9 Houseplants Perfect For Apartments That Don't Get a Lot of Natural Light
Ever wonder why you just can't keep plants alive? The trick is picking the right ones. And if you're an apartment dweller, you might be surprised just how many options you have! While most of the plants you see on your Instagram feed or on design blogs tend to require lots of light (think succulents and cacti), if you're willing to branch out a little, you might just find the right plant for your space. From trailing vines that look great on a bookshelf to compact desk companions, read ahead for some of our favorite low-light plant options.
— Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes
Ferns are a bit fussier than the other plants on this list, but they're a beautiful addition to your low light space. Because ferns grow on the forest floor in the wild, they're used to dark spaces with a bit of indirect light. They do best in humid conditions, so unless you use a humidifier, you may have to mist them occasionally. This also makes them a great bathroom plant!
Cast Iron Plant
When in need of a plant that can pretty much tolerate any kind of living conditions, the cast iron plant might be the one for you. It's a shade-loving plant that does well in both dry and humid climates — so it's great for people who forget to water their plants occasionally. If you're looking for something quick-growing, you might want to skip the cast iron plant. But when they get bigger and bushier, it's totally worth it.
Madagascar Dragon Tree
If you're looking for a hint of the tropical but don't have the light to sustain a small palm, the Madagascar dragon tree is an excellent alternative. It's a pretty hard plant to kill, and it bounces back from neglect quickly. It needs a bit of pruning to prevent it from getting too wild, but otherwise requires minimal attention. Just keep the soil moist and keep it out of the sun.
Split Leaf Philodendron
If you love the ease of the heart leaf philodendron but prefer a more substantial plant, try the split leaf philodendron. They're starting to pop up in more and more design blogs and are a gorgeous low-light plant. Consider them the low-light alternative to the fiddle leaf plant! You can keep them in almost all levels of light, but not direct sunlight. Just keep their soil damp and they'll be happy and healthy.
Heart Leaf Philodendron
Philodendrons are a popular choice for low-light spaces because of the huge variety. The heart leaf philodendron is on the smaller side and would be at home on a bookshelf, desk, coffee table, or hanging planter. It's notoriously easy to grow and will thrive in almost any level of indirect light — just don't put it in the sun!
Another plant that thrives on neglect is the ZZ plant. They're popular in offices and other buildings without much sunlight, but they're starting to become a popular choice for homes too. ZZ plants have shiny, dark green leaves and long, thick stems that can grow quite tall. They're similar to cacti in that they don't need much water, but so much easier to look after in terms of light. Stick one in your darkest corner and watch it thrive!
Pothos are often mistaken for philodendrons, and they're very similar. They thrive in both bright light and low light situations and don't really need any specific care. Variegated pothos plants (green with white lines) are likely to lose their variegation in lower light, but don't let that deter you. If you buy one and it does well, you can take cuttings from it and grow more!
The adorable ponytail palm isn't actually a palm at all, so it doesn't have all the same needs as a palm. Ponytail palms are a popular choice for bonsai because of the bulb at the base of the plant, which also helps make them drought-tolerant. While they're used to bright light, keeping them in low light is a good idea to keep them from growing too quickly as they can reach up to 30 feet high! So keep that guy in a dark space to keep it houseplant size.
If you've tried every other plant on this list and still haven't had any luck, it's probably time to get a snake plant. While they're a great choice for some visual appeal, they're also one of the hardest plants to kill, making them ideal for apartments. You can neglect them for weeks and they still look great, and they even purify the air in your home.