A timeless paradox: the room most in need of a plant’s fresh energy does not have the bright light to sustain one. However, there are plenty of plants that can grow without much sunlight and a well-placed mirror or full-spectrum lightbulbs in the room can help lowlight plants not only survive but thrive.

The usual lowlight suspects include spider, snake and ZZ plants, as well as the delicate maidenhair fern, but here are a few suggestions for houseplant enthusiasts who are looking for something different.

Please research more about each plant’s toxicity level for pets or children before buying.

Philodendron and pothos are not necessarily unique, but they are hardy, enthusiastic growers that are ideal for creating unique interiors, like a green wall or a flowing accent on a shelf. As part of the same plant family, varieties are often mistaken for each other, but they require similar care so a mix-up will not have dire results. These plants are mildly toxic.


The Chinese money plant is just delightful. Also known as a UFO plant, it is happy in lowlight conditions, but needs regular rotation to keep leaves growing on all sides since it will chase whatever available light source it has. A mature plant sprouts “babies” at its base, which are easy to de-root and give to a fellow plant lover. This plant is non-toxic.


A bird’s nest fern is a compact alternative to a Boston or maidenhair fern, both of which can shed tiny leaves at an alarming rate if you miss a watering. The circinate vernation of fern leaves makes the bird’s nest fern a particular rewarding plant to watch grow. This plant is non-toxic.



Calathea are commonly known as prayer plants because the leaves fold upward in the night. They come in many varieties, often with silvery topcoats or red underbellies. They need indirect light—think east or west facing windows. Propagating a calathea is simple, done by splitting up the root ball when it is mature and healthy. This plant is non-toxic.


Sago palms are not technically low light plants, but they will tolerate it, so put this strong, beauty in your brightest, dark corner and imagine you’re in the tropics. Warning: Sago palms can be fatally toxic for pets and children. These gymnosperm forms have been around for millions of years for a reason.

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