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Discover the Best Hanging Plants for Low-Light Rooms

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The photosynthesis process depends on light energy, and different plants need different light intensity, quality, and duration levels.

Trailing plants still have maximum light exposure without needing the energy to remain erect and make ideal hanging-basket plants for low-light areas. These Low-light plants effectively harvest and convert light to energy using a protein called light-harvesting complex, or LHC.

Light Factors that Affect Plant Health and Productivity

Most plant issues are brought on by environmental stress, either directly or indirectly. In some circumstances, a plant is directly harmed by unfavorable environmental conditions, such as inadequate light levels. Other times, ecological stress weakens a plant, making it more prone to diseases and pest attacks.

At the risk of repeating myself, indoor plant health depends on the gardener’s ability to replicate the specific plant’s natural habitat; light, soil, temperature, water, humidity, and nutrient availability. We must understand how these elements influence the formation and growth of plants.

Understanding a plant’s light needs (photoperiodism, phototropism, and photosynthesis) helps us know what they need when they need it.

Light Quantity

We refer to the intensity or concentration of sunshine as light quantity, a factor influenced by the earth’s rotation around the sun and your distance from the equator. Light is an essential factor contributing to a plant’s productivity.

You can increase the light by surrounding plants with reflective materials, a white background, or additional artificial lighting, or reduce it by using woven or cheesecloth shade cloths to cover plants.

We measure light quantity (or intensity) in foot-candle or lux (metric). The table below shows the foot candle for varying light quantity levels and a description of each.

Foot-candlesLight LevelDescription of area’s light intensity at mid-day
25-100 ft.cLowTypically, areas with this low light intensity receive relatively little natural light, and many merely have overhead lighting. They frequently inhabit areas that are far from windows or that are substantially shadowed.
100-500 ft.cMediumAlthough no direct sunlight is present, areas with more moderate light intensity are typically near windows. They can frequently be found in east or west-facing windows that are shaded or in north-facing windows that are not.
500-1000 ft.cHighHigher light levels are typically seen near windows, where they may also receive some direct light. However, if there is direct light, it is muted by outdoor greenery or shaded by window coverings. They frequently hang out under windows with an unobstructed east or west orientation, and it may also be seen close to south-facing windows that are shaded.
Over 1000 ft.cDirect sunlightThese spots are right in front of windows, with nothing but transparent glass standing between the plants and the sun. For plants that require “direct light,” six or more hours of sun exposure is ideal, and this is typically at south-facing windows or southwest unshaded windows.

Light Quality

The sun provides a full spectrum of color wavelengths (frequencies), some of which we observe as colors, though the human eye has limitations. Using a prism, we can fracture a light beam using prims and observe the bands of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

On either side of the spectrum are colors we cannot see but which affect organisms – infrared and ultraviolet.

Plants absorb blue and red light, significantly impacting how quickly they grow. Blue light predominantly produces leaf growth, and red light promotes flowering when coupled with blue light. Because they reflect green light rather than absorbing it, plants appear green to us.


The duration of a plant’s exposure to light is referred to as its photoperiod, a key to triggering production (or reproduction) mechanisms. Some plants will not flower if we keep them lighted without a daily routine of dark periods.

 We now understand that the amount of uninterrupted darkness—rather than the length of the light period—is essential for the growth of flowers.

Depending on how they react to the length of day or night, we categorize plants as short-day (long-night), long-day (short-night), or day-neutral.

Short-day plants need 12 hours or more of darkness to trigger flowering. These include plants such as poinsettias, chrysanthemums, and Christmas cacti.

Contrarily, long-day plants only produce flowers when the length of the day surpasses 12 hours. Several vegetables (beet, radish, lettuce, and spinach) and summer-flowering plants such as rudbeckia, California poppy, and aster fall into this category.

Day-neutral plants are not affected by light or darkness. They include nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), corn, cucumber, and some strawberry cultivars.

If growing in a place with less natural light, set a timer to provide additional light. Ensure you set your timer to the light hours your plants need.

  • Seedlings: 16-18 hours per day
  • Hydroponic lettuce and herbs: 12-14 hours per day
  • Foliage houseplants: 12-14 hours
  • Flowering houseplants: 14-16 hours

Interfere with dormancy at your own risk; plants need a holiday, and dormancy is it.

Low Light Plants

I know of more than a hundred low-light indoor plants, but not all are suitable for hanging baskets. For interest, I’ve listed 39 low-light indoor plants are the bottom of the page.

But first, let’s explore 13 hanging-basket plants that are ideal for brightening up a room that’s not flooded with light. The table below is a list of 13 low-light hanging-basket plants with their common name and scientific name.

I’m slightly OCD, so I’ve listed them alphabetically and not in order of preference.

#Common NameScientific Name
1Chenille PlantAcalypha poiretii
2Lipstick PlantAeschynanthus radicans
3Asparagus FernAsparagus densiflorus
5Cocktail OrchidCattleya forbesii
6Spider plantChlorophytum comosum
7Grape IvyCissus alata
8String of PearlsCurio rowleyanus
9PothosEpipremnum aureum
10Flame VioletEpiscia cupreata
11Purple Passion VineGynura aurantiaca
12Christmas CactusSchlumbergera russelliana
13Curiosity plantTolmiea menziesii

What is Classified as Low-Light?

Low light levels are something just above the darkness and 250 foot-candles.

  • A low-light plant would suit a north window (in the Northern hemisphere) or a reasonably dark corner.
  • Low-light plants require little to no direct light. In their native growing environments, these plants are “understory plants,” meaning they grow underneath the branches of larger plants.
  • Low lighting is not sufficient for starting seeds indoors.
  • Plants grow more slowly in environments with less light and use less water. Avoid overwatering by feeling the soil.

Areas with light intensity this low usually receive very little natural light. Many are lit only by overhead lights, often far from windows or a heavily shaded area.

The University of Florida has an informative PDF that shows the light and water needs of different houseplants.

13 Hanging Basket Plants That Thrive in Lowlight Environments

If you’re interested in other hanging basket options, check out my 26 Best Trailing Succulents for Planting in Hanging Baskets article.

1. Chenille Plant (Acalypha poiretii)

Needs partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day)

Chenille plants are frequently planted as indoor houseplants in patio containers or hanging baskets that may be taken inside during the winter. It has strikingly long, vividly colored blossoms that resemble a cat’s tail.

Chenille plant benefits from the occasional spraying of the leaves because it requires high humidity. It can tolerate various soils, although it dislikes having wet feet and has a very low salt tolerance. Prune the plants in early spring to a height of 4 to 8 inches to promote new growth, increase bloom, and remove any wasted flowers.

2. Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)

It needs deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight) or partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day)

Place the plant in a low-light area and keep the temperature at a constant 65 to 70 ⁰F (15 -21 ⁰C) year-round. It can be maintained a little bit cooler and dryer in the winter.

Leaf drop happens when the temperature drops below 50 ⁰F (10 ⁰C). The Lipstick Plant likes to be misted frequently. Still, to prevent fungus, you should mist the plant in the morning when the mist will dry rapidly and maintain good air circulation. Ensure the potting soil has sufficient drainage to prevent wet feet, but water them frequently.

3. Asparagus Fern (Asparagus densiflorus)

It needs deep shade (less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight) or dappled sunlight (shade all day)

This indoor herbaceous “shrub” can grow up to 3 feet tall and spread or thickly confined. The Asparagus fern refers to moderate temperatures and ample water from spring to fall (less in winter) and will not tolerate soggy soil.

Pinch the stem tips back to maintain the plant’s compactness. The plant can be chopped down to the soil level and will recover.

4. Metalic Leaf Begonia (Begonia)

It needs deep shade (less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight) to partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day

The plant blooms moderately and grows at a medium rate; from summer to fall, it produces enormous clusters of pink flowers that are tiny, hairy, and fuzzy.

When fully grown, the leaves are dark green with crimson veins. Temperatures below 50 ⁰F (10 ⁰C) will cause the begonia to die. When grown indoors, the plant produces its best foliage in indirect light. However, it can tolerate moderate sunlight in the winter.

It enjoys humidity and steady temperatures and does poorly in dry air. The plant is sensitive to temperature changes and overwatering.

5. Cocktail Orchid (Cattleya forbesii)

It needs partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day)

Cocktail orchids are usually cultivated in pots with open-rooting compost potting soil that allows adequate water and air circulation. The plant thrives in indirect light but needs some shade.

When the light levels are optimum, the leaves will be lime green. They prefer high humidity levels and thrive at temperatures between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 32 ⁰C).

While you should never let the potting mix completely dry out, you should avoid overwatering. Moist is neither wet nor dry.

6. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Needs deep shade or dappled sunlight – a natural low-light plant

The spider plant adapts to most environments and is a popular houseplant. Although it can survive in low light, spider plants prefer moderate light conditions. It can’t handle direct sunshine.

Like most houseplants, keep the soil moist but not wet and relative humidity at around 50 – 60%. Maintain a temperature above 50 °F (10 ⁰C). Avoid watering plants with tap water since the fluorides and chlorine might burn the tips of the leaves.

Cut on irrigation in winter, and watch humidity levels in summer. Avoid overfertilizing, as this can reduce the production of plantlets.

Plantlet development is light-sensitive, requiring short days and long nights for at least three weeks. Under these conditions, stolons and plantlets develop.

7. Grape Ivy (Cissus alata)

It needs dappled sunlight (shade through all day) or partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day)

Grape Ivy is an evergreen perennial vine (epiphyte) with tendrils for climbing in the subtropics. It is famous as an indoor houseplant, especially a low-ling hanging basket, and a trellis climber.

Let the plant dry out between waterings and fertilize it only during the growing season (monthly). Leaves will darken if it is well nourished and temperatures are kept low.

8. String of Pearls (Curio rowleyanus)

It needs partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day)

Ensure indoor and outdoor plants have adequate drainage because you don’t like your feet getting wet. The bottom of containers should have at least one hole. In between waterings, let your plant dry out.

Root rot can happen if a plant is left in damp or moist soil for too long. If the scenario is allowed to persist, the plant will surely perish.

9. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Needs deep shade or dappled sunlight – a natural low-light plant

While it’s true that most aroids need plenty of dappled light, especially to maintain variegation, this is not true for the Pothos. It’s not true, for the Epipremnum genus is general.

Pothos plants are classified as low-light plants, loosely described as a light level “bright enough to read a newspaper.” Most low-light plants are grown for their foliage, not flowers.

A north window or a shaded corner would be ideal locations for a low-light plant. These plants are “understory plants” in their natural habitats, which means they develop beneath the branches of bigger plants.

Low light intensity plants typically need between 50 and 250 foot candles per square foot. A handful of the plants in this group can be kept alive with as few as 10-foot candles of artificial light.

Ten to fifteen watts of fluorescent light per square foot of growing space should be provided for low-light plants. Your Pothos needs a single fluorescent tube, such as a 2-foot 20-watt or 4-foot 40-watt tube.

10. Flame Violet (Episcia cupreata)

Needs deep shade or dappled sunlight – a natural low-light plant

This Gesneriaceae family herbaceous perennial is frequently grown indoors. It requires potting soil that drains properly.

They have a creeping habit and look beautiful in hanging baskets. In the summer, keep the soil moist but not wet, and water sparingly in the winter. They cannot handle having wet on their leaves but require high humidity, so don’t mist these plants.

Flame violets make excellent desk plants or low-light hanging baskets and offer delightful variegated leaves and vivid blooms.

Prefers inside environments with medium light, moist soil, and medium to high relative humidity; dislikes recurrent cold drafts or dry air.

11. Purple Passion Vine (Gynura aurantiaca)

It needs partial shade (indirect light for 2 to 6 hours a day)

This Asteraceae family herbaceous evergreen is frequently planted inside. It is known for its peculiar velvety purple leaves and stems and looks best when placed in a hanging basket.

The best foliage color will be achieved if the plant gets occasional sunlight with afternoon sun protection. Wintertime soil maintenance requires less regular watering because excessive moisture might lead to decay.

In the fall, tiny clusters of orange-yellow flowers bloom; however they might not be seen in dim lighting. This plant’s weak stems and spreading growth habit can be improved by pinching back the stems to encourage bushier growth and less legginess.

12. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera russelliana)

It needs dappled sunlight (Shade throughout the day)

Most plants available for purchase are a cross between S. russelliana and S. truncata. When it blooms depends on the hybrid kind. These plants have approximately 200 varieties, which provide a wide range of flower hues.

Provide dappled light and organic, well-draining soils to grow and avoid overwatering. They’ll thrive if you let them spend time outside during the summer and fall. Fall’s shorter, chillier days will encourage floral bud development.

13. Curiosity plant (Tolmiea menziesii)

He needs shade all day but prefers partial shade (Indirect sunlight for only 2 to 6 hours a day)

On the coast of western North America, you can find the natural evergreen perennial herb known as a piggyback plant. It can reach a height of one foot as a ground cover in damp forests, wetlands, and beside streams.

Use this plant as a ground cover in a moist, wet, shady environment or a low-light hanging basket house plant. High humidity and fertile, moist soil are needed.

Which Other Indoor Plants Like Low-light Levels?

As promised, here is the list of 30 indoor plants that like low-light areas. Some can be grown in baskets, but the list of 13 plants above are hanging plants for low-light rooms.

Common Low-Light Indoor PlantsScientific Name
Maidenhair Fern(Adiantum mariesii)
Flamingo Flower(Anthurium ‘Red King’)
Cast Iron Plant(Aspidistra elatior)
Bird’s Nest Fern(Asplenium nidus)
Ponytail Palm(Beaucarnea recurvata)
Fishtail Palm(Caryota mitis)
Parlor Palm(Chamaedorea)
Dumb Cane(Dieffenbachia)
False Aralia(Dizygotheca elegantissima)
Corn Plant(Dracaena fragrans ‘Dorado’)
Snake Plant(Dracaena trifasciata)
Golden Pothos(Epipremnum ‘Golden Queen’)
Creeping Fig(Ficus pumila)
Rattlesnake Plant(Goeppertia lancifolia)
English Ivy(Hedera helix)
Sentry Palm(Howea)
Polka Dot Plant(Hypoestes phyllostachya)
Prayer Plant(Maranta leuconeura)
Swiss-Cheese Plant(Monstera deliciosa)
Baby Rubber Plant(Peperomia obtusifolia)
Philodendron Vine(Philodendron)
Aluminum plant(Pilea cadierei)
Artillery Plant(Pilea microphylla)
Staghorn Fern(Platycerium superbum)
Swedish Ivy(Plectranthus australis)
Lady Palm(Rhapis excelsa)
Snake Plant(Sansevieria trifasciata)
Pothos Vine(Scindapsus pictus)
Peace Lily(Spathiphyllum)
Arrowhead Plant(Syngonium podophyllum)
Oyster Plant(Tradescantia spathacea)
ZZ Plant(Zamioculcas zamifolia)
Wandering jew(Zebrina pendula)

In Closing

Low-light hanging baskets allow you to boost the vibrancy in your home. One of nature’s wonders is that these plants can thrive in lower light levels and still produce the energy needed for growth.

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