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ASK A PLANT EXPERT: What are the best indoor plants for apartments without much light?

Every week we’re answering all your pervy questions about plants with the help of the plant geniuses over at Leaf Supply. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to [email protected] We’ve got you covered. 

Question: What are the best indoor plants for apartments without much light?

Above all else, plants need light to survive. It’s integral to the process of photosynthesis in which plants create their own fuel by utilising a combination of carbon dioxide, water and using light energy to convert it into glucose and oxygen.

Most tropical foliage plants will do best with bright, indirect light, cacti and succulents on the other hand require even brighter light or direct sun to keep them happy. There are however a few plants that will tolerate lower light conditions and still provide some glorious greenery for your home.

The Zanzibar gem (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is often referred to as the unkillable plant. We’ve seen some that have been neglected for months (think no water, very little light), but still look happy and healthy. Green glossy leaves unfurl from a tuberous root where it stores energy during any drought-like events. Water once a month, and even less in winter and it will reward you with new growth in the warmer months.

A tropical vine that works well in just about every condition is the good ‘ol Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum). We’ve raved about this beauty before as a great option for beginner gardeners as they’re incredibly forgiving and will tolerate lower light conditions.

Different varieties such as the Neon, Marble Queen and Golden Pothos mean that you can fill all the various low light areas of your home with its various pretty leaves. They look completely fabulous dangling down shelves or trained up walls using little hooks to support their fast growing stems.

 

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A classic 80s wonder that has had a bit of a resurgence of late is the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum). It’s one of the few indoor plants that flower indoors, but that being said, is more likely to do so from one of the brighter spots in your home. They will however happily tolerate low light conditions and are sometimes referred to as the closet plant for their ability to do so. This girl really wears her heart on her sleeve and is pretty good at communicating what she needs (we could all take a leaf out of her book). Her leaves will droop when thirsty and bounce right back once watered. Leaf tips will go brown if over watered, and if the leaves become shrivelled and dry you will likely need to give her a good mist to increase the humidity levels.

One of the houseplants on high rotation in the seventies, the Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) definitely went out of favour there for a while. Thankfully, as with most things their popularity has come back around so we can again enjoy this easy care plant pal. Not only does this guy tolerate lower light conditions but according to a study done by NASA (no less) it also has magical air purifying qualities. They are most often variegated with long light green and white striped leaves that shoot from the centre of the plant and little babies (called pups) that resemble spiders (thus the name) that dangle from its stems. Along with their reduced light demands they also prefer a bit less water, so always check that the first couple of inches of soil has dried out before watering again.

A couple of things to note about all indoor plants:

  • In winter they will be exposed to even less light than normal so consider re-positioning them over the cooler months to make sure they’re getting enough light to get them by.
  • Cleaning their leaves every month or so, either in the shower or with a damp cloth, will ensure that dust doesn’t block any precious sun from being absorbed and enjoyed by your plant pals.

More from the Leaf Supply column: 

How do I know if I’m watering a plant too much or not enough?

What’s the one indoor plant even a black thumb like me can’t kill?

Leaf Supply is an online plant store delivering lush green goodness throughout Sydney and beautiful botanical wares Australia wide. It’s the love child of friends and massive plant nerds Lauren Camilleri + Sophia Kaplan, who believe that life is better surrounded by greenery. For some serious plantspiration, follow along on instagram @leaf_supply and check out their online store

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