If you think you’re not a plant person, think again. People who find themselves discouraged by keeping houseplants alive aren’t flawed — they just haven’t found the right houseplant to suit their lifestyle. You don’t need to raise precious orchids and bonsais to reap the benefits of filling your home or office with foliage. In fact, some of the simplest and most stunning houseplants are ones that tolerate low light and prefer not to be watered frequently.

People have been filling their homes with plants for centuries. Not only are houseplants visually pleasing, but recent research shows they actually improve air quality while boosting productivity and healing.

Recent studies by NASA show that plants play a vital role in improving the air quality of confined spaces. They pull trace levels of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air and convert carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. Several of the plants we’ve listed below — including spider plants, peace lilies, and snake plants — are on NASA’s list of top ten houseplants for improving air quality.

But you don’t need a greenhouse or any special abilities to reap the benefits of keeping houseplants. Although some houseplants are finicky and difficult to care for, there are others that are hardy, tolerant, and adapt well to low light. In the wild, some plants do best when they grow in the shade of trees or away from the sun — and those are exactly the types of plants that now thrive in your windowless office or shady corner.

How Do You Keep Plants Alive in Low Light?

How do you keep plants alive in low light?

Through the process of photosynthesis, plants harness the light energy from the sun and convert it into chemical energy that helps them grow. Put a plant in a dark box with no light, and you’re essentially depriving it of food.

Yet not all plants need bright, direct sun to make energy. You don’t need a greenhouse or floor-to-ceiling windows to give your plants the conditions they need to flourish. In fact, many of the houseplants listed below grow naturally in shady spots or on forest floors, where the canopies of trees will block and filter direct sunlight. Some houseplants don’t just tolerate low light — they require it.

But all this begs the question: how much light does your space actually get? Where should you put your plant? The easiest way to answer this is simply through observation. Which parts of your house have sun for long portions of the day? Do buildings or trees outside shade portions of your house?

If you want some extra direction, pull out the compass on your phone. In the northern hemisphere, south-facing windows will get the most light, while north-facing windows get the least. East-west windows will fall somewhere in the middle. If you’re purchasing one of the plants listed below, read through their specific lighting needs and consider placing them near an east-west or north window. If you notice that your plant has bleached leaves or the soil is baked dry, it’s probably getting too much light.

A few quick tips to buying plants online: make sure you read the size of the pot and the plant. Many of these plants are smaller than reviewers expected, but this is often a result of not taking a moment to consider the size of a 4” or 6” pot. Additionally, we’ve selected a range of hardy plants — but even the hardiest plant can struggle during shipment.

All of these plants receive stellar reviews, so most people received healthy, happy plants. But keep in mind that there are times when you might need to reach out to customer service if your plant struggled to survive the journey.

The Best Houseplants For Low Light

3 Fern Variety Pack With Care Guide by House Plant Shop

Three fern variety pack that can tolerate low light by House Plant Shop.

You’ll find ferns growing in almost every corner of the world, but they thrive in areas of high humidity. They’re particularly abundant on rainforest floors, where the humidity is high but light may be blocked by dense foliage. When you add ferns to your home, don’t be afraid to test them out in low light.

If your home is particularly dry, your ferns will appreciate occasionally being misted with water to replicate high humidity conditions. Ferns don’t reproduce through flowers and seeds. Instead, they reproduce through spores — structures on the leaf that contain all the genetic material needed to make new ferns.

This variety pack of ferns contains three different species in four inch pots. Each type looks a little different, and the shapes of the different types of leaves will add variety to your home. Reviewers wished the set came with an identification guide, but most people were able to figure out the variety of their plants with a little online research.

Love it? Click here to buy.

Birds Nest Fern Japanese Live Plant by American Plant Exchange

Birds nest fern that can tolerate low light by American Plant Exchange.

Not all varieties of fern need soil. In the wild, the birds nest fern is epiphytic, meaning it can grow on wood without soil. In your home, you can position this type of fern on a wall, plank, or piece of furniture. Pair your fern against a piece of driftwood or a stylish branch for dramatic effect. Like other types of ferns, they do best in high humidity and can tolerate low light.

These ferns are distinct from others for their wider, flat leaves (most ferns have lacy foliage). The more light your birds nest fern receives, the more the leaves will crinkle. Give it less light, and the leaves will flatten. If you’re growing it in soil, water weekly, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Also, be sure to mist your fern regularly if you are not planting it in soil.

These ferns are a wonderful choice for homes with pets — they are nontoxic to people, cats, and dogs. It arrives in a 6” pot, and reviewers found that their ferns were packaged well and incredibly healthy.

To read the latest reviews, click here.

Victorian Parlour Palm Chamaedorea Elegans by American Plant Exchange

Low light victorian parlour palm by American Plant Exchange.

The Chamaedorea Elegans, or Victorian parlor palm originally came from Central America, but they’ve been used as indoor houseplants since Victorian times. Today, they’re one of the most popular houseplants. Light, leafy foliage and adaptability to low light help them thrive inside. Although they’re slow growers, these palms can eventually grow up to two feet.

This plant comes in a six inch pot, and reviewers mostly found it arrived in good packaging. Several customers left reviews weeks or months after purchasing to report that their plant was alive and thriving. However, a few reviewers noticed mold in the soil after a few days.

To learn more, click here.

ZZ Indoor Plant Zamioculcas Zamiifolia by Costa Farms

Costa Farms ZZ plant indoor low light tabletop plant.

The ZZ plant, or Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, grows wild in several regions of Africa, typically in drought-prone areas. The mature leaves are dark green, but new growth is a vibrant, bright shade. They work particularly well in offices where it might be harder to water them reliably, and they’re beginner-friendly. Low light or bright sun are both fine.

This low-maintenance plant arrives in special packaging, and reviewers loved the color of the leaves and the rich texture of their ZZ plant. ​Several plant parents thought it was much smaller than they expected; don’t forget that the plant is 12 – 14 inches tall from the bottom of the pot, not the bottom of the plant itself.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Burgundy Rubber Tree Plant by Hirt’s Gardens

Low light burgundy rubber tree plant by Hirt's Gardens.

This easy-to-grow indoor plant boasts dark, glossy leaves in deep shades of burgundy. It’s the perfect contrast to a bright, light colored room or will add a splash of moodiness in dark decor schemes.

Native to the rainforests of India and South America, this plant benefits from bright, indirect light. Place it near a window or on a ledge near a window with curtains — the fabric will soften and filter the light for your burgundy rubber tree. It will tolerate low light, but the leaves will shift to a greener color.

Water when the top inch of the soil is dry, but be careful not to overwater. The leaves will drop if the plant gets too much water. Also be aware that this plant is mildly toxic to animals, so keep away from pets.

Reviewers were pleased with the company’s fast shipping and sturdy packaging.

To see pricing, click here.

House Plant Collection, Set of 3 — Parlor Palm, Spider Plant, and Snake Plant by Jmbamboo

Plant variety pack by Jm Bamboo that can tolerate low light.

This set of three plants is a perfect starting point for your houseplant collection. All three types are easy to grow but feature a variety of foliages, and they’ll do just fine near a window or on a ledge where they receive indirect light.

Reviewers were impressed with the speed and quality of the shipping. Several reviewers updated their reviews weeks or months after their purchase to say how healthy their plants remained. One or two reviewers who received less-than-healthy plants were impressed with the quick and efficient customer service.

Ready to buy? Click here.

Superba Robusta Snake Plant, Set of 3 by Jmbamboo

Snake plant variety pack from Jm Bamboo that can tolerate low light.

Snake plants are always a hardy household addition. Originally cultivated in China, it was believed that the eight gods would bestow ​long life, prosperity, intelligence, beauty, art, poetry, health, and strength​ on the cultivator. Today, they’re an adaptable, tolerant plant in households across the world.

Snake plants will tolerate many light levels, but they prefer an indirect light source. They are moderately toxic to animals and humans when ingested, so keep your snake plants on a ledge where pets and children can’t reach them.

Reviewers mostly received healthy, carefully packaged plants, and many were pleased with the elegance and hardiness of their snake plants.

To learn more about this variety pack, click here.

Peace Lily Clean Air Plant by Friendship Foliage

Peace lily indoor tabletop plant that can tolerate low light.

The peace lily is one of the most popular and beloved house plants. Because they can grow to be a few feet high in the right pot, they’re a favorite as floor plants. Dark, glossy leaves add a splash of moody green to your room. The peace lily is one of the few low light houseplants that bloom; they boast beautiful white flowers that can last for months.

Peace lilies will go through a period without flowers once their blooms wilt, so don’t panic if the flowers drop and don’t rebloom immediately. Although not a true lily, they derive their name from the similarity between their flowers and those of the calla lily.

Peace lilies are a particularly good choice for low light — in the wild, they tend to grow in shady spots in tropical regions. They don’t like direct sunlight. Peace lilies are a particular favorite among new plant owners because they’ll tell you when they need to be watered.

As soon as you notice the flowers and leaves drooping slightly, simply soak the soil and they’ll revive quickly. Alternatively, you can water your peace lily once a week.

Like it? Click here to learn more.

ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas Zamiifolia by Jmbamboo

ZZ plant by Jm Bamboo that can tolerate low light.

This little ZZ plant does very well in low light. Native to Kenya and other African countries, it adds a green, calming vibe to your desk, table, or as an addition to a terrarium. It’s also low maintenance; many reviewers noted that they could frequently revive their ZZ plant after forgetting to water it. They even praised it as perfect for “windowless offices” and rooms with very little light. ZZ plants are also nontoxic to pets.

Love it? Click here to buy now.

Siam Aurora Chinese Evergreen Plant – Aglaonema

Low light Chinese evergreen plant.

This is the perfect houseplant for adding a splash of leafy color to your office or home. Although they don’t typically bloom, the Siam Aurora Chinese evergreen plant has light green leaves with a vibrant strip of red or deep pink around the edge. Their color tends to be most vibrant in low or medium light, and their leaves may burn in direct, bright light.

Reviewers found this to be the perfect plant for a dim office or a shaded corner, and they were pleased with the packaging and shipping.

To read the latest reviews on this houseplant, click here.

To Sum it Up…

As long as you’re getting a little bit of light in your home or office, you can raise plants. You don’t need to have a green thumb or special conditions to be a proud plant parent. The most forgetful of us can find houseplants that tolerate dry soil and perk up again when we give them water and attention.

This list of houseplants includes ten easy-to-grow plants that will tolerate low light (and a forgetful owner!). They’ll add a beautiful visual touch to any room, help filter toxins from the air, and decrease your anxiety. Even if your home or office isn’t awash in sunlight, you can still reap the benefits of a flourishing houseplant.

Pssst…Check out Houseplants That Are Safe For Cats next.