A few low-light houseplants can turn a bare, sterile space into one that’s much more inviting. Indoor plants improve concentration and can relieve stress. Just looking at a plant every so often can help you focus. Plants even filter out toxins and release fresh oxygen, freshening up stuffy office air.
But what about when your office is north-facing, dark, or windowless? Even though these office spaces are exactly where you need a mood-lifting plant the most, they’re also where it’s hardest to keep a plant alive. Luckily, not all plants need to be flooded with sunlight.
These low-light houseplants will thrive in your dim office area, helping you do the same.
This spiky, upright plant has pretty yellow lacing along the leaves. It’s also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue, probably due to its sharp look. Sansevieria is easy to grow and does well in offices with artificial lighting that’s on for most of the day, but withers in extra-dark rooms. Like pothos, sansevieria is toxic. It tolerates drought well, making it ideal for forgetful office staff.
Parlor palms are slow-growing and low maintenance. Their dark green leaves might be familiar to you as the large, potted plants that give many American offices a faintly tropical feel. These low-light houseplants prefer dark areas and do not do well with bright or direct light. They should not be over-watered.
Several types of ferns tolerate low light well and are easy to grow. Since many ferns grow on forest floors, they are adapted to low-light conditions. Varieties such as maidenhair are especially pretty, though button ferns and bird’s nest ferns are also popular. Not all ferns are pet-safe, so double check before bringing them home.
This beautiful, pink-tinged plant is a native to the tropics. They don’t do well with strong, direct light but do require a bit of sunlight each day, especially in the spring and summer. Like the spider plant, calatheas will do well with a bit of a growing light or just some moderate light from your window. The lovely pink in their leaves will fade with too little sunlight.
Calatheas can be particular about their water intake, so be sure to check their soil often. They like their dirt moist, but not soggy.
Despite their name, peace lilies are not really lilies. They’re part of the Araceae family, not Liliaceae. Devil’s ivy is another member of the Araceae family.
Rather than being true flowers, which are the reproductive organs of plants, peace lilies have white and yellow modified leaves. They are great decorative low-light houseplants who like moist, well-drained soil. This fact doesn’t change how pretty their white “flowers” are.
Devil’s ivy a flowering plant that’s native to French Polynesia. It’s also known as golden pothos and hunter’s robe. They tolerate low light well, making them great for bathrooms or other badly-lit spaces. One downside: Pothos plants are toxic, so keep them away from children and pets. They also survive well outside and are hard to kill, making them a risky plant that can quickly take over natural areas. devil’s ivy is a problematic introduced species in many places around the world – but it will be lovely in your office space!
When kept on a desk, spider plants can help remove pollutants from the air, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. They do best with moderate, indirect light. They are ideal for office spaces that don’t get full afternoon sun, but they will need a plant grow light if you are in a truly dark corner. They are non-toxic, making them relatively safe for pets and children.
If you’re the type to totally forget about your plant, you might want to look into a cast-iron plant before giving up hope. They’re extremely hardy and do just fine with a wide range of light, unreliable watering, and general neglect. They’re not the flashiest of plants, but their bright green leaves add a touch of color and life to dim areas.
Another hardy option for an indoor plant is the Chinese evergreen. They are easy low light houseplants for beginners that do well with dry air and soil. They tolerate low to medium light and have pretty, striped leaves. They are a great plant to pair with the cast-iron plant for a variety of extra-tough low light houseplants.
Unlike many other low-light houseplants on this list, Swedish ivy has a bunch of button-like leaves that spill over the planter. It is a bit less common in dark office spaces than some others on the list, but that helps make it feel more unique. It will trail out of its pot of taken care of, creating pretty tendrils. It’s an easy plant for beginners but will benefit from a plant grow light if you don’t get any natural light.
Don’t know what your office plant is, but you want to buy another one? PlantSnap’s plant identification app will help you get the name of your favorite low-light houseplant so you can buy more.