These miraculous plants thrive even in a dimly lit space. 

By Marla Christiansen
Updated December 24, 2017
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Jon Shireman / The Sill

Enjoying the natural beauty of plants may seem impossible if your space is short on light. Thankfully, there are many plants that happily thrive in low-light conditions. The plant experts at The Sill, a New York-based garden center, have given us a list of some of their favorite plants that grow easily with little sunlight, along with their notes on each variety, so you can brighten up those dark spots.

Jon Shireman / The Sill

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Tolerant of super low light levels, the ZZ plant is a perfect pick for apartments or office cubicles that get little natural light. This drought-tolerant plant has large, potato-like succulent rhizomes right underneath the surface of the soil that store water for use during dry periods. Native to eastern Africa, the ZZ plant grows horizontally with lush, waxy green leaves. Preferring a dry, stable environment, be sure to keep this guy away from areas of high humidity.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

The snake plant is one of the most hardy houseplants around, say the plant pros at The Sill. This plant can tolerate very low light levels making it ideal for dim, first floor apartments and office cubicles. Its succulent-like adaptations for surviving drought make it a suitable plant choice for the most forgetful of owners. As an added bonus, the snake plant is a great bedroom plant because it filters indoor air toxins and has one of the highest conversion rates of carbon dioxide to oxygen at night. This versatile beauty has thick leaves like oversized blades of grass. The leaves come in a variety of striping patterns and can be colored green, gray, silver, or gold.

Jon Shireman / The Sill


Famous for its trailing heart-shaped leaves, the philodendron prefers medium to low indirect light and weekly waterings. It grows very quickly, so it’s perfect for a hanging planter or the top of a high shelf. It is also easy to propagate by rooting cuttings in water. This pretty plant has a diverse range of leaf colors and patterns, like dark green, neon, and variegated.

Jon Shireman / The Sill


With over 1,000 recorded species, peperomias can vary considerably in appearance and plant care requirements can differ based on the variety. Some low-light tolerant favorites include watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) and ripple peperomia (Peperomia caperata). These two varieties have stunningly patterned and textured leaves that make a great impact in any dark corner.

Jon Shireman / The Sill

Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

The bird’s nest fern has a relaxed, tropical feel and is able to handle low-light conditions. Its large, wavy green fronds resemble banana leaves. Preferring moderate to low, indirect light, and humid environments, this plant is a perfect fit for a bathroom with a window.

Marimo Ball (Aegagropila linnae)

The marimo “moss” ball, as it’s commonly known, is not actually moss at all but a freshwater, filamentous, green algal colony. In the wild, marimo call cold, calciferous lakes home—their spherical shape created by the tidal force of the lakes. The bottom of these lakes are chilly and dim, so in your home, a marimo ball will do best in a clear container with room temperature (or colder) water and a spot that receives low, indirect light. These non-toxic cuties can even be used in fish tanks!

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Nearly a twin to the philodendron in terms of looks and care, the trailing pothos is extremely tolerant of neglect, including low light levels and irregular watering. It makes for an excellent cubicle companion because it’s so low maintenance. With a wide range of variegations, the 'marble queen' is a favorite for the swirling white patterns on its leaves.

Jon Shireman / The Sill


Calathea generally prefer bright, indirect light, but many species can tolerate moderate to low, indirect light. The Rattlesnake calathea and pinstripe calathea have remarkable leaves that look as though they’ve been painted on. These plants raise and lower their leaves from day to night as a part of their circadian rhythm, breathing life into the dimmest spaces.

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