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The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants

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Wall plants that can grow even in poor light without compromising the attractiveness of the leaves and beauty of flowering are now at the peak of popularity. And this is due not only to the fact that such crops are usually unpretentious. The introduction of plants into the interior, active use not only on window sills, but also inside the rooms also requires a more rigorous selection of plants. For secluded lighting in the most beautiful places and the role of decorative accent not all room beauties are ready. Fortunately, among houseplants there are many crops that can be classified as shade tolerant and shade-loving. They will add harmonious and attractive green touches to the ambiance of any home.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Plants in the back of the room. © omedis

Shade lovers and their talents

Shade-loving crops today may well compare with the most spectacular flowering species and exotics in popularity. Unlike the latter, they do not require a strict selection of growing conditions and are usually well adapted to the conditions at the back of the room, receiving several times less intense light compared to the classic type room crops. Such plants allow active use of green accents in the interior.

In full shade, without access to light at all, no plant, even the most hardy plant, can grow. But the requirements for much lower light intensity and the ability to grow crops in artificial afterglow with the same success as on window sills allows you to single out a group of really versatile species which can be displayed anywhere you like. If light-loving cultures need light intensity from 10000 lux, shade-tolerant ones can tolerate from 500 to 1000 lux.

You can always measure a concrete level of light intensity with lux meters or photoexposure meters, but there are simpler methods. Please note that the maximum distance from windows, even for shade-loving house plants, is 2 meters to the north and 3 meters to windowsills of other orientations. Due to their ability to adapt to such conditions shade-loving plants can be used to decorate offices, sleeping corners, bathrooms, other zones and living room relaxation areas with live plants.

Despite their essential functionality, versatility and unpretentiousness shade-loving plants are considered by many as the most boring group of room cultures, although they are characterized by the greatest variety of textures. The inimitable shades of green, which are characteristic of all shade tolerant herbaceous cultivars, are evident even in the fact that a change of location by only a few tens of centimeters can change the intensity of the patterns on the leaves or the hue of the leaf plate color.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Plants in the back of the room. © Arpad Nagy-Bagoly

Shade-loving and shade-tolerant plants can be used for interior landscaping and deep room decoration. Despite the conditional similarity in the criterion of the ability to adapt to lower light, these plants are not the same at all. Shade-loving plants cannot grow in illuminated locations and naturally prefer sheltered lighting. But shade-loving crops are true indoor all-rounders, which are equally good in the shade, in the penumbra, and in brighter light.

While even crops with a common origin can show completely different requirements to the light level, shade tolerant plants can be found most often among tropical and subtropical plants, which are used to be satisfied with minimum light due to the rapid growth of tree and lianas in their natural habitat. A reminder that plants are comfortable in north-facing windows or can be used for fully artificial light can serve as a guideline. Plants that need a long resting period in the shade cannot be classified as shade-loving, because at the peak of their decorativeness they must be exposed at least to diffused light.

Let's take a closer look at some of the best shade-loving plants:

1. Aspidistra tall (Aspidistra elatior)

It is one of the most spectacular decorative-leaved house plants. The beauty of aspidistra leaves, as if dotted with fine white powder, seems both familiar and unusual at the same time. But if you want to grow this plant in the shade and put it away from the windowsill, it is better to pay attention either to varieties with initially pure green color, or be prepared to lose the traditional white patterns of aspidistra.

From the fleshy rhizomes appear long elongated-oval leaves with pointed tips, forming a slender and very beautiful graphical turf. Their shape resembles lily of the valley. Aspidistra flowers, appearing almost at the level of the soil beneath the leaves, are unsightly in spite of their pink color.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Aspidistra tall (Aspidistra elatior). © Nino Barbieri

It is one of the most unpretentious indoor plants, doing well even in very dark places. The biggest advantage of the aspidistra is its easy care: it is not sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations and does not require any special care. In summer, aspidistra can even be taken out into the fresh air. The only thing this plant does not like is stagnant water and direct sunlight. And the only disadvantage is the necessity to make it cool in winter at 12-15 degrees.

2: Chlorophytum comosum

This plant is one of the classics of the house plants. Without chlorophytum it is impossible to imagine the design of almost any house or office. A spectacular plant with elegant lanceolate leaves in a dense rosette, producing long branches not only with inflorescences, but with daughter, capable of rooting rosettes, belongs to those plants, the appearance of which is familiar to almost everyone.

Even though the chlorophytum seems incapable of surprise, the many new cultivars with curly or broad leaves like garden chard or spinach will excite anyone, not to mention the variegated colors of the modern hybrids. Chlorophytum is good both in a pot and in ampelic culture, will not get lost in any interior. Height of this plant is limited to only 40 cm, though due to its famous plumes it can cover striking territories and create amazingly showy cascades. © Maja Dumat

Chlorophytum belongs to those hardy and unpretentious room plants that can withstand almost any conditions. It puts up well not only with diffused light, but also with deep shade. However, for this transition, accustoming to the reduction of light should be quite gradual: a sharp change in conditions for chlorophytum - a factor of significant loss of decorativeness. If young plants are initially grown in the shade, problems will not arise.

Chlorophytum feels well in hot conditions and in the cool, tolerates even the driest air and care for it is amazingly easy. The only thing to take care of is to avoid both drought and overwatering of the substrate, remembering to periodically spray the plant and closely monitor its condition.

3. Aglaonema commutatum (Aglaonema commutatum)

This room beauty can offer a large selection of varieties and species with different leaf shape or coloring. Lancet, yellow, oval, bright green, decorated with silver, yellow, gray, cream spots and stripes, Aglaonema leaves create strikingly beautiful clumps. Between 30-60 cm high this shrub-like plant looks like it consists only of densely arranged leaves which together form a nice mat, so the stems are hardly noticeable. With very good care, the aglaonema can bloom even in a room culture, forming inflorescences-cobs with a white spike-cover. Despite the beauty of the silver varieties and their tendency to partially lose their characteristic patterns in the shade, the Aglaonema does not lose its decorative qualities even in a strongly shaded location.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Aglaonema commutatum. © ©7>

Aglaonema commutatum can be safely called an unpretentious plant. Aglaonema adapts well to almost any illumination, provided that the temperature in the room does not fall below 16 degrees and remains within the range of 20 to 25 degrees. Regular watering, constant humidity of the substrate without overwatering, and occasional fertilizing are all that this culture needs.

4. Epipremnum

One of the best indoor lianas, Epipremnum (Epipremnum), formerly known as Scindapsus, exhibits unprecedented draping abilities and is actively used in ecodesign, particularly to create green walls. Epipremnum, which reaches up to 3 meters in length, is indeed capable of sprawling and filling free space at an astonishing rate. But this is not the only talent of the climbing plant. Both in a pot with a support and in the open air this indoor plant is capable of producing shoots up to 6 m long.

The large, oval leaves with a heart-shaped base and a pointed tip in mature plants can grow to half a meter. Among epipremnum there are both lianas with the classic rich light green color, and mottled specimens with white or yellowish patterns that look like splashes of paint. The Epipremnum pinnatum and Epipremnum aureum are especially shade-tolerant

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Epipremnum pinnatum 'Neon'. © Maja Dumat

Despite its impressive foliage, Epipremnum can boast an excellent ability to put up with almost any growing conditions. When kept at room temperatures and protected from excessive cold, the plant can adapt to any light from bright sun to penumbra and shade. And even if in the shade the variegated specimens almost completely lose the typical spots on their leaves, this does not make the epipremnum less beautiful and densely foliated. Taking care of this plant is quite simple, but it requires regular watering and fertilizing.

5. Alocasia (Alocasia)

The ornamental tropic alocasia captivates with the beauty of its large, ornate, cream and light veined leaves. Extraordinarily showy and eye-catching, this beauty is as if all composed of sharp lines and contrasts. Alocasia grows from half a meter up to almost 2 meters high and amazes by its growth form because it develops from rhizomes. In the greenery of alokasia everything is beautiful - both the shape and color. The leaves rise on long and thin petioles, very large, heart-shaped with a pointed tip and irregular large denticles along the edge.

On the very dark surface of the plates, the color of which can vary from deep green to silvery, purple in varieties of alocasia, thick, seemingly massive veins that dissect large lobes like a mosaic are clearly showing through. The slight wrinkling of the surface is almost invisible due to the bright glossy glow. Some alocasia varieties have leaves that fall in winter, but the best proven hybrid varieties retain their greenery throughout the year.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Alocasia amazonica (Alocasia amazonica). © Sweetpea's

Growing alocasia is not easy. It is one of the most undemanding plants to light, able to withstand any shade. But for this, alocasia has a lot of care requirements. It is not without reason is considered a culture, the cultivation of which is under the power of only experienced florists. Alocasia needs not only high air humidity, but also a strict control of temperature, uniform soil humidity, which must not be broken either in the direction of drying or overwatering.

The plant, in addition, must strictly comply with the dormancy period, monitor the substrate and constantly check the condition of the leaves and shoots. Even in terms of substrate requirements, the alocasia is very capricious, since it can only develop successfully in a soil with a composition identical to the special substrate for orchids.

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6. Soleirolia or Gelxine (Soleirolia soleirolii)

This plant looks like fine-leaved garden mats and is really a perennial herbaceous groundcover adapted to room culture and creating a kind of cushion or "cap" with curly texture and the smallest rounded leaves. It attained its shade tolerance in its native Sardinia and Corsica where it is used to grow on rocks in joints between boulders and stones, in the most shady places.

This plant hardly grows in the sun, but in room culture it adapts well to light locales and penumbra if necessary. Still, it looks most beautiful in the shade of the soleirolia. The curly cushion of greenery is surprisingly spectacular away from window sills. Besides the plant with the basic green color, there are varieties with silvery and golden leaves among Soleirolia today, but classic green-leaved Soleirolia grow better in the shade.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Soleirolia soleirolii (Soleirolia soleirolii). © 99roots

The amazing abilities of this unpretentious plant include good adaptability to both high and low temperatures, love of winter coolness and even tolerance to sharp temperature jumps. For success in growing this plant, it is only important to keep the substrate evenly moist.

7. Tetrastigma voinierianum (Tetrastigma voinierianum)

While the leaves of the liana most resemble chestnuts, among florists this plant is known as an indoor grape. A magnificent climbing liana, fast growing and surprisingly unpretentious, it is famous for its large, consisting of 5 lobes with serrated edges of deep green leaves. The height of the plant depends on how it is tied to a pole and shaped, but tetrastigma shoots can grow up to 4 m. This liana requires a lot of space, but in spite of its massiveness it seems airy and very graceful. The room grape is characterized by an elegant, classical beauty.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Tetrastigma voinierianum (Tetrastigma voinierianum). © Quentin

The advantages of Tetrastigma voinierianum include unpretentiousness. The plant is easily formed on any support, but it can grow only in a shady place. Do not rush to put this plant in the corners of the room, it is better to limit the maximum distance of 2-2.5 m from the window. It is better to place it either as a living screen, or by the walls. Since room grapes are very fond of fresh air, the position in the corner of the room can lead to its stagnation and the spread of pests.

This liana perfectly tolerates room temperatures. Like all shade-tolerant plants, tetrastigma voyance prefers even substrate humidity without extremes, moderate fertilization, and responds well to dry indoor air. The room grape also does not fear frequent pruning.

8. Polyrhizomatous sickle-shaped (Polystichum falcatum)

Despite its status as a shade-loving plant, most ferns in room culture prefer not shaded sites at all. Practically the only fern that does well at a distance of 2 m from the window is the polyrhizomatous falcatum (Polystichum falcatum). This plant has its own advantages and disadvantages. Reaching height of 50-70 cm it produces very beautiful shoots with unusually large for ferns lobes.

It looks architectural and patterned, amazingly effective and in a pot culture it attracts first of all by rich green color and openwork spreading texture of leaves. The sickle-shaped lobes on the leaf blades are just as fascinating as the glossy gloss. In appearance, this fern is somewhat different from its indoor counterparts. And this is not surprising: unlike the majority of room ferns, the polyrhod is a groundcover plant.

The 8 Most Shade-Loving House Plants
Cyrtomium sickle-shaped (Cyrtomium falcatum). © florafinder

The crescent-shaped polystichum (Polystichum falcatum) is commonly referred to as Cyrtomium falcatum according to the modern classification, but it continues to be called a polyrhod.

The main and perhaps the only drawback of the crescent-shaped polystichum is its love of coolness. It feels comfortable in cool conditions with air temperature of about 10 degrees in winter and about 16-18 degrees in summer. With the maintenance of even soil humidity, frequent spraying and restrained feeding, the polyrhod can also adapt to higher temperatures, especially if it is in a shady location in the interior.

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