Indoor Plants for Dark Rooms

Updated April 17, 2017

Grow indoor plants successfully in dark rooms by choosing varieties that thrive in low light. The houseplant experts at the University of Illinois tell us that lowlight conditions for plants are defined as follows: a few feet away from a north-facing window, 3 to 10 feet from an east- or west-facing window, and 15 to 20 feet away from one that faces south.

Peacock Plant (Calathea makoyana)

The peacock plant is a perennial with dark green leaves marked with white, light green or pink, and bears purple or white flowers. It's a native of eastern Brazil that grows up to 4 feet tall and abides happily in full shade. Peacock plants are hardy in USDA zones 11 to 12 and need moist, well-drained soil and misting every few days. To keep the local humidity high, try standing pots on a well fitting tray containing pebbles and water. After it blooms, reduce watering to give your peacock plant a break from fall through the end of winter, and resume watering just before spring.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Golden pothos is an easy-to-grow climbing vine with bright green, heart-shaped leaves marked with yellow and white. The plants multiply easily from cuttings. Indoors they reach a maximum height of 8 feet tall, so give your pothos a moss pole to climb and make it feel at home. You can control its growth and shape by pinching off unneeded stems. Allow the soil to dry out before watering, but be sure to mist often and water well during growth spurts. Golden pothos needs a minimum temperature of 12.8 degrees Celsius and is hardy in USDA zones 10 to 12.

Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

The prayer plant is a small, perennial evergreen with white flowers and light green leaves that feature red or pink veins; these fold up at night to resemble praying hands. Prayer plants are native to Brazil and grow up to 1 foot in height. They can be a good choice for hanging baskets as long as they're kept in a humid environment. Mist its leaves frequently and keep pots on trays full of wet pebbles to boost humidity. The plants need moist soil and frequent watering until the autumn, when a seasonal rest requires reduced watering. Resume a regular schedule of watering in early spring. Prayer plants are hardy in USDA zones 11 to 12.

Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

The Madagascar dragon tree is a low-maintenance, broadleaved evergreen plant with fragrant white flowers and long, thin grey-green leaves that take on a ball formation. As leaves age and die, they drop; it's not a sign of neglect. Dragon trees are hardy in USDA zones 10 to 12 and tolerate low light and drought well. This Dracaena grows as high as 6 to 7 feet, but you can cut off and root the crown to cap its growth---and also multiply your plants. The dragon tree requires protection from drafts caused by fans, doors and air vents and needs high humidity, so mist frequently or place it on wet pebbles in a saucer or tray.

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About the Author

Asba Lee is a former IT consultant who specialized in network administration and application development. Now a writer and academic instructor, Lee instructs GMAT, GRE and SAT courses. Lee loves to research and writes to learn new things, testing his thoughts and opinions.