Low light indoor trees are ideal plants to grow inside spaces that receive very little natural light. Live greenery indoors adds a touch of warmth and beauty to an indoor room, plus the green leaves help to purify the air in the room.
Large, empty corners of a room are great spaces to fill with a live tree. Look over these 15 best low light indoor trees you can grow easily and pick out one that best suits your living space and lifestyle.
You may also like to see related articles: low light houseplants, low light outdoor plants, house plants that clean air naturally, popular large and small indoor plants, vegetables to grow indoors, fast growing fruit trees, fruit bearing trees,dwarf fruit trees and different types of pine trees.
Here are 15 best low light indoor trees:
- Madagascar Dragon Tree
- Chinese Evergreen
- Alii Ficus
- Kentia Palm
- Parlor Palm
- Bird of Paradise
- Norfolk Island Pine
- Fishtail Palm
- Corn Plant
- Umbrella Tree
- Yucca Indoor Plant
- Indoor Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
- African Candelabra Tree
- Tree Fern Indoor Plant
- Rubber Indoor Tree
1- Madagascar Dragon Tree
The Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena Marginata) is famous for oozing what appears to be red blood when it’s cut. The live greenery, combined with the red blood, make this low light house tree a unique conversation piece when guest come over to your home.
The stems of this low light indoor tree are stiff and sturdy, so it will require no additional support as it grows into a mature height of around 6 feet. The long, slender leaves appear near the top of the tree only, not along the trunk.
Place the Madagascar Dragon tree near a north facing window where it will receive low light during the day. Direct sun will scorch the leaves, so never place it in a east or west facing window.
Keep soil moist, but never soggy. Mist leaves once a week to increase the humidity level for the tree. This indoor tree does not like hot or cold temperatures and will grow best in a room that remains between 60-75 degrees consistently.
2- Chinese Evergreen
This is the best indoor tree for low light that was originated in the tropical rain forests of Asia. The Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Commutatum) will reach a mature height of 3 feet and will be equally as wide.
This large indoor plant has large, flat leaves that are typically variegated in colors like silver and light green. Occasionally the low light plant will produce a bloom that resembles the bloom of a Peace Lily.
This tropical plant does not require much light to grow, but it does need to be kept warm. Consistent indoor temperatures between 68-75 are ideal for optimum growth.
Water only when the top inch of soil is dry.
3- Alii Ficus
This tree hails from India and Asia, and is one of the best plants to grow indoors. The leaves of this species of ficus tree are narrow and can reach up to 10 inches in length. The tree can reach up to ten feet tall when mature. The tree is slow growing, but can bePrune as needed to keep the tree looking neat and at the desired size.
Water only when the top inch of soil dries out. Feed only during the spring and summer months, withhold food during fall and winter. Only use fertilizer that does not contain boron. Alii Ficus is boron sensitive and will drop its leaves if fed with fertilizer that contains boron.
**All parts of this indoor tree are poisonous and should be kept away from children and pets.
4- Kentia Palm
The Kentia Palm (Howea forsterana) produces deep green, palm fronds that can grow up to 8 feet long. The tree is very slow growing and will probably only reach a mature height of 5-6 feet, but it does have the capability to reach almost 50 feet in height when grown in a shaded, outdoor location. Direct sunlight will burn this tree, whether its grown outdoors or indoors.
This Australian tree like low light and slightly dry soil. Only water when top inch of soil dries out. Mist palm fronds monthly to remove dust and increase humidity. Feed once a month during the growing season. Do not re-pot unless absolutely needed. The fragile roots of the Kentia Palm are easy to break and will not re-produce.
5- Parlor Palm
The Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is named after the room it grows best in–the parlor, which is the name given to an interior sitting room of the home. This low light indoor tree is easy to care and ideal for any room of your home or office. It’s a slow growing tree with rich green, slightly arched leaves. Parlor Palms are popular and hardy, often being handed down from one generation to the next.
Place this indoor tree plant away from direct sunlight. Bright indirect sunlight will dry the tree out and make it susceptible to disease. Water only when soil dries out. Feed a balanced fertilizer once a month.
This low light indoor tree rarely needs re-potting and will grow to a mature height of 8-10 feet. The dark green palm fronds can grow up 6 feet long, so it will need space to grow tall and wide.
6- Bird of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise tree (Strelitzia reginae) is more of a tall houseplant than a tree. This is one of the best indoor trees that is unique because it blooms. The fiery red-orange blooms are long lasting, appearing in mid-summer and lasting for weeks. The unique blooms resemble a bird in flight.
This low light indoor tree will reach around 10 feet tall when mature and have a 6 foot spread.
Native to Texas, Bird of Paradise thrives under dry conditions. Only water when top inch of soil is dry. Fertilize every other week when tree is actively growing.
7- Norfolk Island Pine
This evergreen tree resembles a traditional Christmas tree and is often decorated as one during the Holiday season. Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) are not true pine trees and are not cold hardy. They will die if exposed to temperatures below 35 degrees.
These are slow growing trees which will eventually reach a mature height of 6 feet. They can be placed outside during the summer in a shady location. However, the Norfolk Island Pine helps to purify indoor air, so it’s good to keep them indoors year around.
Norfolk Island Pines enjoy high humidity and indirect light. Only water when the top inch of soil is dry and feed with a balanced, water soluble fertilizer spring through summer.
8- Fishtail Palm
This low light indoor tree gets its name from the shape of the fronds it produces. The jagged edged thin leaves hang down and resemble a fishtail.
Fishtail Palms (Caryota) are tropical plants and grow best in rooms where the temperatures are 70-80 during the day, and 60 at night during the active growing months. When weather cools and the Fishtail Palm’s growth slows down, air temperature of around 50 degrees during the winter months encourages the tree to rest and store energy for the next growing season.
This slow growing tree also loves humidity and should be misted every other day or kept in a room with a humidifier.
9- Corn Plant
Despite its name, the Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) is not edible, but it is a nice looking indoor plant for low light that grows quite large. The indoor tree will also help keep the air clean.
The thick trunk curves in interesting shapes and the long, strappy leaves are striped lime green and cream and resemble the leaves of corn stalk. Older trees may produce a strongly scented flower, but it’s rare.
The Corn Plant may drop some its leaves when you first bring it home due to the shock of being moved. It will quickly recover and produce new leaves. If the plant is over-fed or over-watered, leaves will turn yellow and drop off.
Place Corn Plant in a bright location, but not in direct sunlight. Also, keep it away from drafts. Water and feed sparingly. This low light indoor tree will grow slowly to eventually reach a mature height of around 6 feet. It can be pruned to keep at a desired height.
10- Umbrella Tree
This low maintenance, low light indoor tree is covered with large, bright green glossy leaves that draw the eye towards it. The size of an Umbrella tree (Schefflera amata) grown indoors is determined by the size of the container it’s planted in. One planted outdoors can reach a mature height of 50 feet, but a container grown one can be kept at a more manageable 5 feet or less. The Umbrella Tree is fast growing and will need regular pruning to keep it at a desired height and width.
Place Umbrella tree near a north facing window and keep room temperature between 55-75degrees. Water thoroughly, then allow soil to dry out before watering again. Over-watering this indoor tree will cause root rot and powdery mildew. It’s a tropical tree and does like a light misting twice a week.
Fertilize once a month during the growing season and wipe the dust off of leaves monthly with a soft, damp cloth.
11- Yucca Indoor Plant
Large, woody stems produce sword shaped leaves on the Yucca tree (Yucca elephantipes). This low light indoor tree helps purify the room air and needs very little care. Native to the Caribbean, the sword shaped leaves will grow between 1-2 feet in length. Dust the leaves monthly.
Yuccas will reach a mature height of around 10 feet and are drought tolerant. Ideal indoor plant for people who are frequent travelers, it can even tolerate large temperature changes. This tree can be moved outdoors in a shady location during the summer, but must be brought back indoor before the first frost.
12- Indoor Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant
The Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) is an ornamental tree that makes statement in any room of the home. The tall growing tree (up to 10 feet) produces large, flat leaves all the way up the trunk.
This is one of the best houseplants for low light areas. The Fiddle Leaf Fig will tolerate indirect sunlight, but it will drop its leaves if placed in a drafty location. Keep away from exterior doors and air vents.
The tree will also develop brown leaves that fall off if it’s over-watered. Dust leaves with a soft cloth once a month to prevent dust buildup, and give the entire Fiddle Leaf Fig tree a shower once a year in the spring.
Allow soil to dry out completely between watering. Feed every two weeks during active growth using a balanced fertilizer.
13- African Candelabra Tree
The African Candelabra tree (Euphorbia ammak) is a cactus look-alike. These trees are native to Southern Africa, but will grow well indoors in any part of the world.
These are succulents and need very little water in spring and summer, and should only watered once a month during the winter months. Old, mature African Candelbras will reach 6 feet tall when mature, but that will take a few years since they are slow growing.
Also known as Milk Tree, this low light indoor tree produces a milky sap that can irritate skin and eyes. The milky sap is toxic if ingested and this tree should not be grown around children or pets.
14- Tree Fern Indoor Plant
Native to Australia, the Tree Fern (Dicksonia) has fronds like a fern and a thick trunk covered with fur. The feathery fronds can unfurl to reach mature lengths of 4 feet, with the tree height reaching 6-10 feet when mature.
Tree Ferns love moisture, so keep the soil moist at all times and mist tree weekly. Place tree in a bright room, but not in direct sunlight. Prune off lower fronds as they die back and turn brown.
Mature Tree Ferns are heavy feeders and will need to be fed with water soluble plant food every two week from spring through fall.
15- Rubber Indoor Tree
Very attractive plant with glossy leaves, the Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica) is popular for indoor growing because of its easy care nature. The tree will reach a mature height of between 3-6 feet and will need to be re-potted every year in well draining potting soil until it reach the height you desire. The larger the container, the larger the tree will grow.
Rubber Trees are heavy feeders and drinkers. Feed weekly during the growing season with a weak solution of water soluble fertilizer to quench the tree’s thirst and hunger.
Wipe leaves off once a month to remove dust and keep them glossy.
Factors To Consider When Buying An Indoor Tree
A low light plant is ideal for growing in a room that receives very little natural light. This type of houseplant will thrive on just a couple of hours of indirect sunlight each day. But there are other factors, besides light level, to consider when selecting the right tree for an indoor environment.
Consider all the factors in the environment that will have an impact on the health of the houseplant or tree so it can thrive and provide you with indoor beauty for years.
1- Room Temperature
Consider the average room temperature year-round. People who live in large homes often close off some of the unused rooms of the house to save on energy usage. This is good for reducing the utility expense but not good for plants.
If the room is closed off without access to fresh air, the room temperature will be far too hot in the summer and far too cold in the winter for the plant to survive. Most plants that are commonly grown indoors thrive when the room temperature is 65-75 F during the day and 55-65 F during the night.
There are some exceptions, like the Parlor Palm, which thrives when daytime room temperature is 80 degrees F and will survive temperatures that dip to 50 F.
2- Amount Of Sunlight
Even low light plants need to be exposed to sunlight every day but usually not direct sunlight. Houseplants like Bird of Paradise and Alii Ficus need to be near bright light to produce growth. A few hours each day of bright indirect sunlight is needed for most low light plants to thrive.
Observe the room throughout the day to determine how the light enters the room and where the direct sunlight spots are located. Direct sunlight will cause many plants, like low light indoor trees, to be sunburned. A sunburned tree or plant will develop blistered leaves that turn yellow or brown and fall. If too many leaves are lost to sunburn the plant will die.
Turn the plants a quarter turn once a week to give all sides of the plant equal exposure to light so it will grow evenly.
Grow lights can be used in indoor spaces that do not provide the plant with enough light. Use LED grow lights that do not produce heat to supplement the natural light for plants.
3- North, South, East, or West
The amount of sunlight the room receives will be related to which side of the house the window is facing. A northern exposure will provide the room with the least amount of sunlight each day. It will provide the right amount of low light these types of plants need anywhere in the room, even in front of the window.
Rooms with southern exposure will be very bright most of the day and low light plants in that room will need to be placed far away from the window. East-facing rooms will receive morning sunlight which will make this a good room for most low light plants.
If the room faces west it will receive the intense afternoon sunlight. Place low light plants in this room far away from the window.
South or west-facing windows can be covered with room darkening curtains or blinds that can be closed during the times of day when the sunlight is most intense. If there is a skylight in these rooms it will be difficult to protect plants from the intense sunlight and it will be best to relocate the plants.
4- Growing Requirements
The growing requirements for each low light plant will vary but all will share in their need for low light growing environments.
Be sure to read the exact specifications for each plant before purchasing so you will know if you can provide the right growing environment that will allow the plant to thrive.
The soil needs of a low light plant will be slightly different than other houseplants because they tend to grow very slowly. A good quality potting mix formulated for indoor plants will be needed. This type of potting soil mix is composed of peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and contains no fertilizer. Soil-less mixes like this will absorb moisture very well, resist compaction, and allows you to tailor the feeding schedule to the plant.
A low light indoor tree will require more water than a small succulent that is grown in the same room. The type and size of the plant will determine how much water will be needed.
The Kentia palm is an indoor tree for light low environments and it thrives in soil that is always a little on the dry side. The Norfork Island pine and Fishtail palm are indoor trees for low light area. Both of these trees like dry soil and high humidity, so they will need to be misted regularly to keep them well hydrated and thriving.