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I Need House Plants for Shade and Low Humidity!

By: Jessie Keith

“I have no sunlight in my home. I need plants that will thrive without direct sunlight. Any suggestions?” Question from Susan of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Answer: There are loads of low-light house plants that will thrive in indirect sun. Just be sure to set them all as close to a lit window as possible! Because of the dry air in your part of the country, I have also selected plants that will withstand low humidity. Here are some good picks for you to try:

  1. Aspidistra

    Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior): As the name suggests, this large-leaved house plant is tough as nails. It will grow well in low light, low humidity, and can take irregular watering.

  2. Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata): Large, glossy, unusual leaves make this indoor tree a very attractive addition to the home. It is also a tough African native that likes partial shade and intermittent watering. Give this one a larger pot to grow in and space because it can easily reach several feet.
  3. Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata): This small, understory tree from Madagascar can take low light, drought, and dry air. Choose a pretty variety, like ‘Colorama’, which has red-striped leaves.
  4. Sanseveria

    Snake Plant (Sanseveria spp.): Also called mother-in-law’s-tongue, this succulent African native makes a beautiful addition to homes and will take low light and low humidity. For best looks give it filtered sun, room temperature, well-drained soil, and once-weekly water (twice-monthly water in winter).(Click here to learn more about growing snake plant.)

  5. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): This is another semi-succulent African beauty with tropical good looks that grows very well in low light and drier air. Care for it as you would snake plant.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

About Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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