Chinese evergreen. Photo by dropStock / Shutterstock.

Does your green thumb turn to stone when it comes to growing plants indoors? Don’t give up hope. Anyone can master indoor gardening by choosing good indoor plants for the different microenvironments in the home, whether it’s a warm, humid room or a drafty low-light corner. And some indoor plants are tough enough to survive just about anywhere.

Selecting a plant with light requirements that match the location can be one of the most important factors in the success—or failure—of growing a healthy plant.

On this page are indoor plants for:

  • LOW LIGHT:

    Plants suitable for north-facing windows or locations along interior walls. Many plants labeled for low-light conditions tolerate it and grow slower, but may do better in slightly brighter or medium light.
  • MEDIUM/BRIGHT, INDIRECT/FILTERED LIGHT:

    Plants suitable for east-facing windows, south- or west-facing windows that have sheer coverings over them, or 3 to 5 feet from south- or west-facing windows.
  • BRIGHT/HIGH LIGHT:

    Plants suitable for unobstructed south- or southwest-facing windows.

BEST INDOOR PLANTS FOR LOW LIGHT

Golden pothos. Photo by Myimagine / Shutterstock.

POTHOS


Epipremnum aureum

One of the easiest houseplants to grow. This tropical vine comes in a variety of foliage colors and patterns. Pothos can be trimmed and kept compact, allowed to trail from hanging baskets, or trained up vertical supports.

  • Size: Vines 6 to 10 feet long
  • Water: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between watering.
  • Fertilize: Light feeders, so use a balanced liquid fertilizer every 1 to 3 months.

Learn more about growing pothos.

Photo by Cheng Wei / Shutterstock.

PHILODENDRON


Philodendron spp.

Another very easy-to-grow houseplant, similar to pothos. Tolerates low light, but will grow faster in medium to bright light. Foliage comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Philodendrons can also be grown outdoors in mild climates.

  • Size: Vines to 8 feet long
  • Water: Prefers evenly moist soil, but not soggy. Water if top inch of soil is dry.
  • Fertilize: Apply a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer from spring through fall.

Learn more about how to grow philodendron plants.

Photo by Garden World Images / Alamy Stock Photo.

ZZ PLANT


Zamioculcas zamiifolia

The naturally shiny leaves of the ZZ plant require little effort to maintain their good looks. Simply dust them off with a damp cloth (leaf sprays may damage the foliage). ZZ plants also do well in medium/bright, indirect light. Keep in mind that all parts of the plant are toxic, so keep away from children and pets.

  • Size: 2 to 3 feet tall
  • Water: ZZ plants store water in their semi-succulent stems so you may only need to water every couple weeks. Overwatering can do more damage than underwatering, so don't allow the soil to become soggy.
  • Fertilize: They are light feeders, so only fertilize every three months or so.

Photo by Olga Miltsova / Shutterstock.

BIRD'S NEST FERN


Asplenium nidus

This tropical fern makes a stunning centerpiece for a table or plant stand. New fronds unfurl from the center of the plant, so the shape remains elegant and upright. An ideal plant for a steamy bathroom, bird's nest ferns like moderate humidity and temperatures around 70 degrees F.

  • Size: Up to 2 feet tall
  • Water: Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Water at the edge of the rosette so water doesn't pool in the center and cause rot. Yellow leaves signal overwatering.
  • Fertilize: Fertilize every 2 to 4 weeks from spring until fall with a diluted houseplant fertililzer.

Photo by Alisha Arif / Alamy Stock Photo.

PARLOR PALM


Chamaedorea elegans

Bring tropical flair indoors with a parlor palm. A popular choice for dimly lit foyers and offices. Typically the only pruning needed is the removal of lower fronds that naturally turn brown over time. Trimming healthy green fronds will stop growth completely. If you do prune, remove the entire stem.

  • Size: 2 to 4 feet tall
  • Water: Avoid overwatering, but keep the soil evenly moist. Water when the surface of the soil feels dry.
  • Fertilize: Fertilize monthly in spring and summer.

Photo by armifello / Shutterstock.

PEACE LILY


Spathiphyllum spp.

Pure white spathes surrounding creamy white flower spikes bloom from mid-spring through late summer. Peace lilies love warmth and humidity. Avoid exposing them to temperatures below 55 degrees F.

  • Size: 1 to 6 feet tall
  • Water: Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Don't allow the soil to dry out completely. Reduce water in the winter when plant growth slows.
  • Fertilize: Apply a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at half strength every two months.

Learn more about how to grow peace lily plants.

Photo by dropStock / Shutterstock.

CHINESE EVERGREEN


Aglaonema spp.

Chinese evergreens hate cold drafts and temperatures below 55 degrees F. Locate your plant away from drafty doorways, windows, and air-conditioning vents. Plants with darker green leaves can tolerate less light, while variegated varieties prefer brighter light.

  • Size: 2 to 3 feet tall
  • Water: Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Reduce water in the winter when plant growth slows. Wilted leaves are a sign of underwatering; overwatering may cause stem or root rot.
  • Fertilize: Monthly with a diluted liquid fertilizer from early spring through fall.

Photo by Garden World Images / Alamy Stock Photo.

CAST IRON PLANT


Aspidistra elatior

Cast iron plants are extremely slow growing and can take years to reach their full height. Cast iron plants are almost impervious to neglect and aptly named for their tough-as-nails constitution. A good choice for dimly lit rooms and rooms with northern exposure.

  • Size: 15 to 24 inches tall
  • Water: Water moderately in spring and summer, less often in fall and winter. Allow the soil to dry between watering.
  • Fertilize: Once a month from spring through fall.

Photo by Totokzww / Shutterstock.

PRAYER PLANT


Calathea spp.

Also called rattlesnake plant, peacock plant, or zebra plant, this popular houseplant is grown for its decorative foliage in an assortment of patterns, colors, and shapes. Prayer plants don't like their roots disturbed, so repot in early spring only if rootbound.

  • Size: Up to 3 feet tall
  • Water: Keep evenly moist. Don't allow to become overly soggy or dry out completely. May be sensitive to tap water, so use distilled or filtered water.
  • Fertilize: Once a month from spring through fall.

Learn more about how to grow calathea plants.

BEST INDOOR PLANTS FOR MEDIUM LIGHT

Photo by Shelsea Forward / Shutterstock.

FIDDLE-LEAF FIG


Ficus lyrata

Fiddle-leaf figs instantly give any room a jungle-like vibe. They grow very slowly, but can eventually reach the ceiling. With a reputation for being finicky, this cold-sensitive rainforest native needs just the right conditions to thrive indoors. Prefers east-facing, sunny windows; unobstructed late day sun in a west- or south-facing window may burn the leaves.

  • Size: Up to 10 feet tall
  • Water: From spring to fall, water when the top inch of soil feels dry, more sparingly in winter.
  • Fertilize: Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer that includes micronutrients monthly from spring through fall. Don't feed during winter months.

Learn more about how to grow fiddle-leaf figs.

Photo by Ladydoubt / Shutterstock.

WATERMELON PEPEROMIA


Peperomia argyreia

A nearly foolproof houseplant, perfect for beginners. It rarely needs repotting and doesn't mind a bit of neglect. When you do repot, it is best done in spring. Be sure to move your plant to a container that is only slightly larger.

  • Size: 6 to 8 inches tall
  • Water: Water moderately, allowing the soil to become dry to the touch before rewatering. Overwatering can cause root rot.
  • Fertilize: Apply a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks from early spring through late summer.

Photo by Proven Winners.

POLKA DOT PLANT


Hypoestes phyllostachya

A charming little foliage plant with cheery pink speckles over deep-green leaves. In addition to pink, cultivars sporting white or red dots are also available. Pinch back the stems of too tall or leggy plants to encourage bushier growth.

  • Size: Up to 12 inches tall
  • Water: Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Too little water causes the leaves to wilt.
  • Fertilize: Apply a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks from early spring through late summer.

Learn more about how to grow polka dot plants.

Buy polka dot plants from Proven Winners.

Photo by Sunny_Smile / Shutterstock.

AFRICAN VIOLET


Saintpaulia ionantha

Thousands of cultivars give you a choice of almost any flower color, as well as single, double, and bicolored blooms. African violets will bloom repeatedly during spring and summer when given enough sunlight, with the blooms lasting up to a few weeks.

  • Size: Usually under 4 inches tall
  • Water: Water when soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Try not get the leaves wet, which can cause spotting.
  • Fertilize: Apply a specialized African violet fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks, or according to package directions.

Photo by Sergey Clocikov / Shutterstock.

RUBBER PLANT


Ficus elastica

Rubber plants can threaten to outgrow a room, but can be kept in check by pruning off the top at the central stem. This will encourage growth of side branches. Keeping your plant in a smaller pot will also curb its growth.

  • Size: Up to 10 feet tall
  • Water: Keep soil evenly moist. Water when it becomes slightly dry to the touch.
  • Fertilize: Fertilize every two weeks when actively growing from spring through fall; monthly in winter.

Photo by luca85 / Shutterstock.

AIR PLANT


Tillandsia

Air plants put down no roots and receive nutrients and moisture through their leaves. Once an air plant blooms, it will produce offshoots that will become new plants in one to two years.

  • Size: Varies, depending on the variety
  • Water: Run the plants under water a few times a week. If the leaves are curled more than normal, submerge in a bowl of water overnight.
  • Fertilize: Use an epiphyte fertilzer spray weekly, or according to package directions.

Learn more about how to grow air plants.

BEST INDOOR PLANTS FOR BRIGHT LIGHT

Photo by Aquarius Studio / Shutterstock.

SNAKE PLANT


Sansevieria spp.

Also called mother-in-law's tongue, this hardy houseplant is almost impossible to kill. Although it prefers bright light, it will also persevere through dim lighting, temperature fluctuations, and lapses in watering.

  • Size: 6 to 20 inches tall
  • Water: Allow the top inch of soil to dry completely before watering. Snake plants store water, so it's almost impossible to underwater them.
  • Fertilize: Not necessary, but an occasional dose of all-purpose houseplant food during the spring and summer will encourage more vigorous growth.

Learn more about growing snake plants.

Photo by Vellicos / Shutterstock.

JADE


Crassula ovata

Jade plants can live for decades and are easy to propagate from leaf or stem cuttings. Let the cuttings dry out for a few days and then stick them in a good potting mix, preferably one for cactus and succulents.

  • Size: Dwarf varieties, 12 to 18 inches tall
  • Water: Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, and water only sparingly in the winter months. Too much moisture can cause stem and root rot.
  • Fertilize: Only occasionally with a diluted liquid fertilizer from spring through early fall.

Learn more about how to grow jade plants.

Photo by Karl Gercens / Millette Photomedia.

SPIDER PLANT


Chlorophytum comosum

One of the easiest plants to propagate. Simply cut the baby spiders from their runners and place in moist potting soil. You can also stick them in a glass of water for a week or so until roots form and then pot in fresh soil.

  • Size: 6 to 8 inches tall, with cascading runners
  • Water: Water generously when the soil feels dry; more sparingly in winter.
  • Fertilize: Monthly during the active growing season, early spring to late autumn.

Photo by Moskwa / Shutterstock.

KALANCHOE


Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

When kalanchoes bloom, the flowers can last for several weeks. To encourage reblooming, pinch off spent flowers and give the plant a rest period with no fertilizing and minimal watering. After a month or so, new buds should begin to form.

  • Size: Up to 12 inches tall
  • Water: Water every week or so when the soil feels dry.
  • Fertilize: Once or twice a year, in early spring and late autumn. Plants in bloom do not need fertilizing.

Photo by elegeyda / Shutterstock.

HAWORTHIA


Haworthia spp.

Ideal for narrow windowsills, the slow-growing succulent remains neat and compact. In summer, creamy white flowers bloom on long stems. Haworthias need almost no care and rarely need repotting.

  • Size: 3 to 5 inches tall
  • Water: Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
  • Fertilize: Infrequently, with a slow-release product.

Photo by Olga Miltsova / Shutterstock.

ALOE VERA


Aloe vera

Aloes prefer tight quarters and keeping them slightly root bound may help promote blooming, which doesn't always happen when they are grown indoors. Grow them in a sandy, well-drained soil such as a cactus potting mix.

  • Size: 12 to 24 inches tall
  • Water: Water deeply, but not too often, allowing the soil to dry to a depth of 1 to 2 inches between watering.
  • Fertilize: Aloes generally don't require fertilizing.

Learn more about how to grow aloe plants.

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How to Design a Window Garden
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