5 Popular Houseplants That Prefer Indirect Light
If you thought all houseplants require direct sunlight to grow, then you'd be mistaken. "The amount of sunlight a plant needs depends on where it is from and its native environment," says Nika Vaughan, founder of Plant Salon. "If it is used to more indirect light, putting it in a spot with strong sun all day might cause it to burn."
Indirect lighting typically refers to any area of your home where sunlight passes through a medium, such as a window shade, before reaching a plant. "Plants that grow in indirect lighting should be placed in rooms with windows that get sunlight, but in an area that's away from the windows so they are never in the path of direct light," says Marcus Bridgewater of Garden Marcus.
Curious which types the professionals say will prosper in these areas of your home? A handful of garden experts share their favorite houseplants for indirect sunlight, ahead.
Commonly referred to as the "Swiss cheese plant," Monstera deliciosa is known for having large leaves with holes that allow dappled sunlight to shine through to the lower leaves, Vaughan notes. "I've found this variety to tolerate indirect lighting well while still looking big, bushy, and tropical," she explains. "I have a 12-foot tall one in my shop and am impressed by how adaptable it is to a wider range of light."
Looking for an eye-catching decorative houseplant that can thrive in this lighting environment? Daniel Cunningham, a horticulturist at Rooted In, recommends Chlorophytum comosum—also known as a "spider" or "airplane" plant. "These grow best in indirect and/or low light conditions," he explains. "They are popular because of their arching (sometimes variegated) branches that produce many offspring or mini versions of the mother stalk."
Better known as the "ZZ" plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolias are a great way to add foliage to an area of your home that doesn't receive a lot of sunlight. "Its shiny, waxy leaves grow on thick succulent stalks, and its roots grow round tubers for storing water," Vaughan shares. "This is the epitome of a low-needs plant, and I love that it can easily be moved and relocated in order to make room for varieties that need light closer to a window."
For a splashy option to brighten up a dim corner, Justin Hancock, a horticulturist at Costa Farms, says to look no further than the Aglaonema. "This group of plants come in selections that have pink, red, cream, chartreuse, white, and gold variegation, and they can grow pretty much anywhere, including spots with low light and low humidity," he explains, noting that they can also withstand a neglectful watering schedule. "Like most houseplants that tolerate low light, it's a pretty slow grower, so you don't need to worry about frequent repotting or it getting out of hand."
Popularly known as the "nerve" plant due to their delicately veined, dark green leaves, Fittonias are striking options that grow well in filtered, indirect lighting, Vaughan says. "The Fittonia is petite, dense, and ruffly; it is used to growing nestled under others," she continues. "It's a great one to grow tucked into a small grouping to shield it from too much direct sunlight."