Choosing Low Light Houseplants

For those of us who have gazed out a frost covered window and wished that it was still warm and green, there is a solution. Low light house plants can be a great way to make your environment green, even in the midst of winter. Although they might not be as stunning as full sun plants, a well cared for low light house plant can add some beauty and greenery to an otherwise dark and drab corner of your home or office. Consider the difference between a dark corner or blank wall and a unique, healthy plant that really stands out and says that you have taste. Plants also help you feel more energy when conditions would tend to make you feel tired or low. They clean the air and provide something vibrant to look at. So what low light house plants should you choose for your home or work environment? What is the best strategy for choosing a low light house plant?

Answers to these questions depend a lot on your particular needs and the environment in which you place the plant. The basic factors that need to be considered when purchasing or planting a low light house plant are: air temperature, water, air circulation, soil, and light conditions. The best thing for you to do first is to survey the conditions in which the plant will be living. What kind of light will regularly shine into the space? Will there be a constant change in air temperature? These are all things that you will need to consider as you choose which plants to purchase. Once you have this information find a plant that fits your needs.
A couple of species that come to mind for areas with low light are the following:

1. Chinese evergreens are excellent for low light conditions and grow fairly large. They have very distinctive silver markings on their leaves that will make almost any visitor stop and take a second look.

2. Plants from the Philodendron family generally do quite well in low light conditions and can be trained to grow up a trellis or other structure. This is also true of the Pothos plant, which has beautiful spade-shaped leaves and with some work will climb quite high.

3. Parlor palms are another great option and several of my friends have these plants in their homes. These things can get really big if the conditions are good (up to eight feet). They have beautiful green leaves with great texture.

4. Another option to consider is the strangely named “Mother-in-law’s tongue,” which has large leaves of varying colors. The leaves have been described as blade-like in shape with yellow, white, and green coloration. Perhaps the name comes from the hardiness of this plant; good luck killing one!

5. Spathiphyllums are great because unlike many other low light house plants they actually bloom. These plants are quite striking and can grow very large.

Remember that no low light house plant, or any plant for that matter, will actually grow in darkness. You might need to experiment with different plants and see what will work in the environment. Be cautious not to water too much-many low light plants don’t require much water and will rot if over watered. Be patient and realize that these plants also don’t grow very quickly. They lack the energy derived from sunlight to grow fast, but this does not mean that they won’t fill your home with great beauty. If at first you don’t succeed with low light house plants be sure to try again. The rewards are worth the effort.

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