If you’d like to know the best indoor plants for filtered light, we’ve got a great list for you here. Of course, it’s not an exhaustive list. There are other plants that can do well in filtered light and because plants are so adaptive, you may even find that there is one that is listed to prefer direct light but still thrives in low light. The beauty of plants is that they will always find a way to survive.
So, don’t view this as a hard-and-fast rule, but more as suggestions for plants that will have the best chances of doing well, even in filtered light spaces of your home. All plants need light to survive, but the plants on this list are a bit better adapted to low light or filtered light, which means they don’t need to be directly in front of a bright window all the time.
Best Indoor Plants for Filtered Light
While you can always get grow lights or take potted plants outside during the day for more sun, that can be too much maintenance for some people. Instead, you can find some plants that do well in filtered light and fill your shady spaces of the home with those.
NOTE: Some of the plants on this list may be toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA’s searchable database.
1. Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
The snake plant makes it to so many lists like this because it is that versatile. It’s one plant that can truly “go with the flow”, and it also happens to do well in filtered light. This plant, sometimes called “Mother-In-Law’s Tongue” has green leaves with white stripes that grow up in long stalk-like shapes. They look good when small on a table or shelf and as they get bigger can go in pots on the floor and grow tall like small trees. They also look good in any room of the hall or even in an entryway. Care is simple. They need watering when the top layers of soil get dry. Be careful not to overwater.
2. Philodendron (Philodendron spp)
Philodendrons are another great choice for filtered light. Philodendrons without solid green leaves can tolerate more light and the sun will bring out variegated patterns. Solid green leaves can actually die or burn in the sun and definitely prefer low lighting or filtered light. If they’re getting too much light, their leaves will start to turn yellow. Soil can be watered again when the top layer starts to dry out, but they are forgiving when it comes to too little or too much water.
3. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos, like the philodendron, come in many different varieties and are one of the easiest plants to keep. They were the first plants I never killed and actually got to thrive, which inspired me to start keeping more indoor plants.
Variegated varieties will have more color pop out when they get more sun, but they can still do well in the filtered light as well. You can keep pothos in a corner of a room, near a small window, near a window that gets only a bit of light at certain times of day, or even in low light situations and it will still do well.
Bright, direct light can actually burn the leaves so if you do keep your pothos outside in the sun, be sure it has some shade, or you bring it inside part of the day.
4. Zebra cactus (hawthornia attenuata)
The Zebra cactus, also just called Hawthornia, has an appearance similar to striped aloe. As a succulent, it doesn’t need a lot of water and it can also thrive in filtered light. It’s perfectly happy in the shade, but just not in the cold. Keep the temps warm and give it a little water mist if the air is dry, and it will do well.
5. Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
Ponytail palm is another great choice for filtered light. It can give a tropical appearance to your space without needing a tropical environment. The top of this palm has leaves shooting up and out in a ponytail like appearance, hence the name. But this plant can tolerate filtered light and is low maintenance, making it a great choice.
6. Nerve plant (Fittonia)
Also known as fittonia, nerve plant is another choice for low or filtered light. It can be more colorful when in full sun, however. The Peru native has small leaves in a variety of colors from green, light green, white and pink.
This is a small plant that usually only grows about 6 to 12 inches. It will look good on a table or even in a terrarium and it’s easy to care for.
7. Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
Lucky bamboo is a popular indoor plant that’s not actually bamboo at all. These easy to care for little plants have become so popular, you have likely seen them in restaurants and other places of business or seen them being sold in grocery stores in the produce section. It’s sold in a variety of sizes and shapes made of loops, braids, and more, with leaves shooting off the tops.
8. Monstera (Monstera deliciosa)
The monstera grows big, tall green leaves and can thrive in all lighting conditions so you can place it just about anywhere in your home and it will do well. It will adjust to filtered light or low light but may grow slower than in more sun. It’s also called the Swiss Cheese plant for the way its leaves split when they mature.
9. Staghorn fern (Platycerium)
Most ferns do well in filtered light and the staghorn is no exception. In fact, too much sun will burn the leaves. However, this fern does like humidity so if you have dry air indoors, you may need to mist it regularly or use a humidifier. It has beautiful, lush leaves and it looks great in a pot or hanging from a hook in a basket. They’re also great for purifying the air.
10. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are fun, easy plants to take care of. They are great for beginners or children and enjoyable for people with all experience levels. They purify the air, and they are easily propagated because they grow their own little “pups”. They do well in filtered light.
11. ZZ plant (Zamioculcasi)
The ZZ plant gets its name from its scientific name, which can be hard for people to pronounce. It’s a hardy green plant that is good for all experience levels and looks great in any type of container or pot. You can use it as an accent piece alone or add ZZ plants to your existing plants for an extra POP. They are not an easy plant to kill, and they do well in filtered light.
12. Maidenhair fern (Adiantum)
Here’s another fern that does well in filtered light and is pretty easy to take care of. While the maidenhair fern looks delicate, it’s actually pretty hardy for a fern. It’s sturdy and just needs moist soil but will do well in low-light areas.
13. Creeping fig (Ficus pumila)
Creeping fig is a type of ficus and is native to the tropics. They do well in low light and humid conditions so you may decide to use them in a bathroom. It is a vine and will also crawl across the wall or up a trellis. They grow in almost any lighting conditions, and they are fast-growing but will grow slower in low lighting.
14. Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)
Dumb cane does well in filtered light and will grow tall like a type of tree when healthy. Growth will slow in winter, but they will shoot up in spring and summer under the right conditions. Dumb cane can grow large, beautiful green leaves with white patterns in them. Do be cautious if you have pets or small children because they are toxic, which is where it gets the nickname “dumb cane”.
15. Peace lily (Sathiphyullum)
The peace lily is another plant that does well in filtered light. While this green plant blooms a beautiful flower, it’s not actually a lily at all. The white part that looks like a petal is a leaf bract. This will grow around the yellow bud, and it can flower several times a year if it is healthy. It can do well in filtered light or in fluorescent light only.
16. Dragon tree (Dracaena draco)
The dragon tree is a type of dracaena and is easy to care for. They do well in filtered light and too much direct sun can even scorch their leaves. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and resemble tropical plants. If you want to bring the feel of the tropics to your space without having to simulate a tropical environment, this is definitely a fun choice.
17. Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Cast iron plant is a hardy, green plant that can do well in filtered light. They grow very slowly but require little maintenance. This is a good choice if you tend to forget about your plants, or just don’t have a schedule that allows constant care.
18. Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)
Prayer plants are called this because they move and look as if they are praying in the evenings. They are famous for moving at night and many people have put cameras on them to catch the “movement” in action. This is a low-growing plant that tends to clump, and it has such beautiful foliage. Native to Central and South America, prayer plants have evergreen leaves that will do well as indoor plants. They’re unique and can just be a lot of fun.
19. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema)
Chinese evergreen is a low-maintenance plant that even beginners can do well with. It’s hardy and can go up to three weeks without water so if you forget a watering here or there, it will be fine. They don’t need fertilizer and they do well in low light or filtered light. If you’re looking for a pretty plant that’s relatively low-maintenance, add this one to your list.
20. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
Another wonderful plant for filtered light is the bromeliad. There are different varieties, and they are also really easy to grow, so they’re great if you’re new to indoor plants. They have a lot of different colors so you can choose your favorite or get several to really brighten up your space. They prefer low light conditions, and the soil should be moist but never oversaturated or soggy.
21. Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum)
Last but not least on our list s the arrowhead plant. It has green and white leaves and grows in a mound when it’s small but will usually start to vine out when it grows. You can provide it some trellis or poles or something to vine onto if you want to encourage this more. It gets its name from the shape of its leaves, and it can do well in filtered light but will have less variegated colors without full sun.
Caring for Plants in Filtered Light
When you have plants in filtered light, there are some things you can do to help them thrive, even in less light. For one, always maintain healthy soil. Don’t overwater, have proper drainage in your pots, and if you see mold start to form in the soil, clean it up before it can spread and destroy the plant’s roots.
Also, be sure to keep an eye on your plants that may be in low light or filtered light locations. Check for signs of disease or other problems and also to see if they need to be dusted from time to time.
Conclusion of Best Indoor Plants for Filtered Light
Now that you know more about the types of indoor plants that will do well in filtered light, you can choose some plants that will go well in the less sunny parts of your home. Remember that plants do more than just look nice.
They can help reduce carbon dioxide and harmful chemicals in your indoor air. They’ve also been proven in studies to help improve emotional and psychological well-being. Because many houseplants, like the ones on this list, can thrive in indirect or filtered light, you have more options than you likely thought possible when it comes to filling your home or apartment with plants.
Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who grew up on farmland, then moved to the city, and has now retired back to her rural roots. She's having fun teaching her kids about gardening, planting flowers, and collecting houseplants.