When it comes to the best indoor trees for low light spaces, you definitely have options, no matter what kind of look you’re going for.
You can also rest assured that these trees will be more than happy to stay inside and live off the low light in your home or office. In fact, in some cases, these tall indoor plants will thrive in a low light environment compared to if they were exposed to more light.
There’s also the added bonus that many of them are incredibly low maintenance. With only the occasional watering, your new low light indoor trees will be thriving, no matter how much – or how little – light they’re able to get in their new home.
Best low light indoor trees
1. Parlor Palm tree (Chamaedorea elegans)
The very name of the Parlor Palm shows how good it is for the indoors, having been named after the room it’s meant to be best suited to: the parlor! (Or basically the living room, for those of us not living in the 19th century…)
It’s the perfect indoor tree for low light spaces as it prefers being away from direct sunlight. In fact, even bright indirect sunlight can make this susceptible to disease as it can dry the leaves out too much. It’s actually one of the indoor trees that don’t need light from the outside, as it can thrive from a normal fluorescent ceiling light.
The Parlor Palm is also one of the low light indoor trees that’s safe for cats and dogs, as confirmed by the ASPCA.
This is in line with the fact that the Parlor Palm tree is one of the easiest indoor trees to look after, especially as it only needs to be watered once the soil dries out. It’s also considered as one of the large indoor plants where low light is better, as its fronds can grow up to six feet, so best to give it plenty of space.
2. Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)
When it comes to easy low light indoor trees that double as popular office plants, the rubber tree often springs to mind.
It’s easy to see why it’s so popular, with its shiny leaves making a great addition to almost any room. It can, however, be a good idea to make sure you wipe these down gently once a month or so to make sure any dust is removed.
And you can combine this with the fact that it’s fairly low maintenance. You’ll probably need to re-pot it every year as it grows until it reaches the height you want. You should also make sure your rubber plant has enough to eat and drink, as they do tend to suck up any sort of fertilizer you throw at it.
Do rubber trees do well in low light?
Rubber trees thrive in low light as they much prefer this to bright, direct light. Ideally, you would position it in an east-facing window where your rubber plant gets some morning light. That will, it will still get some light without being overexposed.
One thing to keep in mind if you do need to move your rubber tree is to make sure that you don’t move it from low light into full sun (or vice versa) in one hit. They can be a bit temperamental if they have a sudden change, which could result in its leaves turning yellow and ultimately dropping.
3. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
The weeping fig is another one of the more popular options for decorating with indoor trees preferring low light.
The fact that it’s so low maintenance is a bonus, as all you really have to do – besides dealing with the light issue outlined below – is plant it in soil that’s well drained and give it the occasional drink of water.
Can Ficus grow in low light?
Ficus can grow in much less light than many other plants of a similar size so it will do quite well in low light. That said, it does like the occasional burst of bright light, so it’s best to place it next to a window that gets some sun each day.
Be careful though of exposing it to any massive changes in light (or temperature) as it will start to drop its leaves if things swing too extremely from one to another. This is actually probably the biggest complaint of those who have a weeping fig indoors – leaf drop can get a bit irritating to deal with.
How much light does an indoor ficus tree need?
An indoor ficus tree needs some bright sunlight every day, as long as it’s not direct light. This is why the ficus tree does well as a low light indoor tree, as long as it gets some brighter light each day for a few hours.
If you don’t get your low light fig tree enough light, you’ll definitely know as it will start to drop its leaves. If that happens, try to reposition your ficus so it’s exposed to more light – but without this light being direct, as it won’t like that either.
4. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
In terms of the best tall indoor plants for low light, you can’t go wrong with the areca palm. It can grow up to seven feet high if you put it in a large enough pot, although keeping it in a smaller one is a good way to make sure your plant stays on the smaller size. This could be better for you, depending on the space in which you’re keeping it.
It’s also one of the more popular low light indoor palm trees, as it’s fine with being placed next to a window that only gets some light. In fact, this is much better for your areca palm than putting it in direct light, as this can cause its leaves to start turning yellow.
You’ll also know if it’s getting enough light as your areca palm will sprout small white flowers and purple fruit when it’s happy. Add in making sure that it’s watered about once every two to three days and your areca palm will be more than satisfied.
You may also be interested in: 22 Incredible Low Light Hanging Plants For Indoors
5. Lady Palm (Rhapis)
Having a large lady palm tree in your room can be a great feature – and it definitely helps that this is one of the better indoor trees for low light areas.
When it comes to lady palms, less light is more as they thrive when given a healthy supply of filtered, indirect light. If given enough space in its container, it can also become a great example of a tall low light indoor tree, with the possibility of it growing up to 14 feet high.
6. Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata)
When you’re looking to buy low light houseplants, the Madagascar dragon tree is a good option to consider. It’s probably why you can often find one of these hanging out in offices or other commercial spaces.
It’s even got a great party trick if you choose to keep one in your home: when you cut its stem, it oozes what looks like red blood. Nice.
The dragon tree is perfectly fine living its life as a low light indoor tree, especially as direct sun will burn its leaves. This means you should be careful when placing it near a window to make sure that it’s not east- or west-facing.
At the same time, it will let you know if it’s not getting quite enough light. If its leaves start dropping, this is probably your problem.
In terms of watering your dragon tree, it’s good to keep the soil moist without drenching it, as this plant isn’t a fan of soggy soil. It also prefers temperatures to be kept fairly reasonably, so try to keep it away from any drafty areas where it could be exposed to a hotter or colder environment than it’s used to.
7. Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans)
The corn plant doesn’t get its name because you can eat any part of it, but because its leaves look kind of like the leaves on a corn stalk. I’d also argue that its thick stem gives the impression that it’s an ear of corn, although the internet seems to prefer the leaves theory more.
And even though it may not be edible, at least the corn plant is interesting to look at, with its thick striped leaves and the curve of its trunk.
It’s also a really good low light indoor tree for anyone that wants one that’s easy to look after. The corn plant likes filtered or indirect light, as it can burn if put in direct sunlight, so be careful not to scorch its leaves if you position it too closely to a window where it could receive direct light.
The corn plant may drop some leaves when it first comes home from the shock, which should give you a pretty good hint that the same will happen if it’s over-exposed to light. The same can happen if it’s over-watered, so if the leaves start to turn yellow, you might need to make some adjustments.
8. Monstera (Monstera deliciosa)
The monstera is an Instagram favorite these days, part of the reason being that they’re pretty difficult to kill (and the other reason being they’re just pretty to look at).
This means that they can survive in almost any light conditions – although be careful, as they won’t do well if they don’t get any light at all.
And while they’re a good example of a low light houseplant tree that can survive in that environment, they may not necessarily thrive. That is, your Monstera won’t die in low light, but it will likely get quite leggy. If you want it to grow bushier, some brighter light or supplementing with an LED light to help your plants grow would be a good idea.
Related: What’s the Difference Between LED Lights and LED Grow Lights?
9. Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)
The Kentia palm tree is another one of the low light indoor palm trees that basically lives forever. It’s a beautiful looking plant and while it’s not as tall as some of the others on this list when grown inside, its fronds can extend up to eight feet long. This means that without some trimming, it can really become a large indoor tree, just maybe not in terms of its height.
It is, however, one of the indoor trees where low light and low humidity are both some of its favorite things, which is not something you always see when it comes to palm trees. Even when grown in nature, it doesn’t like direct light as the tallest ones found in the wild have gotten up to 50 feet tall – but always in the shade.
They don’t grow that fast indoors though, if at all, so it’s generally recommended that when looking for indoor trees for sale, you find one of these that’s about at the height you’d like it to stay.
When watering them, only do so when the top inch of soil feels dry. It’s also important not to repot this plant unless you really need to, as it’s renowned for having weak, fragile roots that probably won’t survive a pot transfer without breaking.
10. Janet Craig Dracena (Dracaena deremensis)
The Janet Craig Dracena is a great idea when looking to decorate with tall indoor plants that like low light, as its lush, thick leaves will look great in any home.
It also does fine in very low light as one of the indoor trees that doesn’t even need the occasional burst of brighter sunlight to thrive. Instead, direct light can scorch its foliage, so keep it happy inside in indirect light instead.
11. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
For low light indoor tree plants that also look great, the ZZ plant is a really good option.
It’s also very low maintenance, only needing the occasional drink of water in order to thrive. While it’s best to water it every week or so once its soil has completely dried out, it also won’t make a huge fuss if you forget for longer than that.
Low light is also no problem for your ZZ plant as it can even live well without natural light. In fact, this is exactly why we consider it one of the best plants for an office with no windows. What it really doesn’t like is direct sunlight, as this can burn its leaves. This means that as long as you keep it away from any windows where that could happen, you should be fine.
It’s also best to make sure that your ZZ plant avoids any cold drafts, as it prefers an environment closer to what your home temperature probably is. Similarly, unless you live in a really dry area, a lack of humidity won’t really be an issue here either.
12. Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria Heterophylla)
The Norfolk Island Pine is a low light indoor tree from Australia that’s made its way around the world. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to a Christmas tree, it can certainly survive well inside your home.
This is great for you as these trees do a good job at purifying the air. It’s also good for the tree itself if you live in a cold area, as the Norfolk Island Pine will die if exposed to temperatures of less than 35°F (around 2°C).
It is, however, worth mentioning that these trees don’t absolutely love low light, as they will do better when given brighter light. While it certainly won’t die if kept in low light conditions, you’ll notice a difference in terms of the strength of its trunk, its rate of growth and the density of its foliage.
You also have to be careful of making sure it’s near a consistent light source, whether it’s bright or low. This is because if there’s any major change in the light that it’s used to, it will drop its needles and they don’t ever grow back.
All of this is to say that while your Norfolk Island Pine will be fine if you keep it away from direct sunlight, there are other indoor plants and trees that will generally thrive more.
13. Calamondin Orange Tree (Citrus mitis)
You may be looking for some sweetness from your houseplants, in which case the Calamondin orange tree is one of the best indoor fruit trees for low light rooms.
Not everyone considers having fruit trees inside their homes but this is, in my opinion, a mistake. After all, being greeted by the scent of an orange tree like this one when you come into a room is definitely an experience.
They do, however, need a bit more maintenance than some of the other options on this list, so make sure you’re giving them all the food and water they need to thrive. Some people also recommend that your orange tree has a humidity tray to make sure the moisture levels stay where they need to be.
14. European Olive Tree (Olea europea)
An indoor olive tree isn’t usually at the top of everyone’s list of low light indoor fruit trees, but you may change your mind when you see its calm elegance. This includes this European olive tree, whose gray-green leaves make a beautiful change from some of the other darker green indoor house trees you’ll find.
Like the Calamondin orange tree, you won’t be able to just set and forget here. That is, while your olive tree will be fine indoors in low light for a little while, it does need to be moved outside quite regularly to get some short periods of direct sun.
To make this simpler, see if you can position your olive tree inside near a door, so you can easily give it a quick outside run from time to time.
15. Yucca plant (Yucca elephantipes)
For spikier, more structured-looking low light indoor trees, the yucca plant could be what you’re looking for.
With its natural environment being quite hot and dry places, yucca plants are extremely hardy. Just try not watering it for a while and you’ll see that it barely notices.
This also means that it’s fine to survive as an indoor tree in low light conditions – at least for a time. It would eventually like to get some bright light in order for it to grow, so you may want to consider moving it outside to a shady spot for a while, although this should just be during summer as they really don’t like the cold.
At the same time, if you’re happy with the size of the yucca plant you have, then leave it where it is and it will likely be more than fine.
16. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Commutatum)
The Chinese Evergreen won’t win any awards for its height, growing to only around three feet tall, but it’s a great little tree to have in any home. In particular, the variegated nature of its leaves make it a strong feature for any room where you don’t want to be overpowered by one of the taller options on this list.
It’s also fine to survive as a low light indoor tree, given that it comes from tropical rain forests in Asia so rarely gets direct sunlight even in its native environment (as the rainforest floor is usually in the shade all the time). You’ll know that it’s getting just enough light if you’re rewarded with the bloom that the Chinese Evergreen sometimes produces, which looks similar to that of a peace lily.
Just be careful if you’re looking for low light non toxic indoor trees as the ASPCA has warned that the Chinese Evergreen isn’t safe for dogs or cats to ingest (or humans, for that matter, just in case you were tempted).
17. False Aralia (Schefflera elegantissima)
The false aralia is sometimes known as the spider aralia or threadleaf aralia, large due to its incredibly unique leaves. Long and narrow with almost like tooth-like edges, its foliage will definitely catch your attention.
Most people buy this plant when it’s still relatively small for use on a side table or similar. However, with the right care, it can actually grow to about six feet (2 meters) tall, which definitely crosses the threshold into indoor tree territory. And that right care includes meeting its light needs, where less is definitely more.
That is, the false aralia really doesn’t like direct sun as this can scorch its leaves. Moderate light is its preference, but as it doesn’t like having any sun directly on it at all, it will also be fine in low light.
18. Money tree (Pachira aquatica)
The money tree is becoming more and more well known, with its distinctive twisted trunk finding a place in many homes. That is, as its trunk appears to wrap around itself, this plant seems to be twisting its way to new heights.
While medium to bright indirect light may be ideal for the money tree, it’s actually a super adaptable plant that is able to get used to low or fluorescent lights. This means that, as an indoor tree, low light conditions will see your money tree continue to thrive – after a period of adjustment.
19. Umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla)
You can see where an umbrella tree gets its name, with its large leaves forming into circular patterns that definitely resemble something you’ll pull out on a rainy day. They’re not as popular as they once were, but that absolutely shouldn’t stop you from considering to add one to your houseplant jungle, as a healthy, bushy umbrella tree can look beautiful in any room.
The umbrella tree will do best in bright, indirect light but will also definitely tolerate low light. Your indoor tree will grow a bit slower and slightly more leggier in such conditions, but won’t actually suffer.
Humidity is more of a concern with this plant. While it’s not overly fussy if the air isn’t quite moist enough for its liking, keep an eye on it for signs of spider mites or scale which are more likely if it considers the air to be a bit too dry.
20. Dwarf Banana Tree (Musa acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’)
The large, paddle-like leaves of the dwarf banana tree are a great addition to any home. Of course, you could always go for the non-dwarf member of this family, but this can be too big for many households. In those cases, the dwarf version is an excellent option.
If you know anything about these plants, you may find it funny to find this one on this list, given that the dwarf banana tree actually prefers quite a bit of sunlight. However, most people don’t realize that a dwarf banana tree will actually survive on low light. Sure, it may not be as bushy as if it were to get its ideal four to six hours of sunlight per day, but if you put it near a low light window, this indoor tree will be fine.
And if you’re worried, you could always add a grow light to help it along.
21. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
In its natural environment, the bamboo palm grows in the understory of forests. This means that it actually prefers conditions where it’s not getting much light, often making it a first choice for anyone looking for large low light indoor trees.
That doesn’t mean it should get no light at all, as some filtered light would be ideal, similar to the dappled light that would reach the forest floor. But as a tall indoor plant in a low light environment, your hardy bamboo palm will thrive.
22. Striped Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis)
Most people choose the striped dracaena for its, well, stripes. And who can blame them, when the beautiful green and white sword-shaped foliage will immediately catch your eye in any home or office.
While it tends to prefer receiving a medium amount of light, this indoor tree tolerates low light more than well enough for it to thrive. In fact, its actually one of the few multi-colored plants that are fine in low light conditions.
Just keep an eye on its leaves, as it will still need a small amount of light and if it doesn’t get enough, the leaves will start to shrink.
23. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia amoena)
While not really a tree, the dumb cane can get to six feet tall in the right conditions, so its size makes it close enough to count for our purposes.
And you really shouldn’t disregard the dumb cane – despite its less than ideal name. Its gorgeous variegated leaves are real show stoppers and you can easily see why many people choose to liven up a room with one of these.
Even better, the dumb cane doesn’t strictly need to get any sunlight. In fact, it hates direct light, although a little bit of light will be needed rather than completely dark conditions. Based on this, providing this indoor tree with a low light environment will keep it happy, although some indirect light would make it just that little bit happier, if you can.
What plant can grow in a room without windows?
When it comes to trees that can grow in a room without windows, you clearly need some plants that can survive without sunlight.
The following are some of our top picks for the options you should consider:
- Parlor palm tree
- ZZ plant
- Chinese Evergreen
- Janet Craig Dracena
- Kentia palm
These indoor trees don’t need direct sunlight through a window in order to be ok as fluorescent ceiling lights can do the job perfectly well.
And if you’re looking to get one of these for their overall look, rather than other benefits like air purification, you could always consider an artificial plant for your windowless room.
Gone are the days where they look overly plastic-y and obviously fake. Instead, there are some great looking, not at all real indoor trees out there these days that could do the job.
What is the easiest tree to grow in low light indoors?
Some of the easiest trees to grow in low light indoors include the following:
- Rubber tree
- Weeping fig
- Areca palm
- Lady palm
- ZZ plant
- Parlor palm
The reason these are some of the easiest ones of our list is because they can almost be left entirely alone and they’ll continue to live perfectly happily inside.
Some of the other indoor trees are fine to be inside for a while, but do like the occasional burst of actual sunlight, whether that’s simply putting them next to a window or, in a few cases, actually being taken outside from time to time.
It’s true that this isn’t the most demanding thing in the entire world, but if you really want a low light indoor tree that you can “set and forget”, it’s good to have an idea of their actual lighting needs. That way, you can be comfortable that if you accidentally forget to take one outside for its morning walk, it won’t completely throw in the towel.
Final thoughts on the best indoor trees for low light rooms
When looking for the best indoor tree for low light for your home, there really are some great ideas out there, no matter the overall “look” you’re going for in a particular room.
Whether you prefer the dark green foliage of the Janet Craig Dracena, the fountain of leaves produced by the Areca palm or the cool elegance of an indoor olive tree, bringing one of these trees into a room can have a real calming effect.
And as an added bonus, it’s always good to know that you’re not killing your tree by bringing it inside. In fact, in a few cases where they prefer the kind of environment that’s inside most buildings, you’re actually doing it a favor!
Just make sure you check whether you think you can manage some of the other things that go into caring for these trees, like their preferred watering schedule or if you do need to give them some direct light from time to time.