Many people enjoy keeping houseplants, but get discouraged because not every room has the advantage of being bright and sunny. There is a solution for this dilemma in the form of plants that are tolerant or even thrive in low light conditions. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as vines and bushy types or upright stalks and even some that flower.
There are hundreds of different kinds of philodendron, though it has been debated precisely how many there really are. There are two types; some are large leafed and upright and others are climbing or low growing vines. The arrowhead is a dark green leafed vine that gets the name from the arrow shape of the leaves. Not only does this plant grow well in low light conditions, it will also forgive you if forget to water it. They are very versatile and can be trained to grow up a wall or stick, or you can set it on a table or put it in a hanging pot. Some people like to grow them along wire sculptures of basic shapes such as hearts or diamonds. If the vines get too much and out of control, simply trim them down; these trimmings are handy to use for propagating a new plant. Use a standard potting mix and fertilize it every three weeks during the summer months.
This plant does not actually grow corn; it just resembles the one that does. The corn plant grows tall in a single stalk and it tends to lose the lower leaves as it grows new ones. You can prune off the top of it to use as a cutting to grow a new one. It is a good idea to do this every year anyway to prevent it from becoming too top heavy, and as a result it will grow new shoots at the base that will help hide the bare cane at the bottom. Use a heavy ceramic pot to help prevent it from tipping over if you do prefer to allow it to grow tall. Corn plant does not necessarily prefer low light but will grow reasonably well in these conditions. Plant it in an all-purpose potting soil and fertilize it twice per month from spring and through the fall season.
The peace lily originates from the tropical rain forests of South America and is naturally accustomed to living in the shade of much larger trees and plants. It grows lush, dark green leaves and not only does it actually thrive in low light, it will grow delicate lily flowers if it is provided with the ideal conditions. To help it bloom, use a peat moss based potting soil and keep it well watered. Set it in a tray full of rocks and water to increase humidity and be careful that the water does not touch the roots as this could cause them to rot. Mist it once or twice a day; fertilize it every couple of weeks with a liquid fertilizer and you will soon be enjoying miraculous, white lily shaped flowers.
The unique thing about lucky bamboo is that it can be kept in a vase full of water and gravel and it will grow roots and be content to live in this manner. It is used in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui and represents a successful union of wood and water. Lucky bamboo stalks are traditionally kept together in certain numbers that represent qualities you would like to attract in your life, such as six stalks for wealth or eight stalks for fertility. Direct light will damage and possibly even kill this plant; it prefers indirect to low light conditions. Chlorinated water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off, so use distilled or filtered water for them. Give the lucky bamboo a watered down liquid fertilizer a few times during the growing season, keep it warm and you should be able to enjoy it for many years.
Mother in Law’s Tongue
It’s funny because this plant gets its name from its long sword shaped leaves that end in a sharp point. It is a succulent that originates from South Africa, and is traditionally used to make items such as rope, which is a testament to the durability and strength of its fibers. Mother in law’s tongue is tolerant of low light conditions and is super easy to care for; proof of this is the popularity of keeping them in offices and malls. This plant likes to be slightly pot bound, but you can put it in a slightly larger pot every spring until it is the size that you need. Mother in law’s tongue grows best when you let it dry out between watering and will do poorly if it is over watered. You can use an all-purpose soil and feed it with a weak liquid cactus fertilizer once per month during the summer.
Cast Iron Plant
Cast iron plant gets its strange name from the fact that it is very durable; it can live through abuses such as low water and low light conditions. It is a low growing bushy plant that grows from a central stalk. It averages in overall height of about 3′, and sports dark green foliage made up of long, hardy leaves. This is the perfect plant for those individuals who want to set it in a corner and occasionally care for and admire it. Cast iron plant can be picky in that it will go into shock when and if it is re-potted, so it is a good idea to set it in a permanent pot and leave it be. In fact, any kind of fussing will make it unhappy, so do just give it some water occasionally and be sure to let it dry out completely for at least a few days. It grows very slowly so it is a perfect decorating choice in that it will not outgrow the space that you choose for it for many, many years. Give it some liquid fertilizer about once per month during the summer growing season and then simply leave it alone.