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Vjai Pandian column: Houseplants for Low Light Conditions

6:28 PM, Mar. 1, 2013  |  Comments
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Houseplants can brighten up your living space and create a lively environment to overcome the winter doldrums. Their warm colors, unusual shapes, and fragrant blossoms offer a therapeutic benefit and improve the indoor air quality. Another advantage of houseplants is their low maintenance and adaptability to varying indoor conditions. Though many houseplants appreciate bright sunlight, there are some houseplants that can adapt to low light areas in our home or office areas like dim hallways, or on a reception/office desk. Generally, areas that are a few feet away from a north window, 3-10 feet away from an east/west window, or 15 feet away from a south window are considered low light areas. Here are some common houseplants that can tolerate low light conditions at an indoor temperature ranging from 65-75F.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

An excellent foliage houseplant for dimly lit places. It can be used as an individual plant on a table top or in combination with other houseplants in an indoor planter, or can be grown directly in water. Chinese evergreen has silvery and green color foliage, is slow growing, needs rich, loamy soil, and prefers infrequent repotting (every 3 years in spring).

Grape Ivy (Cissus rhombifolia)

An ideal houseplant for containers or hanging baskets with its glossy, tri-foliate vines trailing and cascading from the pot. It is a tough houseplant that can handle neglect and poor growing conditions. An excellent choice for office settings.

Heart-Leafed Philodendron ( Philodendron scandens var. oxycardium)

Most popular houseplant that can be trained to climb on a pole, spill out from a hanging basket, or be kept bushy in a container by pinching its tip. An excellent low light tolerant houseplant, as long as the room temperature doesn't drop below 65F and the soil is kept moderately moist.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)

One of the few foliage houseplants that can flower in low light. It produces lance-shaped, dark green glossy foliage with a long lasting white spathe-like flower on a slender stalk.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria sp.)

If nothing else succeeds, grow a snake plant, a tough houseplant that can tolerate dim light, periodic dry conditions and rarely needs repotting. It produces thick, erect sword-like leaves with yellow or light green edging and bands of green. It can be used in groups as a background for other small foliage plants, or as an individual plant for its tall, striking appearance in containers.

Other house plants that can adapt to low to moderate light conditions are pothos or devil's ivy (Epipremnum aureu), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica), Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior), and Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

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