How to Get Started With Low-Light Plants

If you don’t have much room for a backyard garden or have less-than-ideal growing conditions indoors, you might be feeling like gardening isn’t an option. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all.

You can have a thriving, easy-care garden with low-light plants. Learn a bit about why low-light plants could be a fit for you, along with how to set up your indoor garden for success. From tabletop houseplants to mushrooms, microgreens, and more, you can put your green thumb to work inside without missing a beat. 

Why Choose Low-Light Plants?

Not every gardener has perfect planting conditions indoors and out. While there are plants that grow well without being in direct sunlight, it can be tricky finding the sweet spot in shadier situations. 

The good news is that there are many plants that grow well in low-light conditions, making them a good choice for beginner gardeners or those who prefer more low-maintenance gardening.

Even if you have a north-facing patio or window sills, rest assured you can find low-light plants well-suited to the space you have. You can perk up a porch with a hanging basket (or two) or add a touch of greenery to your living room. Pairing your plants with the natural light you do have can mean the difference between plants that flourish and ones that flop. 

3 Tips for a Thriving Indoor Garden

While indoor plants can be easier to maintain than an outdoor garden, it still pays off to put in the time and effort to get it started right. Here are three ways you can set up your garden for success.

1. Pick the Perfect Containers

Container size might not seem like a big deal, but trust us when we say it is. Pint-sized pots may be great in the beginning, but your plant can outgrow them quickly. If you notice your plant’s roots are breaking through the pot or your plant is constantly tipping over and making a mess, it’s time for an upgrade. Depending on how quickly your plants grow, be ready to transplant them into bigger pots once a year. 

In the event your plants outgrow your indoor space, consider moving them outside. Back to the Roots Fabric Raised Garden Bed is portable, made from durable felt, and comes together in minutes to give you extra room for fruits, veggies, and more when you need it.

2. Lay the Foundation

Like their outdoor counterparts, low-light indoor plants benefit from high-quality organic potting soil. The right potting mix will have an array of organic matter and beneficial bacteria to help your plant’s roots get the nutrients they need to thrive. And because it’s organic, you’ll be keeping pesticides and other chemical nasties off your plate and out of your home. 

If you feel like your plants need a boost, consider picking up organic fertilizer at your local Home Depot or Walmart Garden Center. The right fertilizer will support your plant’s growth right from the start and improve nutrient absorption and overall soil quality.

3. Be Mindful of Watering

An indoor garden doesn’t benefit from nature’s rain showers, so you must make sure to water your plants adequately. If you’re unsure whether your plant is ready for a drink, test the soil moisture by sticking your finger in it. If it feels moist but not soaked , you and your plant are good to go. 

Overwatering can be just as much of an issue for your plants as underwatering. Even though it might be tempting to water them on a schedule, you could run the risk of giving your plants more than they need. Using containers with drainage holes is another way you can avoid drowning your plants.

Don’t worry if you don’t get it quite right at the beginning of your gardening adventures. Things like where you live and humidity levels in your home can influence how much water your plant friends will need through the season.

Choosing Your Low-Light Plants

low light plants: Wooden shelves with a variety of houseplants

Low-light conditions don’t have to be a barrier to having an indoor garden you and your family love. With so many plants to choose from, you have plenty to explore and experiment with. Browse this list of the best low-light plants to grow indoors to get started.


Interested in growing your own food? One of the simplest ways to begin is with microgreens. Because they only need a few hours of direct sunlight every day, they’re perfect for low-light environments. Plus, you get to harvest your microgreens in a matter of days, not weeks!

You can add your home-grown microgreens to sandwiches, soups, and salads. They’re chock-full of antioxidants too (up to 40 times the nutrients compared to mature plants), and make a great addition to a healthy lifestyle.

To get started in minutes, check out a Back to the Roots Microgreens Grow Kit, where you can choose from three different microgreen varieties. It even comes with a white ceramic planter, so your greens will fit right into your decor. 

Because Back to the Roots uses only 100% certified organic and non-GMO domestically grown seeds, you can relax knowing you’re giving your family the best quality microgreens in as few as seven days.


Mushrooms might be the ultimate low-light plant to include in your indoor gardening projects as they don’t require any sun exposure. In fact, they prefer dark, humid environments. Unlike other plants on this list, your mushrooms will be happiest tucked away in a dark corner of your kitchen (like inside a cabinet).

The easiest way to start growing mushrooms is with a kit. Like all of our grow kits, the Back to the Roots Mushroom Grow Kit gives you everything you need to kick off your mushroom garden in just 10 days. You’ll receive a spray mister, mushrooms spawn, and a downloadable curriculum so kids can learn all about the fascinating science behind mushrooms and how they grow. 

Fruits and Vegetables

While some fruits and vegetables aren’t entirely suited to low-light areas, you can still have a successful indoor garden if you make some accommodations. 

A few options that grow successfully indoors:

To help your plants grow their best, be sure and pick up an LED grow light. It can mimic the sun’s natural rays and make it possible for you to enjoy freshly picked fruits and vegetables year-round.

Growing fruits and vegetables inside can be made even simpler with a hydroponic gardening system. This fun and easy system is entirely self-contained, so you never have to worry about overwatering or maintaining soil quality.


Low-light houseplants are a terrific entry point for gardeners who don’t feel ready to start growing their own food but want to bring nature indoors. You can even try growing some of them in a terrarium

While there are many low-light plants you can grow inside, these are some of our favorites. We’ve included their botanical and common names when possible:

  • Pothos or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) 
  • Philodendron
  • Snake plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
  • Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
  • ZZ Plant (zamioculcas zamiifolia)
  • Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
  • Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
  • Swiss cheese plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Zebra or rattlesnake plant (Calathea)
  • Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)
  • Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus)
  • Succulents
  • Bromeliads
  • Peperomia
  • Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra)

Start an Indoor Garden With Low-Light Plants

Person wearing gloves while planting seedlings

Low-light plants make it easy to start an indoor garden and grow your own food without perfect lighting conditions. Growing your own food also allows you to connect with nature in new ways while supplying you and your family with organic nourishment all year long.

For more ways to grow fruits and vegetables indoors and out, keep browsing our Back to the Roots blog.

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