We’ve seen it more and more on social media and in catalogs such as Anthropologie, Ikea and Crate and Barrel, where houseplants are becoming a large part of the interior design of a room. Often I’ve seen cactus, succulents, palms or Fiddle Leaf figs being shown, but what about the areas of the house where there is not a lot of natural light? For many of us, this can be almost the majority of the house! Luckily there are some options for those areas of low to medium light but no direct light of any kind (and I’m not just talking about ferns although we do have a wonderful selection!)
Zamioculcas zamiifolia or commonly known as ZZ Plant: This is a very versatile plant and can tolerate the least amount of natural light. This is why you often see it in malls or other commercial spaces where there is little to no natural light. The bright green, shiny leaves are thick and waxy and it can be mistaken for an artificial plant because of that. It is best to water ZZ plant when the top inch or so of the soil is dry. It is very forgiving of under watering but if you see a leaf drop you will know it is time to give it a drink. ZZ plant will help purify the air in your house or office.
Sansevieria or Snake Plant: Similar to the ZZ plant, this can also tolerate low light levels, up to bright light. There are several varieties of Snake plant that all have different patterns and markings on the leaves. The thick, sturdy, sword shaped leaves come out from the base of the plant and eventually can grow 2-4′ tall. A fun fact about Snake Plant is that it is one of the most recommended plants for improving air quality, because it converts Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen at night. It also filters out benzene, formaldehyde and a host of other toxins.
Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreen: The rule of thumb with these is the lighter the leaves, the more light it needs. It never wants to be in direct sun, but some of the Aglaonema have white in the leaves which will stay that way with more bright light. If the leaves are more green, it will be fine in a lower light location. Water these plants when the top 2 inches of soil become dry. Try to keep away from drafts from air vents.
Calathea lancifolia or Rattlesnake Plant: This unique plant looks like its leaves are hand painted. The back of the leaves are burgundy and at night its leaves will come more upright exposing more of the back color. It likes warm temperatures and indirect light with evenly moist soil. Don’t let it sit in water though as it doesn’t like to be soggy.