It’s not unusual for a lot of people to want a little greenery inside the house. The way some people achieve that is by placing the plant near a window where it gets a good deal of light.
But if that’s not an option for you, here is a list of the best low light indoor trees that will liven up your living space without making you nervous about their maintenance.
The first one on our list is the Madagascar Dragon Tree or just Dragon Tree, also called Dracaena marginata. This one belongs to the Dracaena family of trees and grows well next to a north-facing window.
Now, if you cut this plant, you will notice a fluid in blood-red color oozing out. This is one of the most popular things about this plant. The red color combined with the green leaves makes it quite the center of attention in the house.
This plant takes a long time to grow and it starts to look lush only after it reaches the one-foot mark. Visually, they look very much like palm trees. They are also very easy to grow because they don’t need much care.
This is a sturdy plant that requires no extra support. A mature Madagascar Dragon tree grows up to 6 feet in height on average, but it can grow up to 10-15 feet. One variety has long leaves that are green in the middle and red and cream stripes on the surface.
If you are lucky enough to procure an original variety, you will notice that the leaves have purple margins. And a third variety comes with leaves that have red edges that are thick in texture.
The trunk of the tree is a gray-brown mix and pruning the stems is a good way to make the tree look lower and bushier. Pruning also stops the plant from growing in all directions after a point.
When the plant starts to go dormant, it will shed leaves and they will lead to new growth. So, you might want to collect them in spring if you want to propagate the plant.
This plant does not do well when it is exposed to direct sunlight. So, east- and west-facing windows are not a good option. That is also why it is a favorite in commercial settings.
Unfortunately, the Dragon Tree is not a good choice if you have pets. Whether it is a dog or a cat, this plant is a toxic presence. But it is a good way to filter air because it reduces xylene, formaldehyde and toluene in the air.
Our second choice is the Ficus elastica, also called the India rubber tree. This is an indoor plant which is also quite easy to grow which makes it a popular choice in commercial establishments. And since it has a good tolerance for neglect, this plant is a good choice for beginners.
This plant likes a little bit of the morning sun which is why placing it near an east-facing window is not a bad idea. But it does prefer indirect sunlight so don’t let it burn.
A mature rubber plant can grow up to 10 feet in height. Originally, it is a tropical plant from Southeast Asia that can grow up to 100 feet in height when left in their natural habitat.
The leaves are huge and oval in shape, pink or coral in color with an emerald hue and have a glossy appearance which makes them wonderful centerpieces. Over time, they grow into a rich dark green color.
Managing the size of this plant is critical if you want to grow it indoors. But it’s not all that difficult. If the space has very little light, you will notice that the plant starts to get lanky and tall. When spring arrives, fix the lighting and prune the new leaves to get a bushier look.
A mature India rubber tree that is grown indoors will reach 3-6 feet in height. It needs well-draining soil and must be repotted on a yearly basis till it reaches the height you are comfortable with. If you want to let the tree grow large, get a large container.
The trick to growing this plant well is to balance the environmental factors. It needs a good deal of bright but diffused light. They can tolerate a little bit of morning light but not harsh, direct sunlight.
If you notice that the leaves are singed, it means the light in their current setup is too much. And if there is not enough light, there won’t be any leaves closer to the roots. The leaves will also lose their gloss, which is an indication that they need more light.
This plant is pretty generous when it comes to soil. It must be grown in moist but not soggy soil which means fast-draining soil that is a little acidic will do the trick. You can go for a cactus mix and that will work just fine too.
The rubber tree will need to be watered often. Make sure the plant is, in general, moist but not soaking in water. These plants are prone to a lot of dryness and don’t do well with drought at all because they are heavy drinkers.
If you find that the soil is not moist, give it another round of watering. And if the soil seems dry and ready to crumble, you should most definitely give it a lot of water.
This plant likes to drink and feed heavily. So, in the growing season, a little bit of water-soluble fertilizer on a weekly basis is a good move. This will also help with the plant’s thirst. And once a month, wipe the leaves to make sure they remain glossy. And it must also be fed enough fertilizer during its growing season.
At some point, you might need to support the tree trunk with a bamboo stalk or a wooden dowel because they can droop when they start to get too tall. The support system helps them stay upright.
Don’t go by the name and try to take a bite because this corn plant is not an edible one. Called Dracaena fragrans, it is a small and good-looking indoor plant. But it is also known to clean the air in the room it is kept in.
When you buy it, you are likely to get a plant with three stems that are of different heights and have green leaves in the shape of rosettes. Typically, the leaves of a Dracaena fragrans plant are green on the edges and yellow in the middle. But some of them are green in the middle and have yellow or green stripes on the edges.
This plant is also very well known for its ability to remove environmental toxins and clean the air in its vicinity.
If you are looking to grow a plant in low lighting, this is a good choice because it does well with filtered or indirect lighting. If you put it in direct sunlight, the leaves will burn.
Now, for this reason, placing it near the east-, west- or north-facing window is a good move, but make sure there is no draft near it. In a healthy environment, the plant will grow up to 6 feet in height, the leaves will be strappy and the stems will have a dramatic look. The curves of the trunk are thick and can grow into curious shapes.
The leaves are likely to be in a cream and lime green color initially. Older corn trees might even produce a flower with a strong scent but that is quite rare. In fact, it is not likely to happen at all when the plant is grown indoors.
A mature corn plant will grow up to 6 feet in height. You can control the height by pruning it whenever required. It is a good choice as a centerpiece once the plant is over 4 feet tall.
Sometimes, you will notice the shedding of leaves right after the plant is brought home. This happens because of the shock caused by the movement and is nothing to worry about. In the right environment, it will recover soon.
The corn plant usually has a few stems and the leaves crown at the top. Each of these stems can individually grow to be about 6 feet tall, which contributes to the overall height of the tree.
This plant does not need a lot of water. In fact, if you feed it too much, you will see the leaves turn yellow in color and will eventually drop.
Next up is the Kentia palm tree which is also called the Howea forsteriana and is a nice indoor tree. But it can grow 5-6 feet tall. The plant has deep green fronds which are like leaves that are usually found on the likes of palm trees. And these fronds alone can grow up to 8 feet. The Kentia palm is a slow grower which means when it is grown indoors, it will grow only 5-6 feet as mentioned above.
It will grow slowly in low light conditions indoors. But if it is grown in a shaded region outdoors, it can grow up to 50 feet tall. If you leave the tree in direct sunlight, though, it will burn.
It is not difficult to keep this plant small by managing the light conditions. In fact, unlike other palm trees, it has the ability to survive in low-lighting regions. And it is also quite tolerant of low levels of humidity, which is unlike a palm tree.
This plant can survive when the temperature is as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, before winter and during intense summer, you want to make sure that the plant is protected from the outside weather.
This tree is a native of Australia and while it can work with a variety of soils, it grows well if the soil is a little dry. Get any well-draining potting mix that has a sandy disposition and you are good to go.
This plant also does not need a lot of water. In fact, it has a good deal of drought tolerance once you establish them. But make sure they don’t get excessively dry. So, water the plant when you see that the top part of the soil is dried up. On the other hand, they should not be overly wet either. So, make sure you check the soil before you water this plant.
The indoor Kentia must be misted occasionally so that the plant does not have dust on it and gets some humidity at the same time. The fronds must be dusted on a monthly basis.
These plants are meant to be grown in the USDA 9-11 zones which means shade or partial shade areas. That’s why they are a good choice for indoor growing. It is daily forgiving if the conditions are less than ideal, which is what makes it a popular indoor plant.
The best way to control its size is to buy it at the mark you want it to stay. That way you don’t have to worry too much about the growth. This plant also does not need too much pruning, just like other palms. In fact, over-pruning might damage the trunk. The old leaves at the base of the plant must be gently removed. If you are rough with them, that might also cause scarring and eventually lead to trunk rot disease.
Repotting is not a great idea for these plants because their roots are really fragile. And if they break, they will not reproduce again.
The Kentia palm likes to be fed about once a month during its growing season. Make sure the nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) ratio is at 3-1-2.
These plants are prone to a few deficiencies which is why fertilizers might be helpful. But don’t overdo the feeding because that might cause the leaves at the bottom to turn brown.
They are likely to be vulnerable to a potassium deficiency, which will appear on the tips of the oldest leaves first. But it can be easily solved with the controlled release of a potassium supplement which is better than a water-soluble fertilizer.
Manganese deficiency is also not unheard of in these plants. These will also show up on leaf tips but of the younger leaves. You must also watch out for boron deficiency which will cause stunted growth in new leaves.
And if you are looking out for diseases, spider mites and scale insects can be a real danger to these plants. The same is true for mealybugs. But all you need is a little neem oil or insecticidal soap and you can get rid of the pests.
This plant has many different names like Dypsis lutescens, golden cane Palm, yellow palm and butterfly palm. But commonly, it is known as Areca Palm and it is quite easy to grow this one indoors because it can tolerate indirect and filtered light.
In a pot that is big enough, this tree can grow 6-7 feet in height. But you can limit that growth by limiting the size of the container. Give it enough light and you will even see tiny white flowers growing along with the purple-colored fruit throughout the year.
This is one of the easiest palm trees to grow and maintain indoors if you keep it potted. It provides the added benefits of removing toxins from the air and cleaning it.
Since it does not need a lot of sunlight, you can grow it inside the house near a west- or south-facing window. Any east- or west-facing window will also do the trick. If you choose a south-facing window, make sure the tree does not get too much direct sunlight. Because in those cases, the leaves will start to turn yellow in color.
You can avoid this by keeping the blinds closed.
This plant also does not need a lot of water because root rot due to overwatering is a problem. Give it water when the soil is dry once every two or three days and the plant will thrive. Make sure the soil is moist during summer and spring. And it should be dry before you water it again in fall and winter.
It does not need a lot of sunlight or water but it sure likes to feed. So a fertilizer with a time-release component is a good idea. But this must be done in its growing season which is spring. During this time, the plant, especially the fronds, is in need of nutrients.
A little spraying of micronutrients in the summer is also not a bad idea for the fronds. You can also do the same with a water-soluble fertilizer that is meant for houseplants in general. But read the labels carefully for instructions on how to dilute it and make sure that it is good for foliar feeding.
Fertilizer should not be given to these plants in winter and fall. And they must be repotted once every 2-3 years. The container must be tight and the roots must be crowded so that the size is contained.
For repotting purposes, you want to use aged soil. And remove the salt deposits from the fertilizer that are present in the soil and the pot’s sides before you go ahead. A general potting mix or those that are meant for palms can be used with a side of builder’s sand.
The new plant must be pushed to the same depths as the previous one. If you plant it too deep, the plant can get injured because this plant has brittle roots.
Press the plant down and pack it tightly after you fill the soil all around its roots. Check to see that there are no air pockets in the pot.
Chamaedorea elegans or Neanthe Bella Palm also goes by the name Parlor Palm. This is a good choice for interior spaces that do not get much light from the outside. Originally from Guatemala and southern Mexico, this plant can grow indoors because, unlike most other palm trees, it thrives under low light conditions.
In fact, in the Victorian Era, these plants were found in the parlor areas of homes which were not all that well lit. They have a shrubby appearance and grow quite slowly. Their average height is four feet when grown indoors but they can reach about six feet.
They also don’t need as much humidity like other palm trees. So, enough moisture and a little indirect light can still help them thrive. And yes, these trees also come with the benefit of cleaning the air inside.
Mostly being exposed to indirect sunlight is what makes this plant thrive. In fact, it survives quite well even if there are just fluorescent lights in the room. This is just one of the reasons why it is easy to grow and maintain this plant. Shady conditions next to a window sill and very little attention are actually quite good for it.
This palm tree is not too picky about soil. So whether you pick clay, loamy soil or a sandy variety, chances are it will grow well especially outdoors. So, pick any high-quality potting mix that is peat based and you are good to go.
But if you are growing it indoors, which should be why you are reading this, the two things to avoid are for the soil to be salty and for the mix to break down. If the soil breaks down, it will become spongy and that won’t work well for its growth.
Once again, this is a low-maintenance plant. So you only need to water it once or twice during the week. In winter, you should reduce even that. Check the soil to make sure it is dry before you water it again.
When you touch the soil, it should not be dry. That’s how you know whether or not the plant needs water. If you overwater this plant, the roots will get soggy and eventually rot. They are very vulnerable to this disease.
Adding a little mist to the plant during extreme summer is a good idea. But it is also applicable to winter conditions when you reduce watering.
Unfortunately, these plants are likely to attract pests like whiteflies, aphids and mealybugs. So, keep an eye out for an infestation. You can identify a problem by looking for root rot and fungal leaf spots. This is also likely to happen when you overwater the plant.
This plant grows to about 4 feet in height on average. If you have a desktop variety, they will be shorter and grow only up to about one foot. This plant is a native of Mexico but it grows slowly. If you want a tall indoor plant that grows well in the absence of direct sunlight, this is a good pick.
Most of them grow in small-sized clumps but some of them are also available in a single-stalk capacity. The smaller clumps look like shrub-sized palm trees in pots. Their fronds are popularly used in different arrangements for Sunday decorations and wreaths too. This is because they go on to live for about 40 days even after they are severed from the plant.
But know that these plants often take years to mature and reach their full height capacity of 4-6 feet. In the outdoors, they can grow up to 16 feet tall. Adding a diluted liquid fertilizer a couple of times in the growing season is a good idea. But do not let it anywhere near the plant in winter because it is a light feeder.
The room temperature should be 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit but it can grow even if the temperature drops to about 50 degrees. If it is kept in temperatures below that, frost will kill the plant.
If there is a cold draft near the window or door or even a vent, the plant must be moved. An average level of humidity is good for this plant. You will notice that the leaves start to turn brown in color if the tree is not getting enough water or is exposed to cold drafts. Try raising the levels of humidity in the room before you water the plant.
If you want a tree that does not need much light but grows fast, you want to grow a dwarf banana tree. Remember that this is not the same as a regular banana tree. Confuse the two and you will find a huge mistake in your living or commercial space.
If this plant is given the right amount of filtered light and some fertilizer, even the dwarf varieties can grow up to 10 feet tall but the general range is 5-10 feet when planted indoors. So, plan the placement accordingly.
There are some varieties even in the dwarf section that produce fruits. You must look for dwarf cultivars for this reason. They also provide the incredible service of removing toxins like formaldehyde in the air around them.
These plants grow well if they get four to six hours of full sunlight every day. But they don’t have to be outside. Placing them near a window that allows low light will also work for the kind of growth you want for an indoor plant. Placing it near a south-facing window that allows clean light in is a good option for that reason.
You need the soil to be moist so that the plant can grow but make sure that it is not wet. As is the case with the other trees on this list, make sure you stick your finger into the soil to check if the plant needs water.
There are quite a few varieties of this plant so you want to pick carefully. If the one you get comes with large leaves, it is a good idea to prune them. This way, they won’t take up as much space inside the room. You can also give them filtered light and add a little fertilizer in the growing season so that the plant can reach its indoor potential.
If you notice that the leaves are curling or turning brown in color, you must check the plant for mites.
This tree is a native of Asia and is a great indoor plant to grow. Also called Ficus maclellandii, this particular ficus (which is also the name of its genus) is a fig tree from India. It has narrow and shaggy leaves that look like palm fronds. These leaves are attractive and can grow up to 10 inches in length. The tree itself can grow up to 10 feet in height once it matures. They also don’t fall so easily which means you won’t have to clean up at the base as often.
It grows slowly which means you can keep pruning it to control the size, maintain the shape and keep it good looking. If you want a tropical plant that does not require too much light, this is a good choice.
Now, these plants are toxic for both pets and children if anyone accidentally ingests them.
This plant grows well in different light conditions including when there is low lighting. This is just one of the reasons it is easy to grow anywhere.
You don’t need to water it often. In fact, once it reaches the height of 6-8 feet, you only need to water the top inch of the soil. But even so, you must make sure that the soil becomes dry before you water the plant.
During spring and summer when the plant is growing well, you must give it a good fertilizer. Since this plant is sensitive to boron, make sure that the fertilizer does not have it. If it does, you will notice that the leaves start to fall. And since this plant never does it, it should be easy to spot. And remember not to give it any fertilizer during fall and winter.
Check the moisture content of the soil before you water the plant. This is to make sure that the rest of the soil is also dry along with the top inch. While you’re at it, also aerate the soil so that water gets absorbed uniformly.
This should be done before the first level of watering. Make sure that the soil does not shift while you are watering the plant. For that the soil needs to be compact. And that is also why you aerate the soil before watering the plant so that the moisture has a chance to escape.
The soil for these plants should be uniformly and consistently moist for the plant to thrive. Overwatering is also a real problem with these plants so you want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
This must be balanced with the moisture needs which are quite high for this plant. The top two inches of the soil must be dry before you water the plant each time but the rest of it should still be moist consistently. That is why these plants grow well in self-watering containers.
The plant must be rotated as often as you can so that the leaves get enough light and the photosynthesis happens without interruption. This also ensures that the growth is even on all sides and that there is no dust on the surface of the leaves.
You must also check the bottom of the leaves properly to make sure that there are no pests. This can be done during the weekly dusting session.
If you have ever entertained the thought of growing a lemon or orange tree, well, you might be happy to know that the citrus tree does not actually need a whole lot of light to grow well. And by well, we mean about 6-10 feet high indoors on an average.
But the bewitching scent is an inviting one but you should know that while the lighting situation makes it sound good, this is one demanding tree even when you grow it indoors.
It is more so if you want the plant to bear fruits. They need more water, humidity and fertilizer than most other low light plants that can be grown indoors. Don’t be surprised if you find that you will need a humidity tray. It is also important to take the outside every chance you get. This will ensure that the plant gets all the nutrients it needs.
Also, remember that just any fertilizer won’t do the trick. So, get one that is specifically for citrus trees. These trees are also dive prone when compared to all the others in this category.
The temperature of the room needs to be between 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit to make sure that the plant grows well. It needs to be watered often to keep the soil moist but it should not get wet.
This one is a jungle tree so it likes a lot of light. But that does not mean you need to ensure direct sunlight. If you can place it in a bright room, that will work too. But since you are looking for low-light indoor plants, here’s how the fiddle leaf fig plant fits in.
This plant will grow well if you give it filtered light and save it from cold drafts. It also needs a good deal of humidity to thrive. And in the summer months, give it a short stay on the patio and it will be fine.
The amount of light this plant needs really depends on the size of the plant itself. If it is a large plant, it will need more light. Simple as that. If the plant has more leaves, it will need light to maintain them and grow new ones. So, this plant follows basic plant logic. And if it is not getting the light it needs, you will see the lower leaves drop. That’s your cue.
Indirect sunlight is not a problem but if there is draft, this plant will start dropping leaves. So you must keep it away from doors connecting it to the outside and the same goes for air vents too.
This plant needs to be near a window so it can get some of the morning sun. A little bit of afternoon light is not bad either. Any window that is east, west or south facing will do the trick because it’s not so much about the quantity of light.
If you have a large northern window that is not blocked by any nearby buildings or plants, you can place the plant directly in front of it.
If you go for a south-facing window, you want to make sure it gets direct sunlight for a few hours. But you must get the plant used to this because otherwise, the leaves will burn and you will see brown marks on them. Spend at least a couple of weeks getting them used to this much sunlight.
This plant is also not a big fan of overwatering. If that happens, you will notice the leaves turn brown in color. Make sure you remove dust on them once a month by wiping them with a soft cloth.
In the spring, the full plant must get a proper shower. But in general, it needs to be given water about once a week. Even this depends on the size of the plant. Essentially, the size of the roots determines how much water the plant needs. So, make sure the top 2-3 inches of the soil are dry and give it a thorough watering.
Make sure you are not overwatering because that will cause root rot. The plant must be given water slowly and in a circular fashion so that water reaches all the roots equally.
This is a tall tree that grows up to 10 feet in height. The leaves will grow all across the trunk and they will be flat. It must be given a balanced fertilizer once every two weeks during the growing season. During the winter months, when there isn’t a lot of natural light, you must keep it away from cold drafts. Move it a couple of feet away from the window and monitor the progress.
Hopefully, this list has given you some clarity on the best low light indoor trees that you can grow easily. Because it’s not easy to put up with them all but some are certainly a breeze.