aglaonema are shallow rooting plants so require wide, shallow planters
  • You can grow aglaonema hydroponically or in humus-rich, loose and well-structured soil, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost which contains expanded clay a for long-lasting loose structure


  • Keep soil evenly moist, avoid waterlogging
  • Mist with luke-warm water low in lime
  • Fertilise once a week in summer, water sparingly in winter and fertilise only every 2 to 3 weeks
  • Repot in spring if necessary

Potential pests & problems:

  • Brown spots on leaves or curling of leaf edges due to excessive sun exposure
  • Withered leaves due to over watering or under watering
  • Rare infestation of thrips, aphids, and spider mites

Propagation: By division or cuttings, ideally in spring while repotting

ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas, also known as the ZZ plants, are ideal indoor plants for dark rooms. They are low-maintenance low-light indoor plants and require only a moderate amount of nutrients. This houseplant arrived here about 20 years ago from the forests of East Africa. ZZ plants almost never flower.

ZZ plant in pot
Zamioculcas zamiifolia, commonly known as ZZ plants, are able to drop their leaves in order to save water [Photo: Violettaviovi/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: hallway, living room

  • Partial to full shade
  • Temperature between 17 °C and 22 °C, min. 16 °C even in winter
  • Tolerates dry air and can be placed near a radiator
  • ZZ plants like potting soil for palm trees or a mixture of houseplant potting soil and expanded clay. Our Plantura Organic Flower Compost already contains expanded clay and is therefore light and loose, helping to ensure strong and healthy roots. That said, you can mix in 20% expanded clay balls for good measure.
  • Create a drainage layer in the bottom of the pot


  • Can survive a 4-week dry period; water sparingly and avoid waterlogging
  • Fertilise moderately from April to September, for instance with our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food, using slightly less than indicated on the label. Our fertiliser contains high levels of potassium and less nitrogen, helping to keep houseplants happy and healthy, especially in darker corners of the room
  • No pruning necessary
Liquid Houseplant Food, 800ml
Liquid Houseplant Food, 800ml
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  • Perfect for a wide variety of houseplants & foliage plants
  • Liquid fertiliser for robust plants & healthy growth
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

Potential pests & problems: Yellowing of lower leaves or root rot due to excess water

Propagation: Division or leaf cuttings

Cast-iron plants

The cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a member of the asparagus family (Asparagaceae) that originates from East Asia. Aside from being another popular plant that likes dark rooms, it also requires little water, tolerates different temperatures well and, unlike many other houseplants, does not require high humidity.

Close-up of aspidistra leaves
Cast-iron plants with white variegation prefer a slightly warmer location [Photo: mizy/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: hallway, bedroom, living room

  • Light to shaded, no direct sunlight
  • 10 to 20 °C
  • No high humidity
  • All-purpose potting soil with 30% sand added
  • Create drainage layer at bottom of pot


  • Water infrequently but generously, allow surface to dry in between watering and avoid waterlogging
  • Repot every 3 to 4 years in spring
  • Low nutrient requirements, fertilise once a month during growing season

Potential pests & problems:

  • May be prone to pets such as scale insects, spider mites and thrips if air is dry
  • Yellow leaves due to waterlogging
  • Sunburn from direct sunlight

Propagation: Divide the root ball in the spring and pot up individually

Tip: Varieties with white variegation always need a little more warmth than their non-variegated counterparts.

Low light trees, shrubs, and palms for dark rooms

There are various palms, trees and shrubs that are suitable indoor plants for dark rooms. Here are our top shrubs, palms and indoor trees that like low light conditions.


Prayer plants (Calathea spec.) belong to the arrowroot family known as Marantaceae. They are a little fussy and do not like direct sunlight, so are good if you are looking for an indoor plant that likes shade. These low-light indoor plants are easily confused with the genus Maranta, as both move their leaves throughout the day depending on the light. Calathea are beautiful, bushy indoor plants for darker rooms and grow up to 50 cm tall. As they love high humidity, they would even be ideal plants for darker bathrooms.

Calathea zebrina in pot
Calatheas do well in low light conditions [Photo: Omkoi/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: bathroom, kitchen, bedroom

  • Light to partial shade, no direct sunlight
  • If possible 20 to 24 °C during the growing season, min. 18 °C year-round; avoid cold soil at all costs
  • High humidity
  • Loose potting soil, for instance our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost. Our peat-free soil is environmentally friendly and contains organic fertiliser that releases nutrients to the plant gradually, so is perfect for calatheas
  • Create a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot


  • Keep soil evenly moist
  • Regularly mist leaves with lukewarm water that is low in lime to keep humidity levels high
  • Fertilise every 3 to 4 weeks from April to October

Potential pests & problems: Spider mites in dry air

Propagation: Divide in spring

Kentia palms

Kentia palms (Howea) are upright growing palms with simple pinnate, overhanging leaves. They originally come from an island east of Australia and are one of the larger and quite popular examples of a low-light indoor plant. Just like calatheas, kentia palms love high humidity, so would also be great if you are on the hunt for plants for dark bathrooms.

Kentia palm leaves
Kentia palms are ideal for beginners [Photo: glebchik/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: anywhere

  • Light to shaded, no direct sunlight
  • Keep young plants at above 18 °C, older ones can tolerate cooler temperatures
  • Well-ventilated
  • High humidity
  • Possible to keep outdoors in summer
  • Can be grown hydroponically, or in well-drained, slightly acidic soil; mix 1:1 all-purpose soil with sand
  • Create drainage at the bottom of the pot


  • Water once a week once soil has dried out, water less frequently in winter, but do not let it dry out completely
  • Small amount of fertiliser weekly between April and September
  • Repotting required at most every 4 years
  • Mist regularly with water low in lime, especially in drier rooms

Potential pests & problems: Scale insects, spider mites, mealybugs, thrips, red spider mites when the air is too dry

Propagation: Seeds, though this is difficult

Tip: Although the Kentia palm prefers high humidity, it will also tolerate somewhat dryer air

Umbrella plant

Umbrella plants (Schefflera arboricola), also sometimes known as schefflera, are native to Taiwan. These plants are tall and sparsely branched. You can buy monochrome (green) species and some with yellow variegation.

Close-up of umbrella plant leaves
Schefflera species can grow up to 30 cm per year [Photo: D_Ravie/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: bathroom, bedroom

  • Bright to semi-shade, east or west facing windows, a few hours of direct light are enough for umbrella trees
  • Well-ventilated, without draughts
  • Min. 12 °C, ideally cooler temperatures at night than during the day
  • Higher humidity
  • Humus-rich and permeable soil, such as our well-structured, peat-free Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost. This soil is peat-free, so retains water well and lasts for a long time


  • Keep soil moderately moist, avoid water logging at all costs, use room temperature water low in lime and mist frequently
  • Fertilise weekly from March to October, every 4 weeks in winter
  • Repot young plants annually, older plants every 2 to 3 years

Potential pests & problems:

  • Spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects and aphids due to dry air and/or high temperatures
  • Drops its leaves if kept somewhere too cold

Propagation: Air layering or growing from seed

Tip: Even in winter, umbrella trees need a few hours of sunlight, so place in as bright a location as possible.

Japanese aralia shrubs

The Japanese aralia shrub (Fatsia japonica) grows quickly and can reach an impressive 1.5 m in height within three years.

Close-up of leaves of paperplant
Dark and cool rooms are suitable places for paperplants [Photo: Amelia Martin/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: hallway, kitchen, staircase

  • Light to shady, avoid full sunlight
  • Well-ventilated, but draught-free
  • Moderately warm, preferably a little cooler, keep somewhere cooler in winter (between 6 to 10 °C)
  • Higher humidity
  • Humus-rich, nutrient-rich soil


  • Keep soil moderately moist, requires lots of water in summer
  • Fertilise frequently, for instance with our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food. This fertiliser is enriched with microorganisms which help protect the plant from root diseases that may occur especially with waterlogged soil
  • Repot every 2 years into a larger container, old plants less frequently

Potential pests & problems:

  • Spider mites, scale insects and thrips in dry air and higher temperatures
  • Fungal infection of the roots due to waterlogging
  • Drooping leaves when the air is too warm or too dry

Propagation: Cuttings, air layering, or by growing from seed

Tip: Pruning young plants encourages them to branch and grow bushier.

Low light succulents and cacti for dark rooms

Cacti and succulents are well-adapted to droughts and, wherever it is dry, there is usually a lot of sunlight. So, there are not as many low light succulents and cacti that tolerate shady conditions. They usually need to get at least a few hours of light a day. However, some species do not need to be exposed to light permanently and are shade tolerant, so are suitable low-light indoor plants to an extent.

Bear’s paw

The thick, succulent leaves of bear’s paw (Cotyledon tomentosa) are hairy and have brown, serrated tips. It grows up to 50 cm high and blooms orange-red to yellow.

Leaves of the bear's paw succulent
While bear’s paw succulents tolerate less light, they prefer a sunny location [Photo: HarmonyAzul/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: hallway, living room

  • Sunny to partial shade
  • Temperatures above 15 °C
  • Well-drained soil, ideally a low-nutrient, loose seedling soil such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seeding Compost, for instance
  • Drought-resistant, water sparingly (can deal with too little water better than too much)


  • Low water requirement, allow soil to dry out well before next watering
  • Fertilise once a month from March to August
  • Overwinter at about 15 °C in as bright a spot as possible

Potential pests & problems: Prone to mealybugs, especially in winter

Propagation: Leaf cuttings

Snake plant

The low-maintenance snake plant (Sansevieria) belongs to the asparagus family known as Asparagaceae. It usually grows in larger clumps. The leaves are quite long and sword-shaped with yellow or silvery-white patterns. Snake plants are notoriously easy-care plants and are not fussy at all, which is why they are a great option if you are looking for a low-light indoor plant.

Snake plant outdoors
The leaves of some species of snake plant are used in the textile industry to produce fibres [Photo: Marina Kaiser/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: bedroom, living room, hallway

  • Ideally sunny to partial shade, but very robust and tolerates different conditions
  • Temperature in the sun ideally between 21 and 24 °C, but also tolerates warmer conditions, min. 15 °C in winter
  • Avoid draughts
  • Mix potting soil for houseplants with sand at a ratio of 1:1 or use cactus and succulent soil
  • Create drainage layer at the bottom of the pot


  • Better too dry than too wet
  • Fertilise sparingly in summer

Potential pests & problems: Rot due to waterlogging

Propagation: Through division or leaf cuttings, find detailed information in our article on propagating snake plants.

Tip: Snake plants use the so-called CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) process of photosynthesis. This means they release oxygen through their stomata, especially during the cool twilight and night-time, and close them during the day when it is warm.

Zebra cactus

The Haworthia genus is closely related to aloe plants. This plant has thick leaves that are often striped, hence the name zebra cactus.

Close-up of haworthia
The zebra haworthia is a good example of one of the many adaptable low light indoor plants [Photo: TaOuu/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: living room, kitchen, hallway

  • Light to partial shade
  • Low-nutrient and permeable substrate, for instance seedling soil mixed with pumice, lava rock and quartz sand in a ratio of 3:2:1
  • Create drainage layer at bottom of pot
  • Use a wide, shallow pot
  • Tolerates dry air


  • Water sparingly from below, avoid waterlogging, let soil dry out, do not water from July to August as plant is dormant
  • Fertilise every 2 to 3 months, except for in winter
  • Repotting only necessary when plant outgrows pot
  • Overwinter at 5 to 15 °C

Potential pests & problems

  • Root and leaf rot due to waterlogging or water in rosettes
  • Occasionally mealybugs and scale insects

Propagation: Separate rooted offshoots or leave unrooted offshoots to dry for around three days and then allow to root in soil, propagation by seed also possible

Tip: The warmer it is, the brighter the location of the zebra cactus should be.


Native to tropical South America, the genus Peperomia has thick-fleshed leaves and varies greatly within the Peperomia species. They either grow in trees or creep across the ground. Peperomia caperata forms long flower heads. Peperomia obtusifolia is another well-known variety with yellow-green leaves, some of which are slightly red. As Peperomia plants do not like direct sunlight, they are another easy-care option for those looking for plants for low-light conditions.

Peperomia in pot
Among the hundred or so species of Peperomia, only a few are available on the market [Photo: ArtCreationsDesignPhoto/ Shutterstock.com]

Location: bedroom, kitchen, bathroom

  • Light to semi-shade, no direct sunlight
  • Room temperature or warmer, min. 18 °C even in winter
  • Higher humidity
  • Humus-rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil
  • Create drainage layer at bottom of pot


  • Always keep soil moderately moist
  • In summer, fertilise a little and increase humidity by misting plant, or place bowl or saucer with water nearby
  • Repot if necessary

Potential pests & problems: Spider mites in dry air, increased humidity combined with low temperatures can cause roots, leaves, and shoots to rot

Propagation: Stem or leaf cuttings in spring

Interested in undemanding greenery? Check out our article to discover some very low-maintenance plants.

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