No major light source? No problem.

By Erica Sloan
February 01, 2021
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Searching for a plant to brighten up a particularly dark corner—one that doesn't see (much) light of day—in your home? Believe it or not, this isn't an impossible task. Some varieties can thrive sans plentiful sunlight. Simply look for ones with hearty green leaves, which photosynthesize like champs. "Rather than going the flowering route, focus on great foliage," says Tovah Martin, author of The Indestructible Houseplant ($13.49, amazon.com). Then, to keep them healthy in winter, up the humidity, advises Joyce Mast of houseplant company Bloomscape, particularly if the soil feels dry to the touch (test it with a finger). Mist them regularly, group them so they share naturally released moisture, or keep them on water-filled pebble trays. Here, a few shade-loving options.

Ferns

Nurturers, meet your soul mates: Ferns don't require much light, but are thirsty and need a drink about twice a week. When you bring one home, de-pot it and inspect the roots; they grow fast, so if they are tightly bunched, go up a container size.

Philodendrons

These bright tropical beauties like shadowy spots, because direct rays can scorch their glossy leaves. Water when the top half of the soil is dry, which should be every week or two.

Peperomias

Martin calls these mini rubber-tree replicas "radiator plants" because they're so resilient. Top them off when the soil's dry, once a week or so.

selaginella moss
Credit: Noe Dewitt

Mosses

To keep mosses, like Martha's selaginella, seen above, happy on all sides, rotate them a half-turn every other week, says Martin: "They respond best to balanced indirect light."

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