Tropical Plants for Low Light

Typically tropical plants like bright locations, like the tropical sun. But there are some types of tropical plants that will tolerate a low light environment. If you have any amount of natural light in your home then there is a tropical plant variety available that will suit the conditions you have.

Try out the ones listed below and you’ll see that some plants can handle less than ideal lighting conditions. Generally if you chose something with all green leaves then it will do better than a variegated variety.

Skylights and sun rooms are the best and tropical plants just love them, but they are not entirely necessary. You will have the greatest success with tropical plants if you try to emulate their native environment.

Think about what the tropics are generally, they are warm, humid and probably a bit windy usually.  Indoor tropical plants need a good airflow, if they live in an environment of stale non-moving air for any length of time they will develop diseases and pests.

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 same.

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

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 hardy and tough.

Money Tree (Pachira) This tree just seems to exude good luck. Maybe it’s just the name, I don’t know. This plant actually prefers to be in a low 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 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 the new leaves will grow solid green and have no mottled colour 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 if 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 become 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, 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 is possible to take too much care of them and put them into distress. 

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