House Plants in the Dark

Plants Do Not Grow in the Dark

You can have house plants in the dark, but you cannot just leave them there, they will die. This is because plants do not grow in the dark, sunlight is necessary for plant growth, even if it is reflected light.

Keeping house plants in the dark will only weaken them and they will become soft. Just because a plant is called an indoor plant, does not mean that it is going to survive in all places in the home. There are many indoor plants that actually require quite a lot of light, too.

To define low-light, if you can still cast a shadow, or still read a book by the available natural light, then it is low-light. Anything with less light is, well, dark. If it is necessary to use artificial light to enter a room, then it is too dark to grow plants in.

Some of the areas defined as low light, might be the far end of the hallway, some downstairs room, bathroom, etc. Apartments are often lacking window space, or may have little windows.

If you are determined that you simply must have living plants in the really dark areas of your home, there is a way, but it requires effort. This idea requires that you set up a system of rotation with your house plants.

Rotating Your House Plants in the Dark.
This will only work if you already have house plants growing in more favorably lit areas.

Before we start, you can Only leave indoor plants in darkened areas for a few days, three to five – at the most. You replace this plant with one of your other houseplants, that is currently getting the most light.

Move all your other plants one spot closer to the brightest area. The plant you took from the dark area, is placed in the least lighted area. If all plants get the same amount of light, all good and well, just swap out one plant at a time – light for dark.

If you take the plant from the dark and stick it straight outside in the sun, the leaves are going to burn and, the shock will probably kill it. You must introduce it to the sunlight again, gradually.

Along the same lines, If the plant has not regained its full health by the time you have run out of other plants to replace it with – get some more. If you put an already weakened plant back into some dark recess, it will only continue to weaken.

This is a fair amount of effort just to have some plant down the end of the hall. Therefore, it may pay to first assess just why you want it there in the first place. Does that area get a lot of passing traffic? Could be simpler to merely buy any of the life-like silk-plants commonly available.

Best Low Light House Plants.
The following plants are famous for their low light tolerance. They are also excellent for novice indoor gardeners. The fact that they are very difficult to kill, being the primary reason.

Sanseviera.
Also known as Mother-In-Laws Tongue or, Snake Plant. This plant can withstand anything from very low light indoors, to being discarded in the middle of a paddock. Very, very, hardy. Do not plant in the garden – too hard to kill.

Japanese Hollyfern – Phanerophlebia falcata.
If you live in an apartment, this is the plant you want. It will thrive with low light, low humidity, a hot dry atmosphere and drafts. The name comes from the fronds, looking a bit like Christmas holly. Reaching to 60 cm indoors.

Zanzibar Gem – Zamioculcas zamiifolia
These glossy, fern-like leaves resemble a cycad. Quite tolerant of extended dry periods and, low light conditions. Indestructibility rating – high.

Aglonema.
Also know as Chinese Evergreen. These plants really prefer moderate light but will adapt well to low light. They have large dark green spear-shaped leaves, that are heavily marbled with white, cream or silver and white. An easy-care plant. Avoid placing in direct sunlight.

The Dracaena Family.
These plants are mostly long-stemmed, tending to leggy if left unattended, with rosettes of strap-like foliage. Thrives on neglect.

Dracaena Marginata.
Also know as Dragon Tree. Its bonsai-like trunk branches with age and can grow up to ten feet high. The basic species has narrowed, arching leaves, which are edged with red.

Dracaena fragrans Massangeana.
Also know as Corn Plant, Happy, or Fortune Plant. These have long wide leaves that arc gracefully from the stalk. Usually white variegated. Can be grown merely sitting in a bowl of stones, for stability. A fair indication of their tolerance to most conditions.

Parlor Palm – Neanthe Bella.
Used extensively in the Victorian era, this was a most popular plant to have in one’s parlor. Leaves are a stiff spike at first, to open as a handsome fan. Primarily a low light specimen, this fellow is very hardy.

Kentia Palm – Howea forsteriana
Another popular and decorative palm. With a slender trunk and dark-green, elegant, drooping, fan-like fronds. Will put up with dark to bright areas and dry atmosphere.

The Cast Iron Plant – Aspidistra.
Long, deep green, ribbed leaves, also variegated varieties. Couldn’t be more aptly named, this is one of the toughest and most adaptable of house plants. For all intents and purposes, this plant is indestructible.

Climbing Asparagus Fern.
Evergreen long-lived, perennial, understory plants. Emerging from an underground crown, the canes have backward-facing spikes to assist with climbing. Largish, branched fronds, covered in tiny little whisker-like leaves. These plants will tolerate practically any condition, including drought and saline soils. Massive root-system. Due to their indestructible nature, they have been declared a noxious species in many places.

With all indoor plants, in order for them to survive, conditions similar to their natural environment need to be reconstructed – within reason. As far as natural environments go, you will find that plants do not grow in the dark. Why then are people surprised at their failure when trying to grow their house plants in the dark.