12 Best Low Light Plants

The Sill

Not all houseplants are created equal, which makes your job as a plant parent slightly complicated. All plants require a different level of care, especially when it comes to the amount of sunlight and water they receive. You might also be under the impression that plants need tons of natural sunlight and water to survive, but that’s not exactly the case. There are many low-light plants that can survive in the darkest, shadiest spots of your home, office space, or anywhere else in need of greenery. While some of the indoor and outdoor houseplants on this list are forgiving and tolerant in all conditions, most of these varieties actually grow faster and stronger when they have less light to work with.

But let’s be clear: low light doesn’t mean no light. “In order to grow, low-light plants still require some indirect light, often from a north-facing window and away from the windowsill,” Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers, tells us. While low-light plants can vary in their overlook look, leaf shape, and color, many of them have one common characteristic: “broader, thinner leaves that allow them to adapt to this climate over time.” Still,

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Xeriscape in bloom at Wells Branch Community Garden

May 14, 2020

Lemon-lime retama trees in bloom caught my eye recently as I drove by the Wells Branch Community Garden and its native xeriscape garden.

Someone takes really good care of this waterwise garden, which dresses up the exterior of the walled community-garden plots. Until a few years ago it was just a tiny bed with a couple of agaves. After those agaves bloomed and died, the bed was ambitiously expanded, and now it’s eye-catchingly planted with drought-tolerant and sun-loving plants like retama (Parkinsonia aculeata), a green-trunked native tree with butter-yellow flowers in spring.

Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), with slender, hummingbird-attracting bloom spikes that flower for weeks at a time.

Whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia), a solitary (non-pupping) agave that looks like a big blue rose. It appreciates filtered shade like that provided by the airy retama, or morning sun with afternoon shade. It grows just fine in full sun too, although it sometimes suffers sun scorch during especially hot Texas summers.

Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), a cold-hardy, pinkish-gray succulent. This plant thrives in pots in my shady garden, and I hadn’t really seen it in full-sun conditions, but it looks

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