The Q&A Archives: indoor plants

Question: I am wanting some live plants in my apartment. However, I keep my blinds closed while I am at school all day. Which plants would be best for growing in very little light?

Answer: Here are four plants that grow in low light levels:
Aglaonema. One of the best plants for poorly lit spaces, the Chinese evergreen bears dark green leaves, 1 1/2 feet long and 5 inches wide, in clumps 2 to 3 feet tall. For variegated leaves, choose A. 'Silver King' or A. 'Silver Queen' with silver markings; A. 'Emerald Star' has gold splashes.

Aspidistra elatior. As its common name implies, cast-iron plant is a real toughie and very drought-tolerant. Bearing glossy dark green leaves, 1 to 2 1/2 feet long and 3 to 4 inches wide, cast-iron plant may eventually reach 3 feet tall. Plants with white- or gold-variegated leaves are available.

Rhapis excelsa. The lady palm grows slowly to a height of 5 to 12 feet, bearing clumps of fanlike fronds up to 14 inches wide. It tolerates moderate to low light. Even 3- to 4-foot-tall specimens can be rather expensive.

Spathiphyllum. One of the few plants that blooms reliably indoors. It bears long-stemmed white flowers resembling calla lilies or anthuriums. Glossy deep green oval or elliptical leaves grow up to 18 inches long and 5 inches wide. Among named varieties, look for S. 'Mauna Loa' (3 1/2 feet tall), S. 'Sensation' (2 1/2 feet), and a new hybrid, S. 'Domino' (2 1/2 feet), with white-streaked leaves.

Good luck with your new houseplants!

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