Plants By Room: Low Light Plants at Home

Plants By Room: Low Light Plants at Home
Floor-to-ceiling south-facing windows with lots of sunlight. Sounds nice, right? But if your place does not have these features, read on to find out how to create an at-home oasis full of plants suited for low light.
Go Low

No plant really likes low light but it is possible for some plants to survive it. Plants need light to eat, and the only source of food is by a window. Rooms with windows are like caves to plants. Plants will not grow in low light, and even if they do, it’s likely to be pale and spindly. In low light, plants will thin themselves out by dropping leaves. Plants in low light are using the last of its energy to search for light. If you see spindly growth, thinning or dropping, move your plant closer to the window.

Think about where you want to place your plants. Generally, anything further than 5-7' from a window is considered “low light”, and anything more than 10' from a window is too dark. If your windows face other buildings or face north, the light coming through is weak. This is ambient light, not direct sunlight. Any plant you place on or closest to the window is receiving medium light. A plant placed more than a 1-3' from the window is receiving low light. Do not place plants more than 5' away from this type of light.

Our Picks

To get you started, here are some low light plants we love.


One of the best low light options, Marimo lives at the bottom of freshwater lakes where the water scatters light away and where it’s quite dark. Marimo can also use artificial light efficiently. Plus, they live in water, so it’s basically impossible to overwater these guys.

ZZ plant

Native to lush tropical understories where the light is all but blocked by taller plants, the ZZ plant survives on ambient light, making it a great choice for low light rooms.


Pothos is super tolerant of lower light conditions, perfect for those north-facing windows or windows that face other buildings. By adding a pothos, you can really create a better view.

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