Tropical Plants for Low Light

Typically tropical plants grow the best when you try to replicate the natural environment they usually live in. This would be bright light, airflow, warm temperatures and humidity, This is what the tropical countries are like and also the greenhouse they were likely grown in.

Skylights and sun rooms are the best and tropical plants just love them. You will have the greatest success with tropical plants if you try to emulate their native environment.

Indoor tropical plants need a good airflow like the wind, if they live in an environment of stale non-moving air for any length of time they will develop diseases and pests like scale.

Sanseveria - Mother in Law's Tongue

Sanseveria (Snake Plant, Mother-in-law’s tongue) This plant would be your first choice if you want to have something that you can repeatedly forget about and neglect to water for months on end and it will continue to look the basically the same.

This plant will form an ever expanding clump of strong spears of varying heights straight up to 3′-4′ high sometimes more.

The plant will continue to grow and its container won’t slow it down either. It’ll break the pot before it stops growing. So just be prepared to upgrade the container size or divide the plant at some point.

Some varieties of this plant are shorter with a more “flowery” shape with the spears fanning out more than standing straight and tall. These types are just as tough and great for smaller areas, some are even small enough to be on a desk..

Money Tree (Pachira) This tree just seems to exude good luck, maybe it’s just the name. This plant actually prefers to be in a lower indirect light environment. Any bright light or direct sun of any sort will sunburn the plant easily and quickly.

Pothos (Epipremnum) is another winner if you have a brown thumb. These are very easy to grow. I consider them to be “tropical weeds” they are so easy to grow. There are available with different combinations of green, yellow and white markings on their leaves. 

If you have decent bright light in your home then you can choose the beautiful “Marble Queen” variety with white and green on each leaf, otherwise choose one with more solid green if you have low light situations.

If you put a Marble Queen in an area with not enough light then eventually the new leaves will begin to grow solid green and lose the variegation on them. These like to stay evenly moist but will take a significant amount of abuse and forgotten watering, but they will perk back up after you water them.

Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) This is a very tough and tolerant plant too. It has big rubbery, thick leaves that hold their shape consistently. It Varigated Rubber Tree - Ficus elasticacomes in a variegated type as well, which is very beautiful with bright white edges.

The leaves store water and they can handle low water and forgotten water. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth when they get dusty, this will allow the plant to breathe more easily.

Zygocactus (Christmas Cactus) The Christmas Cactus is a very easy plant to grow too. If you don’t give it the best care then it’ll go into a sort of dormancy until the conditions improve. 

They’ll bloom just before and all throughout the Christmas season and longer, all you need to do is forget to water them in the few months leading up to Christmas and that will cause them to make buds.

Then keep it moist through the bloom time and you will see many beautiful unique flowers for a few months.

The number one thing that most people do incorrectly with their tropical plants is care them to death. It’s possible to take too much care of them and put them into distress. So a little less is better with these plants. 

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