Indoor Plants That Need High Light

By: Heather Rhoades

There are a number of plants grown in the home that require varying light intensities. Those with high light requirements are the topic of this article.

Indoor Plants that Need High Light

Some examples of plants that need a lot of light are below. These plants would do best in a south or west window and direct light most of the day.

Aloe – Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) has long succulent spikes that grow from the center of the plant. The gel inside the leaves is used to relieve minor skin irritations and burns. This plant grows slowly and is undemanding of temperature and water. You can divide it up and pot it for new plants like the mother-in-law’s tongue.

Coleus – The coleus is traditionally an outdoor plant and enjoys shady summer gardens. Coleus has colorful foliage in reds, yellows and oranges. You can take these plants out of your garden at the end of the season and plant them in pots to bring inside, where they just need high humidity and evenly moist soil until winter when they require less water.

Meyer lemon – Meyer lemon trees produce glossy leaves and fragrant flowers. Indoors, it probably won’t fruit. It likes the soil evenly moist and an average to cool temperature. This is a plant you don’t want to repot often.

Polka dot plant – Finally, there is the Polka-dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya). This plant is a perky one with dark green leaves speckled with pink. It grows fast and likes average temperatures and evenly moist soil. Cut it back to keep the plant small and bushy.

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Read more about General Houseplant Care

The Most High-Maintenance Houseplants

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Much ado is made about easy or low-maintenance houseplants that are "impossible to kill," but what about their counterpoints, the fussy diva houseplants that are "impossible to keep alive?" These houseplants are sold in the same home improvement centers as their hardier brethren, and someone must be buying them: maybe you have fallen for their charms? These fourteen houseplants are difficult to grow, but easy to love, and might give you bragging rights if you can keep them alive for more than one season indoors.


Golden pothos. Photo by Myimagine / Shutterstock.


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.

Photo by Cheng Wei / Shutterstock.


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.

Photo by Garden World Images / Alamy Stock Photo.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Photo by dropStock / Shutterstock.


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 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.


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.

18 Indoor Hanging Plants That'll Instantly Bring Life to Any Room

Look up, not out: Take advantage of free space by hanging live succulents, flowers, and greens.

If you’re tired of staring at the same four walls, bringing nature indoors is an easy, good-for-you way to refresh your space. In fact, studies have shown that plants may help reduce stress and reduce indoor air pollutants. And there’s no question that they make your space, no matter the size, look — and feel — more cozy and welcoming. If you're short on space or available tables, countertops, or shelves, turn to these indoor hanging plants to infuse your home with live greenery. Not to mention, these pretty picks are a handy option if you have pets who like to nibble on houseplants, or young children who pick up everything in sight.

Taking care of a hanging plant may sound tricky, but the same rules apply: Before sticking the plant, succulent, or flowers in a new planter, read up on how much water and sun it needs to thrive. A south-facing window is best for plants that need bright light, but many of the plants on this list can survive in low-light conditions. And whatever you do, make sure your planter has draining holes to prevent overwatering.

Countertop Models

These models are more compact in nature, and suited for use on counters or tabletops.

7. SunBlaster Indoor Grow Garden

Sunblaster’s indoor garden kit is compact and self-watering – ideal for a countertop.

The heavy-duty base of recycled polypropylene acts as a 4-quart reservoir, and a wicking capillary mat provides steady self-watering action for 14 to 21 days at a stretch.

An elevated stand holds the mat and four heavy-duty plant trays above the water, and seedlings are left undisturbed by the gentle bottom-watering. The canopy houses two 24-inch, full spectrum, 6400K T5 fluorescent tubes (3,730 lumens) with nanotech reflectors, and built-in ballasts ensure maximum power output.

The canopy is easily adjusted on strong verticals with thumbscrew collars, and has a variable distance of 18 inches above the stand. This model measures 26 x 15.5 x 18 inches.


  • Countertop single-tier aluminum frame
  • Lights adjustable up to 18 inches above the stand
  • 2 T5 fluorescent tubes with nanotech reflectors
  • 26 x 15.5 x 18 inches
  • Self-watering for 14-21 days
  • Convenient automatic watering feature provides steady irrigation to your plants
  • Light is adjustable to 18 inches above plants, giving your seedlings plenty of room to develop

This is the type that I have at home, and I love its compact efficiency.

It’s currently our second season together and I have zero problems to report – it’s perfect for plant-and-forget convenience. Just top up the water reservoir and raise the canopy every few weeks. I added a standard timer, available via Amazon, for virtually hands-free convenience.

8. SunBlaster Mini Greenhouse Nanodome

The SunBlaster Mini Nanodome delivers a complete, controlled environment in a breadbox-sized package – perfect for easy tabletop seed germination or growing microgreens.

It includes a heavy-duty 10-by-20-inch planting tray and a sturdy, 10-inch, clear vented dome that creates a mini greenhouse.

An 18-inch, full spectrum high output 6400K T5 fluorescent lamp (3,730 lumens) and strip reflector mounts to the dome top, and the 6-foot power cord has an in-line on/off switch.


  • Plastic tray with clear plastic mini greenhouse cover
  • 1 high output T5 fluorescent tube with nanotech reflector
  • 10 x 20 x 10 inches
  • Compact, lightweight starter system that takes up very little space
  • Easy to move around or store when not in use
  • Cover is easy to remove for watering and harvesting your greens
  • Plastic dome feels a bit flimsy, so you can’t expand your garden vertically by stacking one on top of another
  • Large drainage holes in the bottom of the tray mean you need to use a liner

A sturdy little system that offers convenience in a miniature package for growing herbs, microgreens, and seedlings, this one’s just right for small spaces.

Check prices and customer reviews now at True Leaf Market.

9. AeroGarden Harvest Elite Hydroponic Grow System

AeroGarden’s Harvest Elite is a compact hydroponic kit that includes everything you need to quickly cultivate and harvest six popular kitchen herbs – no soil required.

The canopy houses small blue, red, and white LED bulbs (1,500 lumens, 5500K total output) that supply optimal, full spectrum coverage to your plants in the sturdy base.

It has a timer so you can customize when you want the lights to switch on or off, and a handy “vacation” setting for when you are traveling. The digital control panel reminds you when it’s time to add plant food and water.

It includes seed pods of basil, Thai basil, dill, mint, curly parsley, and thyme and comes with a year’s supply of liquid plant food. Overall measurements are 10.75 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches and it has a 12-inch clearance from canopy to base.


  • Countertop unit in sleek stainless steel
  • 5500K LED light canopy adjustable to 12 inches above the base
  • Fully automatic set-and-forget timer, with reminder lights for feeding and watering
  • 10.75 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Ships with seeds and a year’s worth of liquid plant food
  • Everything you need to get started with hydroponic herb gardening
  • Fully adjustable on/off timer and handy “vacation mode” allow your plants to thrive while you are traveling
  • Sleek, compact, modern unit looks stylish in your kitchen and won’t take up much space
  • You can’t start seeds in soil with this unit
  • Light bar doesn’t allow clearance for taller herbs

Easy and no-fuss, this is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy garden-fresh herbs all year.

More Indoor Garden Tips

Indoor Gardening on a Budget

Designing and building a system will save you money and let you make a system for the space you have available. One DIY project is to buy a metal shelf – the ones they make for garages will suit your needs perfectly. Then, outfit the shelf with grow lights and trays.

If you’re short on space or want to start out small, you can purchase a clamp light and a few plastic trays. These work well for growing a few herbs or microgreens and cost little.

Get the Family Involved

Do you have young children in your household? An indoor salad garden makes a wonderful learning experience.

Indoor gardens give your children a way to connect with nature even when their world is covered in snow. Growing a salad garden on the kitchen table will teach children how plants grow, what they need to survive, and how delicious fresh food tastes.

Clear containers such as RootVue is a fun way for children to watch carrots and beets grow under the soil.

Hand Pollination

One thing to consider when you think about what plants you will grow in your indoor garden is pollination.

Plants in the nightshade family such as tomatoes and peppers need their pollen to travel from one part of the flower to another. Outside this happens with wind and insects. To simulate this, give your flowering plants a little shake twice a day to help move the pollen to the appropriate spot.

Plants such as cucumbers and squashes need pollen to move from one flower to another. That may be on the same plant or a neighboring plant. Outside they’re pollinated by wind or insects. You can mimic outdoor pollination by hand.

Take a paintbrush such as one made for water coloring and dab it on the inside of the flowers. Then go to the next flower and do this again. In that way, you are like the honey bee going from flower to flower.

Plants As Décor

An indoor garden is not synonymous with drab and boring. There are many ways that you can incorporate edible plants into your décor.

Hanging plants are attractive and great for things that are vining such as strawberries, peas, and spinach. You can even place a grow light bulb in your overhead lamp to make sure they get adequate rays.

Also, you can look for plant stands that coordinate with your décor or make your own. Window boxes are not just for the outside of the window. Place one on the inside so you can enjoy your plants all winter.

Watch the video: White LED vs Red Blue White LED Grow Test wTime Lapse - Lettuce

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