Looking to bring a little greenery to that dim corner of your room?
Nothing can breathe life into a dark space like a gorgeous indoor tree. That's why we've compiled a list of the best trees that thrive in less-than-sunny spaces.
These eight low-light indoor trees not only survive but also flourish with minimal effort on your part. So, even if you're not a green thumb, you can still enjoy the beauty of these statement trees in your home.
Here are indoor trees that love indoor low light (and five that much prefer the sun).
Trees That Love Low-Light Environments
1. Lady Palm
If you're looking to add some tropical appeal to your indoor space without the hassle of constant sunlight, the Lady Palm may just be your next plant pick. This is a slow-growing beauty with slender, fan-like leaves and lush greenery, standing tall at up to 12 feet.
These indoor palm trees certainly won't wither away in your corners. They thrive beautifully without the need for bright sunlight.
There are three popular varieties of Lady Palm for indoor cultivation, namely the Thailand, Miniature, and Large Lady Palm. Among these, the Large Lady Palm is the best-suited option for rooms with low light. They can adapt to darker corners, making them a perfect fit for those not-so-sunny spots.
In the summer, water the Lady Palm more often, and in the winter, let it dry out between waterings.
2. Rubber Plant
An enduring favorite of indoor gardeners, the Rubber Plant is a versatile and easy-to-care-for addition to your home. These trees can reach a height of 6 to 10 feet indoors, and even taller if grown outdoors.
One of the reasons for its popularity is the variety of colors it offers. The broad and waxy leaves can come in various shades of greens, with some varieties showcasing flecks of creams, yellows, and even pinks.
Their tropical background allows them to thrive indoors, even in lower lighting conditions. If you want faster growth, opt for a larger, more established tree, as smaller ones may grow slowly in low light. Once your Rubber Plant has reached the desired height, it can comfortably survive in lower light with little trouble.
The Rubber Plant is relatively easygoing, tolerating some neglect now and then. They prefer moist soil but won't mind drying out a bit before the next watering.
3. Dragon Tree
The Dragon Tree, also known as the Madagascar Dragon Tree, is a great addition to your home with its unique appearance and minimal need for direct sunlight. While they do enjoy natural sunlight, they can easily thrive without it - just a tad slower in growth.
This is the perfect indoor tree for adding a touch of drama to your space. The narrow blade-like leaves edged in either red or purple add texture and color, making it stand out in your collection.
These low-light indoor trees are also great for newbie gardeners or those who tend to forget their plant duties. These hard-to-kill wonders are low-maintenance, requiring watering only when the soil is completely dried out.
4. Parlor Palm
Also known as the Cast Iron Plant, the Parlor Palm/Neanthe Bella Palm is known for its love of indoor spaces. It even earned its name for being a prized position in Victorian-era parlors.
With their tropical fronds and bamboo-like stems, Parlor Palms bring a touch of summer to any space, adding a delightful and refreshing vibe. they also thrive in low-light conditions, growing to around four feet tall comfortably.
Caring for a Parlor Palm is also quite easy, it doesn't demand high humidity levels, and you only need to water it every 1 to 2 weeks.
5. Kentia Palm
Want to bring a lush and tropical vibe to a room? The Kentia Palm is a great pick! The leaves of the Kentia Palm are stand-out features, resembling feathers that can grow up to 7 feet long. With its graceful and dark green crown of up to three dozen leaves, the Kentia Palm exudes a tropical appearance.
Kentia palms have earned a reputation for thriving in tight spots and enduring adverse conditions, such as low light, lack of water, dust, and even neglect. So, if you're not a green thumb, this is the plant for you.
This indoor tree loves indirect bright light, but it's perfectly fine with low-light conditions too. Though it's a slow grower, low light won't affect its growth one bit.
You can place the Kentia Palm in a north-facing window or a dimly lit corner, as long as its other needs are met. Keep the soil moist, humidity levels high, and maintain warm temperatures.
Trees That Can Tolerate Low-Light Environments (But Prefer More Indirect Light)
6. Money Tree
With its braided trunk and distinctive five-lobed leaves, the Money Tree is an eye-catching addition to any home. And of course, it's it can do well in low-light spaces. However, if you notice your Money Tree looking a little leggy, you might need to move it closer to a light source (north or east-facing windows can be perfect).
Legend has it that money trees bring good luck to their owners. So, if you're seeking a touch of luck without much fuss, the low-maintenance Money Tree could be the ideal choice for your indoor sanctuary.
The Money Tree is truly a show-stopper as a houseplant and is often used as a bonsai. Their thin trunks are perfect for braiding, and they're often sold in this unique form. Over time, the trunk hardens, adding to its distinctive appeal.
When it comes to growing the Money Tree indoors, providing it with soft, indirect light will do the trick for its development. As it grows, it transforms into a magnificent indoor tree that can reach heights of up to six feet or even more.
7. Corn Plant
The Corn Plant is a reliable houseplant that is perfect for brightening up empty corners. As members of the Dracaena family, these unique trees boast long, slender leaves that gracefully grow upward from thick stems, resembling palm trees.
A Corn Plant will certainly be an eye-catcher in your home. The leaves show off a wide yellow stripe down the middle. But it's not only decorative - it's functional too! The Corn Plant has been shown to filter various indoor air pollutants.
Great for beginner growers, it's one of the toughest houseplants out there and can survive in almost any indoor environment. While it can tolerate low light conditions just fine, it thrives best in filtered bright indirect light, so avoid direct sunlight.
And if you're lucky, you may see your Corn Plant bloom. While rare for indoor plants, fragrant, creamy-white flowers can blossom with good care.
8. Areca Palm
Without a doubt, one of the most beloved indoor palms is the Areca Palm, also known as the Butterfly Palm. With its lush, feathery fronds and silvery-green trunk that matures into a charming yellow hue as it grows, it's perfect for any space.
Areca Palms crave a full day of bright, indirect light. So, put them near a south or west-facing window with a sheer curtain for the best results. They thrive best in filtered light but can also survive in lower light conditions too.
To keep this indoor palm happy, give it slightly acidic soil with good drainage. Moderately moist soil is best - not too dry, not too soggy.
During summer, get ready for a pop of yellow flowers as they peak through those big, arching fronds.
5 Trees That Won't Thrive in Low Light
If you have a home blessed with plenty of natural light throughout the day, you've got the perfect setup for growing all sorts of indoor trees.
Now, while the 8 indoor trees we mentioned above are perfect for brightening up those dim corners and odd nooks, these next 5 trees are sun lovers.
So, if you're looking for the perfect piece of statement greenery in your dimly-lit space, it's best to steer clear of these...
1. Fiddle-leaf Fig
The Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) is a well-loved indoor tree known for its impressive large, glossy, and heavily veined violin-shaped leaves. It's a real showstopper and makes for a fantastic focal point in any room.
While Fiddle-leaf figs aren't too demanding when it comes to care, they have one crucial requirement - plenty of bright indirect sunlight year-round. Sadly, this means they're not the best fit for low-light corners.
Without sufficient light, their leaves may turn yellow and fall off, taking away from their signature bushy and full appearance.
2. Norfolk Island Pine
Unless you're lucky enough to live in Hawaii, South Florida, or another subtropical area, growing the Norfolk Island Pine indoors is the way to go.
The Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is a lovely indoor tree that might remind you of a small Christmas tree. Thankfully, the pine needles are much softer!
To keep the Norfolk Island Pine happy and healthy, it prefers cool rooms, moderate watering, and plenty of bright indirect sunlight. The more indirect sunlight it gets, the more it will thrive.
3. Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia) may not be a true tree, but its impressive height and elegant stems make it look like one. With its large, fan-like, banana-shaped leaves, it takes up a significant amount of space, adding a tropical touch to any room.
The real showstopper is undoubtedly its flowers: a mesmerizing display of orange sepals arranged in a fan shape, bordered by elegant blue petals, all emerging from a deep green covering.
But these beauties don't fare well in low-light conditions. As a plant native to South Africa, it needs plenty of direct sunlight to thrive and maintain its rapid growth. They're also quite thirsty plants, requiring consistent watering and moist soil to stay healthy.
4. Ponytail Palm
If you've got an office space basked in plenty of light, the Ponytail Palm makes the perfect desk decoration. Just take a look at the ponytail and you'll see how it got its name. Its long, flowing leaves cascade around its thick trunk, resembling a ponytail.
Despite being low-maintenance, the Ponytail Palm does have one requirement: it loves bright sunlight. While it doesn't need frequent watering and requires minimal upkeep, it will need plenty of full sun or bright light.
5. Banana Tree
When it comes to creating an indoor tropical paradise, the Banana Tree is hard to beat. Their large, wavy leaves instantly bring to mind the lush tropical settings.
For the best growth, the Banana Tree requires a minimum of 6 hours of direct light straight from the outdoors daily. Unfortunately, indoor light just won't cut it, so consider this beauty as a patio plant.
And if you decide to go for the Banana Tree, opt for the Dwarf Banana Tree to avoid dealing with the unmanageable size of other variations.
What is considered low light for indoor trees?
Low light means the plant is not receiving direct sunlight. Low light is measured in foot-candles using light meters. Most indoor trees on this list require around 100-500 foot candles of light. It could be positioned a few feet away from a light source, such as a sunny window.
How do I know if my low-light indoor tree is receiving too much sunlight?
It's pretty easy to spot if your low-light indoor tree is getting too much sunlight. Keep an eye out for signs like wilting or discolored leaves - they might turn yellow or brown. Another sign is any scorched or bleached patches on the leaves, indicating that it's getting too much sun.
So there you go, the perfect trees for low-light spaces
If you're looking to add greenery to dimly lit spaces, these eight low-light indoor trees are your perfect solution. Flourishing with minimal effort and low light, they bring life to any space. They're even perfect for the busiest folks - or those who lack a green thumb.
Get your weekly fix of interior design inspiration
Delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning