Some of us go plant shopping with a specific site in mind. Some of us shop, fall in love with a particular plant ("It's talking to me" as one of my favorite clients says), buy it, and then put it in a spot where it will look good. Neither process is wrong, but we need to concede that houseplant success begins by matching the light in our desired site with getting a bead on the plant's light needs.
Think about it. If the tropical plant you're lusting after has evolved for hundreds of thousands of years on the jungle floor in the shade of its taller plant neighbors, it's probably not keen on direct sun. The converse is true, too. The cactus or succulent that loves to be bathed in sun is probably going to be sulky in a windowless room.
That being said the most challenging sites are the really low light ones: off to the side of a north window, an east exposure with heavy window treatments, an interior office with no natural light. You get the idea. So, assess the quality of light (direct, indirect, bright, really dark) in your room. Go for the worst case scenario. On a sunny day in our Chicago winter what are the light conditions? Is there direct sun? How long is it even bright? Thirty minutes, an hour, all afternoon? Be honest and don't fudge the answer. This reality check will determine your plant's future success.
So, what are some good candidates for a low light scenario? Below are five houseplants that will tolerate the dark corners and recesses of your home sweet home and still maintain an acceptable appearance.
|Chinese Evergreen - Aglaonema|
|Mother-in-law's-tongue - Sansevieria|
|Peace Lily - Spathiphyllum|
|Palms - Lady and Areca are best|
|ZZ plant - Zamioculcas|
So, if you're one of those people lacking strong light and the proverbial "green thumb" give some of these winners a chance. If they don't make the grade, it's time to think "silk".