Photo by Bryn Wallace

Foliage Houseplants for All Light Conditions

With so many houseplants to choose from, how do you pick? We’ve got a guide for you to select the perfect plant for your home, with a wide selection available that will thrive in everything from low light to bright light.

For Bright Indirect Light

Some plants need more light than a low light plant, but still cannot tolerate direct sun or the unfiltered light of a southern or western facing window. These plants do best in eastern windows, placed a few feet away from a southern window, or in southern or western windows with sheer curtains to filter the sun’s rays.

1: Monstera – One of the most popular houseplants right now with huge leafy foliage. These plants do not like to be dry, so they will take a little bit of watching over.

3: Fiddle Leaf Fig – Be prepared that this plant can grow quite large! Plan to water it once the top inch or so of the soil dries out, and rotate it periodically to ensure it grows straight and does not lean towards the window.

4 and 8: Rubber Plant – This deep green plant likes high humidity and filtered light. You may need to water it regularly during the growing season. In the winter, you may need to mist it or keep it on a humidity tray.

6: Alocasia – This plant will do well in indirect light and high humidity. Keep it away from the heater in winter, and place it on a humidity tray if needed. Allow it to dry out slightly between watering.

11: Stromanthe – Bright light is necessary to bring out the variegation in this foliage plant. Allow the top inch or two of the soil to dry between waterings.

12: Money Tree – Usually looks like a small tree with several trunks braided together. Give it a pot with good drainage and let it dry out almost entirely between waterings.

13: Spider Plant – When mature, this grasslike plant will produce ‘pups’ that you can clip off and propagate as new plants. Keep it in bright but indirect light for the best variegation.

14: Pilea (Chinese Money Plant) – Like the spider plant, pilea produce pups that can be separated and grown as their own plants. Allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings.

15: Red Polka Dot Plant – This plant likes to be kept consistently moist but can tolerate a variety of light conditions. Bright indirect light is best, since it can get leggy in a shady spot, but if you need to move it somewhere shaded it should do fine.

For Low Light

If your plant is placed in the darkest part of a room, in a north facing window, or in a window with trees blocking the sun, you have low light conditions. If you would find it difficult to sit and read a book in the space without a lamp, it’s low light.

2: Sansevieria (Snake Plant) – This plant is a great choice for plant beginners and people who like to neglect their houseplants. It can actually tolerate any level of light, so it can fit just about anywhere you need something green.

5: Canela Tree (Cinnamon plant): Related to the actual cinnamon we all love, this plant emits a cinnamon scent and thrives in low light. It can grow up to very large, and should be watered after the top inch or so of soil has dried out.

7 and 17: Calathea – A beautiful foliage plant that loves humidity and is not particularly drought tolerant. Take one home if you are happy to keep it well-watered!

9 and 20: Philodendron – These plants come in seemingly endless varieties and prefer low light, as direct sunlight can burn their foliage. Select whichever type, size and color suits you best.

10: ZZ plant – Like the philodendron, these plants do best in indirect light. They can go quite a while between waterings, making them a great choice for people who like a low maintenance houseplant.

16: Peperomia Peperomias showcase vivid foliage in shades of green. Darker colors tolerate shade very well. Keep an eye on your plant and move it to a brighter spot if you notice it’s pattern or color’s fading.

18: Pellionia Pulchra – These trailing plants do best in low light, as they naturally grow in the understory. This is a beautiful plant that’s good for people who don’t mind nurturing their plants a little bit – it loves humidity, dislikes drafts and should not be allowed to dry out.

For Direct Light

There are foliage plants which can handle the direct sunlight of a southern or western window. You can ask our team for more ideas, but here are a couple of excellent choices.

2: Snake Plant: As mentioned in the low light category, this plant will do fine in any light conditions. Be aware, if you place it in bright light, it will grow much faster than in low light.

19: Bird of Paradise: This bold tropical plant prefers bright, direct light. It’s large leaves will need occasional dusting. Allow it to dry out a good bit between watering.