Best Plants for Shady Places

Amber Randhawa Homeowner and Homebuyer Tips, Interior Decorating

One piece of advice that is often given for livening up a dark and drab room is to add a houseplant or two….but how do you keep your new green friend alive in a room with little to no natural light?  Believe it or not, there are many plants that actually thrive in low-light settings. Read on to find out what houseplants work best in dark, and even windowless room. Don’t be afraid to give these plants a try, even if you have had a black thumb in the past – these plants actually crave the shade!


Rattlesnake Plant

With long, spotty leaves that do seem to resemble the print of their namesake reptile, rattlesnake plants are a unique and fun addition to a dark corner or windowless room. Native to the jungles of Brazil, these plants live deep in the tree cover, receiving almost no natural light on the jungle floor. They also add a pop of color and personality to a room, due to the bright purple undersides of the leaves, and the fact that they can easily reach a height of 30 inches. And if conditions are right, they will produce bright orange blooms in the early spring.

Devil’s Ivy

This evergreen vine is native to the tropical Solomon Islands, and is known among plant enthusiasts as being nearly impossible to kill. Outdoor plants that freeze completely in winter will sprout again in the spring. Devil’s Ivy is rather drought tolerant, so you can safely forget to water it for quite awhile, and it’s relatively pest- and disease-free, making it an easy plant for even novice gardeners.  In fact, the plant seems to thrive on neglect. Draped over the edge of a hanging basket or clinging to an indoor trellis, Devil’s Ivy can reach a height/length of 6-8 feet.

Peace Lily

Peace Lillies are known as one of the best plants for air purification, and they are easy to maintain as long as you keep them warm and away from draughts. Another tropical plant accustomed to growing on the forest floor, they need limited light but plentiful water. If your peace lily is kept very happy, you’ll be treated to white blooms (actually these are white leaves not flowers) each spring and again in the autumn months.

Chinese Money Plant

This native of China is interestingly quite popular in Scandinavia. According to popular lore, a Norwegian missionary, took cuttings home with him in the 1940s, and shared them with friends and family. Those plants were spread throughout Scandinavia, and eventually the world, as people passed cuttings between friends. Even now, the plant is rarely sold in stores and most people start their own plant by receiving a cutting from a friend. Once you have one, your new friend will require a few hours of bright light each day, but an overhead light is fine – your Money Plant won’t know the difference between a fluorescent bulb or a sunny window.


Check out some of our other tips for decorating with plants!