Love Your Low Lights

With January’s cold temperatures, it’s time to bring your gardening expertise indoors.

Edited by Moe Godat 


Bring the tropics to your home with “Lemon Lime” dracaena. An exotic looking wonder, it features long green leaves highlighted with yellow and white. An added bonus “Lemon Lime” is an efficient air filter, removing harmful chemicals from the air. When young the plant is small and it looks like a small bush. Over time it will grow into a small tree with a woody stem. It works fantastic as a houseplant indoors or outdoors as a stand-alone specimen, or it can be added to mixed seasonal containers. Easy to grow, it tolerates low light but also does well in bright, indirect light. Information provided by Ann Lapides at Sugar Creek Gardens.


Water: Once or twice a week letting the soil dry out in between

Soil Requirements: Must be well-draining

Location + Light: Do not move outside until temperatures reach at least 60 degrees

Fertilizer: Fertilize when plants are actively growing, usually April through August

Other tips: To provide the plant with humidity, place on a bed of wet pebbles or mist occasionally


Other Favorites

We love the Crispy Wave Fern because it is a hardy and low-maintenance indoor option. The fronds of this fern are rigid and wider than most, which according to NASA, makes it one of the best air-purifying plant options for the home. Keep this plant happy with indirect light and moist soil. Sarah Riley, Bowood Farms.

Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis “Warneckii”) combats pollutants associated with varnishes and oils. The Warneckii grows inside easily, even without direct sunlight. This dracaena is known for its white stripes along the edges of its leaves. Easy to grow in lower light and does not require much water. David Sherwood, Sherwood’s Forest Nursery.

My favorite low-light houseplant is Pothos! They are super easy to take care of, they come in a variety of colors ranging from solid green to dappled white and chartreuse, and they help purify the air! Be sure to keep them out of reach of pets and children, but don't hesitate to put them in areas that don't get much direct or indirect sunlight because they'll do just fine!  Whether they're cascading from a hanging macrame planter or potted on a high shelf, this trailing vine will make a dramatic impact in any room. Katy Scott, Green Guys.

We love Calatheas because there are so many different varieties with interesting leaf patterns! They thrive with very low light and moderate watering, and they are totally pet and kid safe! Laura Caldie, Maypop Garden Shop.

My favorite indoor plant that tolerates low light is the ZZ plant. It has a beautiful, eye-catching structure and is tough-as-nails. It is almost like the unicorn of houseplants because it is very succulent-like in its maintenance requirements but will also tolerate low-light conditions. Laura Hill, Frisella Nursery.

Chinese evergreen “Aglaonema” is great choice for the novice indoor gardener. A houseplant with fabulous foliage, the Chinese evergreen is easy to grow. It tolerates poor light, dry air and drought. Ideally, it should be planted in well-drained soil, placed in a warm area of the home with some humidity. Keep it away from drafts, and water when dry. Jim Oldani, Timberwinds Nursery.