20 Gorgeous House Plants That Can Take Full Shade
Green thumb or not, there comes a time when we need to tackle a garden issue (like indoor house plants for shade) or channel inspiration. Since owning our home, I’ve had plenty of marginal experiences with landscaping so I now insist on doing my own research when it comes to plant selection.
I study sites like the HGTVGardens (brought to you by the experts at HGTV, the popular home and garden cable channel) where there’s an active community of expert and novice gardeners throughout the country as well as helpful, relevant articles pertaining to all things lawn and garden.
To me, the community is especially important because, for instance, the plant that says up to 3′ tall on the tag just might grow to 6′ tall in San Diego (true story in my own yard). Or, one person’s invasive plant is another person’s treasure.
Anyway, I have a (very) low-light spot in my guest bathroom that’s screaming for an indoor houseplant container garden. I’ve put off the project, but am tired of looking at the bare corner. Turns out that finding a perfect list of suitable plants can be done with just a few mouse clicks versus multiple, labor-intensive internet searches, which is what I used to do.
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How To Easily Find Plants That Will Work For You
I seriously love the HGTVGardens Plant Finder. It’s going to come in so handy for personal use and as a reference for any gardening-related article that I write in the future.
After setting up my profile and location, it let me know that I’m in zone 10b and that they have over 900 recommendations for plants that can grow in my area. I narrowed my search by clicking houseplants that can handle full shade and moist conditions because I tend to water more frequently than I should. I also knew that selecting “wet” would be a total no-go. Ninety-five options popped up! This can easily be done via mobile phone while at the nursery since the site is fully-optimized for mobile.
Of the 95 full-shade, indoor plants I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve seen at least 20 at big retailers as well as smaller, local nurseries around town. Here they are for your consideration (and mine). I already own a few of them.
Shade-Loving House Plants With Flowers
1. Phalaenopsis orchids (moth orchids): They come in a variety of colors and can thrive in a number of conditions. A common household error: HGTVGardens experts say that using ice cubes to water your orchids is harmful, because their natural environment isn’t cold, basically. See eight ways to kill your orchid for more advice.
2. Flame violet (episcia cupreata ‘silver skies’): This perennial sprouts a pretty red flower in summer and fall amid silver-green leaves that grow 2-3″ long.
3. Peace lily (spathiphyllum): These common houseplants are easy to grow, but not true lilies. Therefore, they are non-toxic to have around kids and pets. They’ll tell you how they’re feeling. Drooping means they’re thirsty and yellow spots mean they’re getting too much sun. They can do well under just fluorescent lighting in lieu of any sunlight at all. Learn more peace lily care tips.
4. Thanksgiving cactus (schlumbergera truncata): Its name is appropriate because it typically blooms around Thanksgiving. It’s a true cactus with smooth, fleshy leaves and pink flowers and grows up to 1″ tall.
Shade-Loving Indoor Palm Trees
5. Burmese fishtail palm (caryota mitis): Named for uniquely-shaped leaves, this gorgeous tree is allegedly one of the easiest indoor palms to grow. It can grow up to 6′ tall indoors so make sure you have enough ceiling room.
6. Parlor palm, dwarf mountain palm, good luck palm, Neanthebella palm, table palm (chamaedorea elegans): This bushy, low-maintenance palm needs regular water, but let the soil dry out in between. It can grow up to 6′ tall but rarely reaches even 4′.
7. Lady palm (rhapis excelsa): I have 7 of these growing outside in both partial sun and shade. I will say that they do better in the shade and the leaves stay a more gorgeous, dark green color when they are houseplants. They are also known as fan palms and easily pruned for a tall, lean appearance versus the bushy look they have in this photo.
8. Sentry palm, Kentia palm, paradise palm (howea forsteriana): I see these called Kentia Palms around San Diego. They can grow up to 60′ tall outdoors, but in containers, they grow very slowly to about 10′ tall.
See secrets to palm tree care for more information regarding how to grow palms indoors.
Shade-Loving House Plants With Gorgeous Leaves
9. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum): There are actually quite a few species of Chinese evergreen, each with different patterns on their elongated leaves. This species is a popular, shade-loving house plant that grows up to 1′ tall. It does sprout a green flower in the summer.
10. Coleus (solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Wizard Mix’): Most coleus plants like shade and would work well in an indoor application. However, I like the Wizard Mix because buying a 6-pack container is like getting to sample a variety of plants. One plant might have lime green leaves, the other pink, etc. Typically, if you buy Wizard Mix seeds, it’s a combination of 12 gorgeous coleus plants.
11. Snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue (sansevieria trifasciata ‘golden hahnii’): This succulent has striking, sword-shaped leaves and is known for being the type of plant to help improve indoor air quality. It grows from 2-4′ tall and does not like excessive moisture, trust me. I’m dying to know how it became known as mother-in-law’s tongue.
12. Prayer plant (maranta leuconeura ‘erythroneura’): My prayer plant has thrived under severe neglect. I adore the leaf color. The plants grow from 12-18″ tall with the leaves about 5″ long. At night, the plant neatly rolls up its leaves, like hands coming together in prayer. Mine is a late riser, taking until mid-morning to unroll, at times.
13. Dumbcane, tuftroot (dieffenbachia amoena): This extremely-popular house plant can grow up to 5-6′ tall. It is toxic if eaten (though not fatal as internet hoaxes might suggest), so make sure to keep members of the family and pets from gnawing on it.
14. Fancy leaved caladium (caladium bicolor ‘rosebud’): It’s a type of elephant’s ear plant with a showy, big red and green leaves that can grow from 12-36″ tall.
15. Wandering Jew, silvery inch plant, zebra plant (tradescantia zebrina): The silver, green, purple leaves make this a gorgeous addition to an indoor container garden. It is also popular on its own in a hanging basket, because the leaves will flow over the sides. Wandering Jew grows from 12-36″.
16. Peacock plant, cathedral window (calathea makoyana): I stopped at Home Depot for some light bulbs and also came out with a peacock plant. Mine has stayed relatively small but they can grow up to 4′ tall and sprout white flowers, at times.
17. Philodendron (philodendron ‘xanadu’): Grows extremely well in containers both indoors and outdoors up to about 4′ tall, but usually much shorter, in my experience. In fact, I have it in a small container garden and it’s stayed about 1′ tall for the last 2 years. It’s used as a groundcover in tropical gardens.
Shade-Loving Indoor Ferns And Ivy
18. Asparagus fern, foxtail asparagus, emerald feather (asparagus densiflorus ‘myers’): This is a cool looking plant that grows to about 2′ tall and 3′ wide. It’s really related to the asparagus and not a real fern, but it also grows extremely well outdoors in gardens all over San Diego.
19. Common maidenhair fern, southern maidenhair fern, Venus maidenhair fern, Venus’s hair fern (adiantum capillus-veneris): These ferns stay compact at about 12-18″ tall and look stunning in an orchid garden.
20. English ivy, Baltic ivy (hedera helix): It’s an indoor houseplant, a groundcover and a vine. This versatile plant is easy to grow and prune, though it’s another plant keep kids and dogs from eating.
Remember, there are 95 houseplants that can tolerate full shade and moist soil in zone 10b (San Diego area). These are just some that I’ve seen commonly sold around town.
Try This Experiment
Users of HGTVGardens, like me, are able to upload their own garden and plant photos. I walked around my yard, camera in hand, and experienced a fairly major light bulb moment. While I thought the majority of my yard looked nice, I only felt comfortable sharing a handful of small spots online. Translation: I have major work to do in preparation for summer entertaining. However, I did upload a few photos to my profile. I look forward to adding more, as things spruce up around here, as well as taking inspiration from other nearby members and helpful articles.
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*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of HGTVGardens.com
**Photo credits: HGTVGardens