Many house plants are native to jungle or forest conditions, growing on the ground or as epiphytes beneath the tree canopy. They’re therefore used to low light levels and will thrive in a shady spot in the house. Other plants will tolerate shade as long as they receive some indirect light.
Direct sunlight can do more harm than good for these plants, which may suffer from leaf scorch or wilting if in the wrong position. Interested to find out more? We’ve put together helpful guides on winter care for house plants and how to raise humidity for house plants.
Worried about watering? We answer all your questions about how to water houseplants, and have put together a roundup of the best watering cans, featuring stylish designs for the home. In a hurry? Here are our favourite picks:
- Buy Elho Brussels Watering Can at Amazon
- Buy Mini Yellow Earthenware Watering Can at Oliver Bonas
- Buy Eva Solo Globe Watering Can at John Lewis
We’ve chosen 12 of the best house plants to grow in a shady spot, below, and if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out 11 of the best house plants to grow.
Nephrolepis exalata, or the Boston fern, is an easy to grow house plant performing best in a bright spot out of direct sunlight. It thrives in a humid environment, so a steamy bathroom is ideal.
- Buy Boston ferns from Crocus
Philodendron scandens is a climbing evergreen plant, native to the Caribbean and Central America, where it clambers up trees in order to reach the light. Its deep green, heart-shaped leaves are the perfect accent in a shady area indoors. Grow in a pot and allow it to tumble over the edges, or add a moss pole to provide a vertical support.
- Buy philodendron from Crocus
Calatheas and marantas
Grown for their colourfully patterned leaves, calantheas and marantas have a tendency to shrivel in sunny conditions, so shady spot suits them. They do best if given a regular misting.
- Buy calathea from Crocus
If grown in too bright a spot, the colourful foliage of spider plants can bleach out, so they lose their vibrancy. A shady spot will produce the best colour and help to ensure they don’t dry out too quickly.
- Buy spider plants from Crocus
Swiss cheese plant
Grown up a moss pole or other vertical support Monstera deliciosa doesn’t need to be grown in full or direct sun. Its large leaves do a terrific job of catching the smaller levels of light available to it when growing in a shady spot.
- Buy Monstera deliciosa from Crocus
Sited here on the wooden pot stand, the areca palm is a lovely choice if you need a bushy house plant to fill a large gap. The split leaves lend a tropical feel. Grow it in a shady but bright spot indoors, and mist regularly. For a similar look, consider Howea fosteriana (the Kentia palm) and Chamaedorea elegans (the parlour palm).
- Buy areca palms from Crocus
Most hoyas are epiphytic plants that non-parasitically attach themselves to other plants, using them as a growth support or anchor. They’ll thrive in a bright but shady area indoors, and most produce umbels of deliciously scented flowers to perfume the home.
- Buy hoyas from Crocus
Cast iron plant
In warmer climates, aspidistras can often be spotted thriving in great pots sited in the darkest courtyards, surrounded on all sides by tall buildings. Indoors, they’re ideal for your darkest spots.
- Buy aspidistras from Crocus
Also known as snake plant, Mother-in-law’s tongue has sword-like leaves with yellow edges. It does best in bright light, out of direct sun, but will tolerate shade. Wait for the compost to dry out before watering and water sparingly in winter.
- Buy snake plants from Crocus
Peace lily, Spathiphyllum wallisii, is a low maintenance house plant with glossy green leaves and occasional white flowers, which are called spathes. It does best in a bright spot out of direct sunshine but will also tolerate shade.
- Buy peace lilies from Crocus
The parlour palm, Chamaedorea elegans, is a popular houseplant grown for its attractive light green fronds. For best results, grow in a bright spot, shaded from full sun. It can also cope with shade.
- Buy parlour palms from Crocus
Silver inch plant
Silver inch plant, Tradescantia zebrina, has unusual, variegated leaves in green, purple and silver. It has a trailing habit so looks great in a hanging planter or on a shelf. It does best in a warm spot out of direct sunshine. It does well in shade but may lose its leaf variegation.
- Buy silver inch plants from Crocus