Question: What are some houseplants that don’t need much light?
Answer: Most houseplants do best in a brightly lit position. Many also enjoy some direct sun. However, a darker room—such as one with few windows or a northern exposure, can also house potted plants. Here are some options for low-light areas. If you can stand by and read a newspaper without turning on a lamp, that’s enough light for them.
Clockwise from top left:
Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-vernis). Delicate looking but fairly easy to please, as long as its soil is kept evenly moist. Dry soil causes the leaves to crisp. It also likes humid air, but will accept drier air if the temperature is on the cool side (below 70˚F). Tolerates temps as low as 50˚F.
Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior). Not the most interesting plant, but one that will survive low light and general neglect. Likes regular watering, but gets by on less. Dust the leaves occasionally. ‘Variegata’ has green-and-cream striped leaves; it needs more light to show the best markings.
Snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue (Sanseveria trifasciata). The yellow markings on its leaves will be brightest in bright light or full sun, but it will cope with poor light. Prefers regular watering but survives periods of drought, during which it will go dormant.
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum). Copes with dim light but leaf markings will be bolder in a brighter position. Direct sun will burn the leaves. Prefers humid air, which you can provide by misting the air around the plant, grouping it with other plants and/or standing it on a tray of damp gravel.