12 Low Light Indoor Trees You Can Grow Today + 10 Alternatives

Think a shadowed corner can’t sparkle with life?

Think again.

Dive into a world where indoor plants not only survive but thrive in low light.

From statuesque indoor trees to delicate understorey wonders, discover the verdant magic tailored for every dark nook.

Curious about how? Let this guide light the way to your indoor oasis, even when the sun doesn’t.

Let’s transform those dim spots into lively botanical retreats. Ready to illuminate?

Dive in.

Importance of Greenery in Interior Spaces

Introducing greenery into our living spaces offers a myriad of benefits, both tangible and intangible. Plants have a unique way of breathing life into a room, turning a static space into a dynamic, ever-changing environment.

“Plants are the lungs of our homes, absorbing toxins and releasing fresh oxygen.”

Challenges of Finding Suitable Plants for Low Light Conditions

While the benefits of having plants indoors are undeniable, the challenge often lies in selecting plants that thrive in your specific environment. Not all spaces are flooded with sunlight, and this can be a hurdle for many plant enthusiasts.

  • Understanding sunlight requirements: Not all plants need direct sunlight. Many thrive in indirect or filtered light.
  • Positioning: Even in low light conditions, the positioning of the plant in a room can make a significant difference to its health.

Overview of What “Low Light” Means for Plants

It’s essential to differentiate between ‘no light’ and ‘low light’. Plants still require some form of light to photosynthesize, but ‘low light’ plants are adapted to thrive in less direct or intense light. Understanding this distinction can be the key to successful indoor gardening.

Type of Light Description
Direct Light Unfiltered light that shines directly on the plant, often from a south-facing window.
Indirect Light Light that doesn’t shine directly on the plant. It might be diffused through a sheer curtain or reflected off a wall.
Low Light Minimal light conditions, often away from any direct source of sunlight, like in a room with a north-facing window or a room without windows.

Why Consider Indoor Trees for Low Light?

Indoor trees are more than just ornamental additions to a home or office. They play a significant role in enhancing our living environments in ways we often overlook. Let’s delve deeper into why you might want to consider adding these tall, leafy companions to spaces with less than ideal light conditions.

  • Improved Air Quality: Trees, regardless of their size, have an innate ability to filter the air. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making the air fresher. Some species can even filter out common indoor pollutants.
  • Enhanced Mood and Ambiance: The aesthetic appeal of a tree can transform a room, adding warmth, texture, and a touch of nature’s serenity. Their mere presence can induce a sense of calm.
  • Reduction in Stress: Research has consistently shown that being around greenery can reduce stress, lower heart rate, and promote feelings of well-being.
  • Role in Interior Design: From a design perspective, trees can act as focal points, bringing balance, height, and structure to a space. Their shadows, movement, and shape can add layers to interior aesthetics.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

Given these benefits, it’s clear that indoor trees offer more than just visual appeal. They contribute to our physical and mental well-being, making them worthy additions, especially in low light conditions where many other plants might struggle.

Top Indoor Trees for Low Light Conditions

Tree Name Space Rating Care Rating Brief Description
Ficus lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig) ★★★☆☆ ★★☆☆☆ Large, glossy leaves. Prefers stability.
Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant) ★★★★☆ ★★★☆☆ Majestic dark green leaves. Avoid cold drafts.
Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig) ★★☆☆☆ ★★☆☆☆ Arching branches with glossy leaves. Cherishes consistency.
Dracaena marginata (Dragon Tree) ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ Tall, slender trunk with red-edged leaves. Avoid fluoride in water.
Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant) ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆ Sturdy woody trunk embraced by wide, green leaves. High humidity lover.
Dracaena deremensis (Warneckii and Janet Craig) ★★★★☆ ★★★★☆ Striped leaves in hues of green. Prefers humidity and consistently moist soil.
Schefflera arboricola (Umbrella Tree) ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ Glossy green, palmate leaves. Avoid stagnant water.
Pachira aquatica (Money Tree) ★★★★☆ ★★★☆☆ Braided trunk with hand-like leaves. Ensure good drainage.
Castanospermum australe (Moreton Bay Chestnut or Blackbean) ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ Pinnate leaves, adapts gracefully. Water when top soil layer is dry.
Howea forsteriana (Kentia Palm) ★★☆☆☆ ★★★★☆ Arching fronds with delicate leaves. Prefers moist soil and cool environments.
Brassaia actinophylla (Schefflera or Umbrella Tree) ★★★☆☆ ★★★☆☆ Lustrous, dark green leaves. Keep soil dry before watering.
Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor Palm) ★☆☆☆☆ ★★★★☆ Petite palm, Victorian-era relic. Keep soil consistently moist in cool settings.

Space Rating:

  • ★★★★★: Requires a lot of space. Ideal for spacious living rooms.
  • ★★★★☆: Moderate space requirement. Suitable for medium-sized rooms.
  • ★★★☆☆: Compact. Fits in most indoor settings.
  • ★★☆☆☆: Small. Ideal for corners or small rooms.
  • ★☆☆☆☆: Petite. Perfect for desks or tight spaces.

Care Rating:

  • ★★★★★: Very high maintenance.
  • ★★★★☆: Regular care needed.
  • ★★★☆☆: Moderate care. Suitable for those familiar with plant care.
  • ★★☆☆☆: Low maintenance. Good for beginners.
  • ★☆☆☆☆: Minimal care required. Almost indestructible.

Explore the wonders of indoor trees that, contrary to popular belief, can thrive even when sunlight is scarce. These marvels of nature not only elevate the beauty of any room but also impart the serene ambiance of a lush forest right in your living space.

1. Ficus lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig)

Epitomizing beauty and simplicity, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is adorned with iconic large, glossy leaves. Its grandeur is further accentuated by its towering growth pattern, making it a standout in any setting.

Care Tips: It craves stability; avoid frequent relocations. Quench its thirst only when the top inch of soil beckons for water.

2. Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant)

The Rubber Plant is a symbol of strength and resilience, marked by its majestic dark green leaves which stand tall, demanding admiration.

Care Tips: Shield it from cold drafts and regularly dust its leaves to maintain their splendor. Hydrate it judiciously, ensuring the top layer of soil is dry before watering.

3. Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)

A harmony of art and nature, the Weeping Fig exhibits arching branches, gracefully cloaked with glossy leaves. However, this diva can occasionally shed leaves when relocated.

Care Tips: It cherishes consistency. Avoid moving it often and water it with moderation.

4. Dracaena marginata (Dragon Tree)

The Dragon Tree is a spectacle to behold. Its tall, slender trunk crowned with tufts of thin, arching red-edged leaves, offers a visual treat reminiscent of fiery dragon tales.

Care Tips: Let its soil dry between waterings. A noteworthy mention: avoid fluoride in water to prevent leaf discoloration.

5. Dracaena fragrans (Corn Plant)

Echoing the serenity of a countryside, the Corn Plant mimics a corn stalk with its sturdy woody trunk embraced by wide, green leaves.

Care Tips: Craves a moist (but not drenched) soil and rejoices in high humidity environments.

6. Dracaena deremensis (Warneckii and Janet Craig)

A canvas of nature, this plant boasts long, striped leaves in varying hues of green, singing tales of meadows and forests.

Care Tips: It desires humidity and loves a soil that’s kept consistently moist with good drainage.

7. Schefflera arboricola (Umbrella Tree)

This tree unfurls glossy green, palmate leaves, each emerging from a central point like an artist’s brush strokes.

Care Tips: Ensure soil remains evenly moist, but refrain from submerging its roots in water.

8. Pachira aquatica (Money Tree)

An emblem of prosperity and luck, the Money Tree showcases a unique braided trunk, crowned with leaves that resemble an open hand reaching out to the skies.

Care Tips: Water wisely, avoiding the snares of overwatering. A good drainage system is its best friend.

9. Castanospermum australe (Moreton Bay Chestnut or Blackbean)

An ode to nature’s splendor, this tree is celebrated for its deep green, pinnate leaves, standing tall with a confident growth habit.

Care Tips: It luxuriates in a humid atmosphere, yet adapts with grace. Quench its thirst only when the soil’s top layer is dry.

10. Howea forsteriana (Kentia Palm)

The Kentia Palm is sheer elegance, flaunting arching fronds and slender, delicate leaves that dance with the gentlest of breezes.

Care Tips: Loves its soil moist but not drenched, and thrives in cooler indoor breezes.

11. Brassaia actinophylla (Schefflera or Umbrella Tree)

This tree is a visual symphony, marked by its lustrous, dark green leaves that bloom from a central nexus, radiating life and energy.

Care Tips: Gift it water when its soil starts to feel dry and ensure its roots aren’t marooned in stagnant water to stave off root rot.

12. Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor Palm)

A relic from the Victorian era, this petite, graceful palm carries tales from elegant parlors of yore, making it a timeless addition to any space.

Care Tips: Tend to its thirst by keeping the soil consistently moist, and it will serenade you even in cooler indoor settings.

Honorable Non-Tree Mentions for Low Light Areas

Sansevieria trifasciata (Snake Plant)

Exuding a poised elegance, this plant boasts upright, sword-like leaves framed with yellow or white contours. A symbol of endurance and tenacity.

Care Tips: A real warrior, it thrives even in drought-like conditions. A perfect companion for beginners, it’s unfazed by temperature swings.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)

With a sheen that captures the eye, its dark green leaves waltz on zig-zagging stems. An embodiment of resilience.

Care Tips: It revels in dry spells between waterings and stands strong against most pests and afflictions.

Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

This plant weaves a tapestry of lush, variegated leaves, splashed with hues of green, occasionally kissed by red or pink.

Care Tips: Pampers it with evenly moist soil. Shield it from the whims of cold drafts and temperature tantrums.

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)

A carnival of large, variegated leaves that blend green, white, and yellow in a mesmerizing dance.

Care Tips: It craves moist, well-drained soil. Caution: Its sap holds a secret toxicity; handle with care and protect pets.

Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

A symbol of tranquility, it unveils glossy green leaves and captivating white blooms that whisper tales of peace.

Care Tips: It dreams of moist soils and basks in higher humidity. Quench its thirst when the topsoil feels parched.

Maranta leuconeura (Prayer Plant)

A spectacle of colors and patterns, its leaves fold at twilight, reminiscent of hands locked in evening prayer.

Care Tips: Offer it consistently moist soil and a misty environment for it to truly flourish.

Epipremnum aureum (Pothos or Devil’s Ivy)

A cascading wonder, its heart-shaped leaves often bear variegations of yellow or white, creating a visual symphony.

Care Tips: It enjoys brief dry spells between waterings and can either climb to heights or cascade in trailing beauty.

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant)

True to its name, this plant stands unyielding with long, lance-shaped leaves that declare its indomitable spirit.

Care Tips: It’s forgiving of low light, sporadic watering, and varying temperatures. Truly a cast iron in the world of plants.

Care Tips for Low Light Indoor Trees

Importance of Providing Even Minimal Light

Though many indoor trees can survive in low light, they still need some amount of light to photosynthesize. Rotate your plant occasionally to ensure all sides receive light, and consider reflective surfaces or artificial grow lights as supplementary sources.

Watering Needs for Low Light Conditions

  • Less Growth: Plants in low light grow slower and use less water.
  • Overwatering Risk: Ensure the top layer of soil dries out between waterings.
  • Drainage: Proper drainage is essential to prevent root rot.

Fertilizing and Feeding in Dimly Lit Environments

With slower growth, plants need fewer nutrients. Use fertilizers sparingly, and always dilute according to the label’s recommendations.

Potential Signs of Distress

Sign Description
Leggy Growth Stems become elongated.
Yellowing Leaves Leaves turn pale or yellow.
Reduced Growth Plant growth slows down significantly.
Leaf Drop Leaves fall off more than usual.


Note: If you notice any of these signs, consider adjusting your plant’s environment. The right amount of light can make a significant difference in plant health.

Section 5: Expanding Beyond Natural Light – Artificial Lighting Solutions

The Role of Grow Lights in Supplementing Natural Light

Indoor plants, including trees, often struggle to get adequate sunlight, especially in spaces far from windows or in northern latitudes during winter. Grow lights mimic the sun’s spectrum, providing the necessary light plants need to photosynthesize and grow. They can not only help maintain plant health but also promote growth, even in challenging conditions.

How to Choose the Right Artificial Light

  • Light Spectrum: Different plants have varied spectrum needs. Ensure the light covers blue (for vegetative growth) and red (for flowering and fruiting) spectrums.
  • Intensity: Larger plants or trees require more intense light. Check the lumen or wattage of the bulb.
  • Duration: Most indoor plants need 12-16 hours of light. A timer can help regulate this.
  • Type of Light: LED grow lights are energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs. Fluorescent lights can also be suitable for smaller plants or seedlings.

Best Practices for Using Artificial Lights with Indoor Trees

Setting up artificial lighting isn’t just about switching it on and leaving your plants. Here are some recommendations:

  • Distance: Keep lights close enough for effectiveness but not so close that they scorch plants. This usually means 6-12 inches away.
  • Monitor Growth: Watch how your plants respond. If they seem to stretch towards the light, they might need more. If leaves yellow or brown, they might be getting too much.
  • Rest Periods: Just as plants need light, they also need darkness. Ensure they get a break from artificial light daily.

Conclusion: The Value of Indoor Greenery in Low Light Spaces

Indoor plants, from towering trees to delicate ferns, do more than just beautify our living spaces. They represent a connection to nature, bringing tranquility, cleaner air, and a sense of well-being. Low light shouldn’t deter us from enriching our homes with the beauty and benefits of plants.

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder

While low light conditions may pose challenges, they are not insurmountable. With the vast variety of plants adapted to these conditions and the advancements in artificial lighting, there’s a world of green possibilities awaiting exploration.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting your plant journey, remember that every space has its ideal plant companion. So, explore, experiment, and let your home resonate with the vibrancy of nature, no matter the light conditions.