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:

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.

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Boston fern

House plants for shade - Tuber ladder fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia
House plants for shade - Tuber ladder fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia

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.

Heart-leaf philodendron

Philodendron scandens
House plants for shade - Philodendron scandens

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.

Calatheas and marantas

House plants for shade - Calathea

Grown for their colourfully patterned leaves, calatheas and marantas have a tendency to shrivel in sunny conditions, so shady spot suits them. They do best if given a regular misting.

Spider plants

Spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegatum'
House plants for shade - Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegatum'

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.

Swiss cheese plant

Monstera deliciosa
House plants for shade - Monstera deliciosa

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

Areca palm

Gardening through self-isolation - growing houseplants
House plants for shade - Areca palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, on the left

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).


Hoya bella
House plants for shade - Hoya bella

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.

Cast iron plant

Aspidistra elata
House plants for shade - Aspidistra elata

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.


Snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata
House plants for shade - Sansevieria trifasciata

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.

Peace lily

House plants for shade - peace lily
House plants for shade - peace lily

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.

Parlour palm

House plants for shade – parlour palm
House plants for shade – parlour palm

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.

Silver inch plant

Tradescantia zebrina
House plants for shade - 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