Best Indoor, Tropical and Hanging Plants for Low Light

Indoor, tropical and hanging plants are a great way to brighten up a home, especially when the winter brings darker, colder and shorter days. However, the change in conditions means some of our favorite plants which thrive in the summer may suffer in the colder months.

The change in light is crucial to bear in mind as winter approaches, as plants need light to live.

However, luckily for house plant enthusiasts, some plants can still survive and thrive in low light, or even artificial light conditions.

Lindsay Pangborn, Bloomscape's Gardening Expert, told Newsweek: "Light enables plants to photosynthesize, which creates the sugars they need to grow and thrive. It's no exaggeration to say that light is a plant's lifeblood, no matter what their preferred environmental conditions — they quite literally can't survive without it.

"To reiterate, plants absolutely need some kind of light source to grow — whether it is natural or artificial."

Speaking to Newsweek, Patch Plant Doctor Richard Cheshire explained how the act of photosynthesis helps plants to develop chlorophyll, which gives them their green pigment. Chlorophyll enables them to "create energy and keep a better hold of vibrant foliage, so a room without windows just won't do."

With all that being said, there are some plants which can withstand less light, or artificial light from the indoor, tropical and hanging plant varieties.

Our experts gave Newsweek tips on how to choose low light requiring plants, the best houseplants to buy and how to care for them.

How to Care For Your Plants in Winter

Plants
The best tropical and hanging indoor plants for low light Bloomscape

When investing in plants for low light, a key thing to remember is that all plants need light, so it will still need to be placed in as bright a space as possible, especially if you are hoping it might bloom.

Cheshire said: "Make sure you check how much light your plant needs before choosing a new place for it...

"It is possible for tropical plants to flower if they are placed in the right position, however this is less likely as plants actively grow and pollinate in the spring and summer. Make sure you double check where the light comes through your home at different times of year and move the plant to give it the best chance at producing blooms."

This is also the case for plants that are already in the home, as houseplants may need to be moved to prepare them for some colder months.

Pangborn said this can sometimes be something that eludes plant parents, so remember to bring your plants indoors during colder nights and potentially move the plants to adjust for changing light levels.

Plants
Examples of 'unkillable' plants, including the sansevieria Patch Plants

She continued: "Each plant has a different and unique light requirement and humidity preference. A good rule of thumb is that most houseplants will do best in spots with eastern or western facing windows. For plants that don't need so much sunlight, keep them farther away from the window so they're not receiving direct light that will burn the foliage."

Pangborn also revealed it is important to increase the humidity, suggesting ways to do this such as misting plants, using pebble trays to increase moisture around the plant, or placing it with other plants to create a microclimate.

Other suggestions, which are best for tropical plants that thrive in a rainforest-like atmosphere, include getting a humidifier or even giving your plant a lukewarm shower or bath to give them extra moisture and remove pests and dust from the foliage.

Cheshire agreed that misting can be a great for plants such as epiphytes, tropical, hanging plants which need watering when they are dry, but misting to keep them looking lush.

Both experts stressed how important it is to alter your watering patterns when it gets colder and darker, as generally, plants will need less to drink.

Pangborn told Newsweek: "When keeping a plant in lower light situations, you will need to adjust the amount of water you give your plant. Less light means less photosynthesizing, which means the plant will need less water to keep up.

"Watering too frequently can be detrimental because the roots will stay wet and be prone to root rot."

Finally, consider introducing an LED light for your plants which love to bath in the sun, as this is a way to keep them going in the winter.

The Best Plants for Low Light

Aglaonemas

Aglaonemas have shallow roots, meaning they are able to deal with little water, and are evergreen plants. The red aglaonemas are particularly beautiful with pinkish-red borders on their leaves.

ZZ plant

These are real showstoppers, with waxy leaves which can be in a variety of colors. They can withstand little water and low light, meaning they are great for beginners and for the winter months.

Calatheas

Calatheas can also come with pink and red flecks, and need a medium level of light. In winter these are best kept near to a window, but don't worry if your cat gets close to it on the window sill, as calatheas are pet-safe plants.

Plants
An arrangement of indoor plants Bloomscape

Dracaenas

Not only are dracaenas tall, bright plants, they also offer air purification qualities. They have bright, stick-like leaves and, more importantly, can survive in lower light.

Sansevierias

Sansevierias are included in the same genus as dracaenas, but are native to African countries, including Madagascar. They have wide, striped leaves and stand tall despite lesser light.

Ferns

Ferns are known as shade-loving plants but can withstand a number of different climates. They are pretty easy-going, and the Kimberly Queen is particularly good for a houseplant due to its more compact growing pattern.

Epiphytes

As these are air plants, they do not necessarily even need to be placed in a pot in order to thrive. An ideal spot for an epiphyte could even be on the bathroom mirror so it can enjoy the humidity from the shower - but some natural light is still essential for it to survive.