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Best indoor plants thrive with low light and less water

Posted in  Plants, Trees & Shrubs,Houseplants

Ideal indoor plants are of “heavy mettle” – durable enough to withstand low light and irregular watering.

Look for plants with fleshy, succulent leaves. Those leaves are adapted to storing more moisture than thin-leafed plants, making them able to go extended periods without water. Jade plants and cactus are two good examples. So is aloe vera – an upright that has the added advantage of soothing burned skin with the thick sap that oozes out when you break one of its fleshy leaves.

ZZ plant
ZZ plant
© George Weigel

Although not fleshy-leafed, the peace lily is another choice that’s surprisingly adept at tolerating extremes at either end of the wetness scale. Peace lilies have a bushy habit and put out white hooded flowers. Even if they get so dry that they wilt, they usually perk back up again when watered.

In low light, one of the best choices is the snake plant. Snake plants have strappy, sword-like leaves of green and/or gold that grow straight up two to three feet tall.

Because they grow vertically, they’re ideal for tight spacing. Snake plants also aren’t fussy about water or fertilizer.

Another hard-to-kill houseplant that seems to almost thrive under neglect and low light is the ZZ plant. This highly drought-tolerant plant has dark-green fleshy leaves that run up the stems like steps. It’s a bit unusual looking, but it can survive if stuck in a corner and ignored for up to a month at a time.

Here are 12 of the best indoor choices for low light:

Spider plant
Spider plant
© George Weigel
  • Cast iron plant
  • Chinese evergreen (click for photo)
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Most ferns
  • Peace lily
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos (click for photo)
  • Prayer plant
  • Rubber plant
  • Snake plant
  • Spider plant
  • ZZ plant

Here are 12 good choices for moderate light and brighter settings:

  • Aloe vera
  • Cactus
  • Christmas cactus
  • Croton
  • Dracaena
  • Goldfish plant
  • Jade plant
  • Lipstick plant
  • Lucky bamboo
  • Most palms
  • Norfolk Island pine
  • Schefflera