Call 855-660-4261 with your lawn & garden questions every Saturday from 8:06am to 10:00am ET. Then listen to Mort answer your questions. Or email anytime at
Listen to the weekly archive 24 hours a day 7 days a week on demand.
Indoor Gardens
Indoor Gardens Logo
Gardening In The Dark

I recently perused Pinterest looking for some novel gardening ideas and came across the most novel idea of all. A pin, complete with a lovely picture, purported to offer "Ten Houseplants You Can Grow In The Dark".

The idea that you can grow houseplants with no light is a fantasy unless you're content sprouting onion or potato vines. If you live in a dark apartment or in a house where sunlight is scarce and don't want to invest in artificial plant lighting, a more realistic goal is to grow low-light plants that have a chance to thrive in those conditions.

There are actually quite a few houseplants that will do well in less than brilliant light and it's merely a matter of seeking them out. Most of them can be placed several feet away from a bright window without suffering or can be grown in a north window. Here are a few that may work for you.

Snake Plant, aka Sansevieria, is probably the ultimate low-life plant. It's stiff, upright, sword-like leaves might look a little severe, but variegations in the color keep the plant interesting. They're succulents so they can tolerate both low light and rather long periods without water.

Philodendron may seem common, but its attractive, vining nature and ease of care make it clear why it's retained its popularity. It doesn't want direct sunlight, which will burn the leaves. Like the snake plant, it has the additional advantage of tolerating dry soil.

Spathiphyllum is a bit more fussy than the other contenders, but its creamy white spathes make it worth its finicky temperament. Don't forget to water this one, though. It will droop and play dead if you become stingy with the watering can.

With its quiet, unassuming appearance, Pilea, sometimes called Aluminum or Watermelon plant, is not seen as much as the others. But it makes a nice, fairly quick-growing addition to the indoor garden with the bonus of silver-veined leaves that are quite interesting up close. It can get leggy as it gets older, but regular pinching of the leaves keeps it looking full.

Low light gardening can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. Picking the right plant for the right spot will help ensure success without leaving you or your plants in the dark. 3/27/17