Around this time of year is when I grow a little green with envy at those lucky ducks in Florida. The days are getting shorter, the clouds are growing thicker, and the sun suddenly seems very shy. We’re pretty close to the end zone for the plants still surviving outside, and when it comes to our indoor plants, Guelph is not always an especially forgiving place to live.
However, if I know anything about Canadian plant lovers, it’s this: we’re a tenacious bunch. When life throws us lemons, we grow lemon trees indoors. When we get pelted with snow and ice, we elevate our evergreens. When we’re left with only a handful of daylight hours, we soak them up with high-efficiency houseplants. These six, low-light indoor plants are all must-haves for the dimmest rooms in your home.
If you can’t live without indoor flowers, low light rooms aren’t off-limits. Peace lilies can get by with just about zero light—in fact, they’re sometimes called the “closet plant”. Keeping your peace lily in a literal closet is probably not their ideal environment, but they’ll do just fine in hallways or rooms with small windows. Their crisp, white blooms look serene and graceful, which can help create the illusion that there’s more light in the space than there really is.
Peace lilies are quite showy and also grow rather tall, so they do need a location where they can take centre stage. They look great on the mantel, on buffet tables, as dining table centrepieces, or on hallway accent tables.
If you’re a certifiable black thumb, you’ll have met your match with the ZZ plant. There’s nothing this stunning plant loves more than to be left the heck alone. ZZ plants have extraordinary, glossy, laurel-like foliage and look like they could easily be high-maintenance. In spite of their appearance, though, ZZs have little need for light or water. Your ZZ plant will manage just fine in a windowless room with barely a drop of water per month. For that matter, any more water or sunlight can cause the leaves to revolt and turn yellow—imagine the audacity!
You’d think a plant like this could barely grow taller than a low-growing moss, but ZZs tend to be surprisingly large. They make perfect accents for adding some life to laundry rooms, staircase landings, or any dull corners in your living, dining, or powder rooms.
Even if you don’t recognize snake plants by name, by now you’ve likely seen them around. These exotic-looking, upright plants are so named because of the snake-like growth habit of their rigid foliage. Snake plants have become very popular in shopping malls and waiting rooms because of their ability to survive with very little natural light. They’re also larger, statement-making plants that come with solid green or variegated leaves.
Due to their size and shape, snake plants look great next to couches and accent chairs. Try placing one in your basement rec room, dining room, foyer, or living room.
One of the main houseplants Guelph residents seem to gravitate to, pothos are beautiful climbing vines with large, heart-shaped foliage. There are several varieties in colour and pattern, from emerald green speckled with white to neon-bright chartreuse. They’re exceptionally popular for decorating high places, like the tops of cabinets, mantels, and high shelves. Their trailing habit and eye-catching leaves make a graceful accent for softening hard edges in the home. Pothos are well-known for their ability to thrive in low light, though they’ll also do well in bright indirect light.
A pothos would be very happy living on top of your bathroom medicine cabinet (provided there are no lightbulbs beating down on it), trailing across your mantel, or perched on a high shelf in your bedroom, kitchen, or office.
A plant that looks as colourful and exotic as the Chinese evergreen is not typically one we expect to thrive in low light. However, these lively-looking plants love to brighten up dimmer spaces. Chinese evergreens are characterized by their shock of sturdy foliage, which can feature any colour combination of green, red, burgundy, yellow, and pink. They’re an ideal plant for desks, counters, and tabletops due to their more compact size.
These fabulous plants look best on credenzas, kitchen islands, dining room tables, office desks, and coffee tables. Wherever you place it, make sure your Chinese evergreen is safe from cold drafts.
Easily among the most common houseplants in Guelph, spider plants are another nearly-indestructible option. Their long, slim variegated foliage is practically made for hanging planters. You can easily hang up a spider plant in a few minutes and forget about it for weeks. Since they’re so well-suited to suspended baskets, they’re perfect options for dim rooms with limited floor and shelf space.
Anywhere you can safely hang a spider plant from the ceiling is generally a good place for it. However, their compact size makes them ideal for dorm rooms, apartments, and shared workspaces.
What all of these plants have in common is that they’re all just as gorgeous as their sun-loving counterparts. Whether it’s January or July, these low-light champions are easy to incorporate into your interior decor and can be kept alive for years on end. After all, Canadian plant lovers are unstoppable—our houseplants should match!