10 Indoor Plants That Do Well in Darkness

a chic living room with a black sofa, plants, and bookshelves with tons of books

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Not everyone has the luxury of living in a space that basks in natural light, and you may have one too many dead plants to prove that. But that doesn't mean you have to give up indoor plants for good; the key is just choosing plants that do well in a low-light environment.

"When shopping for indoor plants for low light, it is key to get happy, healthy plants," Ali Glockler, head of indoor at Harrison Green says. "Try to find a reliable vendor to buy your plants and find out the days they get deliveries. It's always best to get fresh plants rather than ones that have sat in a store and aren't cared for properly. When dealing with a low-light environment, avoid tropical plants at all costs. They need full sun and will not survive."

Meet the Expert

Ali Glockler is the head of indoor at Harrison Green, an award-winning landscape architecture firm in NYC.

Below, Glockler shares her favorite indoor plants that do well in darkness along with handy tips on caring for them to get you started.

01 of 10

Pothos

hanging pothos plant in a dark room

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  • Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 to 6.5

Want something that's super low maintenance and easy to care for? Choose any variety of pothos, also known as devil's ivy.

"They require low light and could basically be kept in your closet," Glockler says. "They're also great for people who forget to water regularly. Optimal care would be low light and water once a week. Let the soil dry out before watering."

Pothos
The Sill Marble Queen Pothos $40
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02 of 10

ZZ Plant

potted ZZ plant sits on a desk with an open laptop

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  • Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: All-purpose potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0

"Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZs for short) is a classic low-light plant and is super easy to care for," Glockler explains.

These plants can thrive on neglect—just make sure to water once a week and let the soil dry out between waterings. You can also propagate by separating clumps or with a little more effort using leaf cuttings. Keep out of reach of children and pets, as ZZ plants are toxic if ingested.

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia
Greenery NYC 10" Zamioculcas Zamifolia $90
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03 of 10

Snake Plant

Snake plant in jute basket with handles stands on floor

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  • Botanical Name: Sansevieria trifasciata
  • Sun Exposure: Low to moderate, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining cactus or succulent mix
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0

Sansevieria, also known as snake plants or mother-in-law's tongue, are majorly popular in interior design, and it's not hard to see why given they're fairly low maintenance. They can thrive in both bright light and low light, but water intake will depend on how much light they get. When in darker spaces, limit your snake plant's water intake—they're much more tolerant of drought than overwatering, so let the soil thoroughly dry out between waterings. Make sure your pot has good drainage, too, or your plant will be at risk of root rot.

snake plant in white pot
The Sill Snake Plant Laurentii $43
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04 of 10

Rubber Plant

rubber plant next to a bench in a dark room

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  • Botanical Name: Ficus elastica
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Fast-draining, all-purpose potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0

Rubber plants are a great choice for their beautiful foliage, and bonus: They thrive in low-light.

"They can also grow to have a unique shape and character," Glockler says. "Water once a week and clean leaves monthly—large leaves collect dust and prevent the plant from absorbing the sun's UV rays."

Steer clear of variegated cultivars for low-light spots, as those varieties need more sun to maintain their coloring.

Rubber plant in basket pot on a wood stool
PlantVine Ficus Elastica ‘Burgundy’ $50
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05 of 10

Wart Fern

Wart fern in a black pot with a wood stool in the background

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  • Botanical Name: Microsorum scolopendrium
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 4.0 to 7.0

Wart ferns are known for their characteristic wavy leaves.

"They are one of the hardiest ferns around—drought-resistant and ideal for low light. They provide unique foliage and a great deep green color," Glockler says.

Water them once a week and mist every two weeks, as they do best in high humidity.

Like most other ferns, wart ferns look great in a hanging planter. Be sure to give them plenty of space (at least a foot or two) to spread out.

Wart fern in grower's pot held by a woman
PlantVine Wart Fern $24
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06 of 10

Chinese Evergreen

four chinese evergreen plants in wicker baskets against dark gray wall

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  • Botanical Name: Aglaonema
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6 to 6.5

Aglaonema, most commonly known as Chinese evergreen, are ticketed as one of the easiest to care for house plants out there. For low-light environments, stick to darker varieties, as more colorful leaves may grow less vibrant without enough light, though they will survive. In nature, they grow in humid environments, so mist your plant often, and don't let the soil dry out completely. Aglaonema are very slow growing, so don't be surprised if you only need to repot every few years.

Silver bay aglaonema in a black pot
Modern Garden Aglaonema Silver Bay $65
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07 of 10

Weeping Fig

weeping fig in basket on wood floor

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  • Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Rich, fast-draining potting mix
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Choose a Ficus benjamina, commonly known as weeping fig, to aid in air purification.

"Ficus benjamina is very easy to care for and very hardy. You can get a small benjamina or a huge one. They require watering once a week," Glockler says. They love humidity, too, so these guys work great in bathrooms.

Keep in mind that like other ficus varieties, the weeping fig tends to drop leaves when it experiences a change in environment, so avoid moving it around too much. Remember that, like many ficus varieties, Ficus benjamina are toxic to pets and humans if ingested.

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Brighter Blooms Ficus Benjamina $90
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08 of 10

Peace Lily

Peace lily with white flowers on bedside table

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  • Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum
  • Sun Exposure: Low, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.5

"Spathiphyllum (or peace lilies) come in all shapes and sizes. Some varieties even have a pretty white flower as a bonus. They are low light and very easy to care for. Water once a week, and wipe the leaves clean of any dust monthly," Glockler advises, as peace lilies can have large foliage, and it's important to keep them clean.

If you have pets or children around, you'll want to keep them well away, as these plants are toxic to pets and humans if consumed.

Peace Lily
Pretty in Green Plants Peace Lily $24
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09 of 10

Asparagus Fern

overhead view of asparagus fern and coffee drinks on wood table

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  • Botanical Name: Asparagus aethiopicus
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining potting soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 6.8

The feathery asparagus fern, also known as Sprenger's asparagus, is easier to look after than most of its cousins. Actually, it's not a true fern at all, but rather a member of the Lily family. It does well in low-light spaces with delicate leaves that should be kept away from direct sunlight. Asparagus ferns prefer to be kept moist, both through at least weekly watering and frequent misting.

Asparagus ferns are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can even cause skin irritation, so be sure to keep them away from curious mouths and hands. Handle with gloves when necessary.

Small asparagus fern in a pot next to clippers
PlantVine Asparagus Fern $23
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10 of 10

Peperomia

overhead view of peperomia pepperspot plant in pot against blue painted wood background

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  • Botanical Name: Peperomia
  • Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining peat-based soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 6.0

"Peperomia are all the rage these days," Glockler says. "There are tons of varieties from the super-popular pilea to the awesome watermelon peperomia. They all have very different foliage and colors."

Because their leaves hold water like a succulent does, peperomia, also known as radiator plants, prefer to be on the drier side. Aim to water once a week but let the soil dry out completely before watering next. Most importantly: Keep out of direct sun.

Pilea peperomioides
Etsy Pilea Peperomioides $22
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