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Houseplant Care in Low-Light Environments: Tips and Tricks

Hey there, green thumb! Struggling to keep your houseplants alive now that winter is settling in and the days are getting shorter? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Low light doesn’t have to mean no light. With a few adjustments, your indoor jungle can continue to thrive even without tons of bright sunshine.

The key is choosing plants that can handle lower light in the first place, but that’s not the only trick. There are several other ways you can set your houseplants up for success this season. From using the right potting mix to choosing the optimal spot in your space, the small details make a big difference. You’ll be amazed at the results when you give your plants what they need.

Follow these tips to keep your houseplant oasis lush through the fall and winter. Your plants will reward you with fresh greenery and life all season long. Let’s get started!

Understanding Light Requirements for Common Houseplants

When it comes to houseplants, understanding their light needs is key. Many common houseplants actually prefer low-light environments, but that doesn’t mean no light. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Provide Indirect Light

Place plants near a window that receives lots of indirect light during the day, such as an east- or west-facing window. Direct southern exposure may be too intense for some houseplants. You can also install sheer curtains to help filter light.

Supplement When Needed

If natural light is limited in your home, consider using artificial plant lights. Full spectrum grow lights or led plant lights can supplement for 6-12 hours a day. Start at the lowest light level and gradually increase to the plant’s preference.

Choose Low-Light Houseplants

Opt for houseplants specifically suited to low-light conditions like pothos, Chinese evergreen, peace lily, or snake plant. These plants thrive with indirect light and some can even tolerate full shade.

Water and Fertilize Properly

With less light, houseplants grow slower and require less water and fertilizer. Only water when the top inch or so of soil is dry. During the growing season, fertilize at 1/2 the recommended strength once a month.

Increase Humidity

Low light often means lower humidity. Mist your plants a few times a week or place them on top of pebbles with some water added to increase the humidity around the leaves.

By understanding how much light your houseplants actually need and providing the best conditions, you’ll have happy, healthy houseplants even in low-light environments. With the right care and maintenance, you can enjoy lush indoor greenery anywhere in your home.

Best Low Light Houseplants for Beginners

When it comes to low light, some houseplants are better suited than others. For beginners, stick with these tried-and-true varieties:

Peace Lily

This popular houseplant can thrive in low light. Only water when the top inch of soil is dry, and mist regularly with a spray bottle to increase humidity.

Chinese Evergreen

With variegated leaves and low maintenance, the Chinese Evergreen is perfect for dim corners. Allow soil to dry out between waterings and wipe leaves with a damp cloth to prevent dust buildup.

Snake Plant

Almost indestructible, the snake plant can tolerate very little light and inconsistent watering. Only water when the top few inches of soil are dry. Too much water can cause root rot, so err on the side of under-watering this hardy succulent.

Pothos Plant

The pothos plant is a great option if you’re looking to add some greenery without much fuss. Let soil dry out between waterings and mist with a spray bottle. Pothos can thrive in low light but may grow slower and produce smaller leaves.


Heart-leaf philodendrons are easy to care for and do well in low light and shady spots. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out between waterings. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth and mist to increase humidity.

With the right choice of plants and by following some basic care tips for low light conditions, you’ll be on your way to having a lush indoor jungle, even without much natural sunlight. The key is to start with easy, low-maintenance varieties, provide humidity, and be very careful not to overwater. Your new leafy friends will do the rest!

Caring for Low Light Houseplants: Water, Fertilizer, and Pruning Tips

Caring for houseplants in low light areas of your home requires some adjustments to their care. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


Low light means slower growth, so low light houseplants will need less frequent watering. Only water when the top few inches of soil are dry to the touch. Check by sticking your finger in the soil to make sure it’s not staying too damp, which could lead to root rot. When you do water, thoroughly drench the soil until water flows out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. This will ensure the entire root ball is hydrated before the plant dries out again.


During the growing season, fertilize low light houseplants every few weeks at half the recommended strength. Use a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, such as 10-10-10. Dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 the recommended strength to avoid fertilizer burn. Fertilizing will provide nutrients to encourage healthy growth, even in low light conditions. In the fall and winter, reduce or stop feeding altogether when growth slows down.


Pruning low light houseplants should only be done to remove dead or dying leaves and stems. Limit pruning, as it can stress the plant in low light conditions. Only prune up to 1/3 of the plant at a time. Use sharp, clean pruning shears and cut stems at their point of origin.


Low light houseplants typically grow at a slower rate, so repotting is only needed every 2-3 years. When repotting, move up one size and use a well-draining potting mix. Repot in the spring, before the start of the growing season. Make sure the plant is slightly root bound before repotting to avoid excess moisture in the soil.

Following these tips will help your low light houseplants thrive. Pay close attention to their needs and make adjustments as necessary. With the proper care, your houseplants can live healthy lives even in low light environments.

Creative Solutions for Increasing Light Indoors

Creative Solutions for Increasing Light Indoors

When you don’t have access to bright light in your home, you’ll need to get inventive to keep your houseplants happy and healthy. Try these tricks to boost the light for your plants without rearranging your entire living room.

Supplement with grow lights. Grow lights are artificial lights designed specifically for plants that provide full spectrum light that mimics natural sunlight. You can find inexpensive LED grow light bulbs that screw into regular lamps and provide more than enough light for most common houseplants. Place the lights as close to the plants as possible, within 6 to 12 inches for the best results.

Reflect natural light. If you have a window that gets some light but maybe not quite enough, try placing a mirror opposite the window to reflect more light onto your plants. The reflected light will significantly increase the total amount of light reaching your plants. For the best reflection, use a large mirror and position it to direct as much light as possible onto the plants.

Rotate plants regularly. If you only have one spot in your home that gets decent light, rotate your plants in and out of that spot. Even spending a couple days a week in a good light source can make a big difference. Establish a schedule for rotating your plants and stick to it. Some light is better than no light!

Use transparent materials. Place your plants on a table, stand, or shelf near a window and cover it with a transparent material like acrylic or glass. The material will trap and magnify the light, focusing it on your plants. Just be sure there is some space between the material and the plants so they don’t overheat. Open the covering for an hour a day to allow for air circulation.

Increase humidity. Low light often also means lower humidity, which many houseplants need. Mist your plants with a spray bottle, place them on top of pebbles with some water added, or use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. The increased humidity will help make up for the lack of bright light.

10 Beautiful Low Light Houseplants to Brighten Up Your Home

When it comes to houseplants, we often think they require bright light to thrive. However, there are many beautiful options that can do just fine in low-light environments. Here are 10 houseplants perfect for homes with little natural light:

Chinese Evergeen

This popular houseplant can tolerate low, indirect light. It’s easy to care for and helps purify the air in your home. Water when the top inch or so of soil is dry.

Snake Plant

The snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue, is a great low-light option. It produces oxygen and can live for years with minimal care. Only water when the soil is quite dry.


Pothos is a vining plant that can do well in low light. Its heart-shaped leaves will brighten up any space. Let the top few inches of soil dry out between waterings. Pothos can tolerate some direct light but does best in bright, indirect light.

Peace Lily

The peace lily produces beautiful white flowers and helps remove toxins from the air. It thrives in shade and low light. Water when the top inch or so of soil is dry, and mist with a spray bottle to increase humidity.

Chinese Money Plant

The round leaves of the Chinese money plant make it an attractive low-light option. It’s easy to care for, only needing moderate watering and feeding during the growing season.


With its colorful, strappy leaves, dracaena is a popular and easy houseplant for low light areas. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between waterings. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust.


The heartleaf philodendron with its trailing vines does well in low light and shade. Let the top couple inches of soil dry out between waterings. Wipe down leaves with a damp cloth to increase humidity.

Cast Iron Plant

The cast iron plant lives up to its name, tolerating low light and neglect. Only water when the top inch or so of soil is quite dry. Its dark green leaves can provide an tropical feel.

Chinese Evergreen

This houseplant helps purify the air and does well in low light and shade. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out between moderate waterings. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust.

Peace Lily

The peace lily is a popular houseplant for low light that produces beautiful white flowers. Water when the top inch or so of soil is dry, and mist with a spray bottle to increase humidity.


So there you have it, with the right plant selections and a few easy tips for providing the best care possible, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful indoor gardener. Even with little natural light, you can create a lush oasis in your home. Start with just one plant and go from there. Don’t get discouraged if you face a few failures along the way. We all had to start somewhere! The most important things are choosing plants suitable for low-light, providing supplemental lighting when needed, maintaining proper moisture levels, and fertilizing during the growing season. If you follow these best practices, you’ll be rewarded with happy, healthy houseplants that brighten your space for years to come. Now get out there and start nurturing your green thumb!

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