Tuber ladder fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia

Houseplants for shady spots

Every home has a shady spot or two – we pick some of the best houseplants to grow in them.

Many houseplants 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. Direct sunlight can do more harm than good for these plants, which may suffer from leaf scorch or wilting if in the wrong position.

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If you have indoor areas that receive direct sunlight for much of the day, there are plenty of succulents, cacti and other houseplants to grow in sunny spots.

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Discover some of the best houseplants to grow in shady areas, below.


Boston fern

Tuber ladder fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia
Nephrolepis fern

Nephrolepis exalata, or the Boston fern, is an easy to grow houseplant 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
Philodendron scandens

This climbing evergreen is 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

Calathea
Calathea

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.


Spider plants

Chlorophytum comosum 'Variegatum'
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
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.


Areca palm

Areca palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Areca palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Sited here on the wooden pot stand, the areca palm is a lovely choice if you need a bushy houseplant 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).


Hoyas

Hoya bella
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
Aspidistra elata
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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.


Speedy maintenance

For a quick way to keep your houseplants watered and dust-free, give them a shower every month or so. Make sure the water is lukewarm before turning the showerhead onto the foliage. Let them drain fully before placing them back out.

Pot cut out