Houseplants are all the rage, and for good reason: the benefits of houseplants are numerous. They are mood-boosting, air purifying, and some (like the aloe vera) can be used for first aid. And, according to WebMD, “Learning to nurture a living plant may help lower anxiety, improve attention, and lessen the severity of depression.” And, as if that wasn’t enough incentive, a happy green plant can instantly elevate any interior space with a pop of color.
With so many positive attributes, who wouldn’t want to join the plant-craze?
But, I’ll admit, getting used to being a “plant parent” isn’t always easy. Especially with some of the more popular plants, (looking at you, Fiddle Leaf Fig) the reality is that your home might not have enough light or the even the proper humidity levels to keep your plant happy…or alive.
As you might have guessed, I’ve killed a Fiddle Leaf Fig (or two) and ever since, I’ve been on the hunt for houseplants that don’t need a lot of sun, and are low maintenance.
Here are 8 of my favorite plants that put up with my less than ideal light as well as my less than perfect watering habits.
1. The ZZ Plant
This was one of my first plants, and it is still going strong on my kitchen shelf. The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, or ZZ for short, is a great beginner plant. You really can’t go wrong with this one because it is super low maintenance. It doesn’t require much water, or much sunlight, and can grow quite tall, even in a small pot. However, it is toxic if eaten, so be sure to keep this plant up on a shelf away from little ones and or your furry friends.
2. Snake Plant
This plant is another easy plant to care for, and like the ZZ plant can get quite tall. It doesn’t require much sunlight and only needs occasional water. However, don’t expect it to grow much if it stays indoors year round. If you want a large, floor-sized plant, you’ll need to purchase a bigger snake plant in the first place. My snake plant hasn’t changed much in the 5 years I’ve had it.
3. Coffee Tree
I know, I probably had you at the name… but don’t get too excited because you won’t be able to brew your own cup of coffee with beans from your own plant (unless you really put in the effort). However, don’t let that discourage you! Coffee Trees are very pretty even as little plants! Coffee trees will grow without too much light, although if you have it, they’ll be happy about that too. They do like to be watered at least weekly, but the best part about them is that they visibly droop when they need water, and bounce back really well once watered.
This may be my personal favorite and it is easily the most “Instagrammable” plant I own. That said, it is a bit more picky in terms of light requirements. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves, but if it doesn’t get enough indirect light it won’t grow new leaves. If it could have it’s way, it would have ample amounts of indirect sunlight. I have managed to maintain my monstera indoors about 8 months of the year, and move it outdoors to a shaded spot every summer to rejuvenate it. Most importantly, don’t be discouraged if it begins to have yellow or brown leaves, it is surprisingly hardy and might just need a little attention. On multiple occasions I’ve thought mine was about to die before it sprung back to life.
5. Flapjack Succulent
This plant is one of only two succulents to make the cut for my lower light requirements. And admittedly, it does much better in the summer when I move it outside and use it as my patio table centerpiece, but it does survive the winter indoors without becoming too leggy, which is the problem I have with most succulents. Bonus that this plant doesn’t need much water, especially over the cooler winter months indoors.
6. Aloe Vera
Another hardy little survivor, this succulent has adapted to my medium to low-light and infrequent watering schedule quite nicely. I’ve always read that aloe vera needs bright light, but mine has been chilling pretty far away from a window and has still been doing quite well. Like most low light succulents, the aloe won’t grow very fast, but that’s okay with me because it means it needs less frequent watering! Aloe vera is also touted as having many first-aid and cosmetic benefits when applied topically. Many claim the gel from inside the plant will reduce pain from a burn, help clear up acne, and fight signs of aging. To be honest, I’ve never tried any of these for myself, simply because I’ve never been able to bring myself to break off a piece of it!
Admittedly, this isn’t my favorite looking plant aesthetically. It’s making my list because it’s one of the easiest hanging plants to grow indoors and I do love a good hanging plant! Pothos will tolerate low light, and it doesn’t require too much watering either — which is a necessity when you have to climb on a chair to water it!
8. Dancing Bones Cactus
Personally, I think this is a cactus in name only. When I hear cactus, I expect prickly spikes, but not with this one! The dancing bones cactus is very easy to care for, and as an added bonus, won’t impale a finger while trying to re-pot! Both in terms of light and water requirements, this plant is pretty easy going — another great beginner plant!