No one has time for high maintenance relationships- with people or plants. I am going to let you in on my top 5 plants that thrive in no light/low light conditions. I have personally had these plants in my house over the years and had success in making these babies grow and thrive. Adding greenery to all rooms, not just ones with sunny windows, makes the space feel more homely and alive. Faux plants don’t tend to have the same vibe, plus growing plants in more difficult lighting conditions shows people you are a bad-ass grown up.
We all have that naked corner in our house that is desperate for some greenery, but doesn’t have much light, or any natural light, to work with. Some of you may have taken the plunge and bought a plant, pledged that you will give it sunshine on Sundays while you read to it outside. Saturday night rolls around and you’ve had a few too many vinos during a dinner party with friends (sigh, seeing friends- remember that?) and you sleep in on Sunday and spend the day watching Grey’s Anatomy weeping in bed. You forget about your plant baby and by Monday it is brown and shrivelled and… well, dead. This was absolutely me a few years ago. But I then played around with different types of plants to see what works for my space and my routine.
Now when I say low light/no light you can’t just leave your plants there unattended, they are your children after all. They need to be brought into sunshine once a week during the early morning to catch some vitamin D. I normally do this on a Sunday while I clean the house with a record playing and attempting to match Whitney Houston’s high notes (sorry/not sorry neighbours). It doesn’t have to be direct sunlight outside- a well lit room will do the trick. Plants need to photosynthesize to grow and they can’t do that without occasional sunlight. Like humans, plants are happier and energised by the sun. I also use this time to wipe their leaves using The Plant Runners Neem oil we stock online.
Here are my top 5 plants:
1. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)
The name reflects the conditions this plant can grow in- it is one of the toughest indoor plants. It can survive in a little bit of solitary confinement (a room with no windows- not forever, just for a period of time). You will need to water it when the top inch of soil is dry. BUT don’t let it sit in water for too long – I accidentally murdered one that I let sit in a saucer of water and it became soggy and well… RIP. Make sure the excess water is drained before you return it to its home.
2. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
I’ll tell you what’s in my bathroom if you tell me what’s in yours? I have a spider plant in the bathroom and we have no windows at all. We have a small skylight but that only lets in a small amount of light throughout the day. It’s loving it in there- getting bushier each day. You will need to prune dead leaves or leaves with brown tips. But don’t go all Edward Scissorhands on it… cut the leaves on an angle so they are pointed like the others. This plant is best in a room with a small amount of indirect sunlight. Just don’t cook it over summer if the room gets really hot throughout the day.
3. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
The pretty and low maintenance ZZ plant is a very common houseplant as it is easy to keep.
Stick to the less-is-more philosophy with watering this guy. If you forget your last watering (which we all do) give the soil a feel to make sure it is dry- then water away. If you’re not sure then wait a couple more days. The most common way to kill this bad-boy is over watering. The ZZ does not like direct sunlight and survives well in low lit rooms. They can brave the cold in wintery rooms and tolerate a bit of neglect. Great for greenie (beginner) plant peeps.
4. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
Who doesn’t love Ivy? You’re lying if you said “not me”. This plant won’t necessarily ‘thrive’ in a low-lit room but can survive happily. I recommend you buy an English Ivy that is mature and has a good growth and long trailing vines to it. This can serve as an excellent feature piece in a low lit room. This sits on my bookshelf at home draping over the edges. I water mine once a week and give the foliage a good misting using a spray bottle. Best suited in a relatively well lit room, with no direct sunlight for growth.
5. Heart-leaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum)
We all need a little loving in our lives and the Heart-leaf Philodendron (hard to say but easy to manage) does just that. Just one of the varieties from the Philodendron family, the heartleaf is a very popular indoor plant. The Philodendron blooms in low light conditions. These are smart little puppies as you can train them to grow on a totem pole or trail out of a pot or basket. The green, heart shaped leaves (cute) can survive in most conditions- it is a pretty versatile plant. The only time I have experienced issues is when it was located in a doorway that received a chilly winter breeze and its little heart leaves began to shrivel. But I gave it some lovin’ and repositioned it in a warmer room and it grew back a few months later.
Plants are like babies- we need to feed them, give them water and watch them carefully (this sounds a little stalkery for a baby but go with me) until we understand their needs so that we can help them flourish.
Don’t forget the occasional Vitamin D to keep these plants happy and healthy!
Hope everyone is safe and is still baking a million loaves of banana bread. Hopefully not too much longer in Stage 4 lockdown, Melbourne. But we are in this together- we got this! Hoping to see you all safely soon.
Love the Greenery team x