If you’re located in the Northern hemisphere, you may find yourself struggling to find indoor plants for your North-facing window. These windows will receive less sunlight than South-facing windows, and it can be tricky finding houseplants that will thrive on this amount of light.
It’s important to keep in mind that not every North-facing window is the same. If you have large trees or a significant overhang over your window, your plants will receive even less light than if the window was clear from obstructions.
This is a list of plants that are tolerant of low-light and should find themselves happy in your North-facing window. Of course, it is important to monitor your plant to ensure it is receiving enough light. If you notice the plant is not growing or utilizing water, you may need to relocate it to a sunnier spot.
1. Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
When it comes to low-light plants, Pothos always make the top of the list. They’re very easy to care for and can survive (and even thrive) in lower light conditions. Placing your Pothos directly in your North-facing window will keep it happy.
You can even place it a few feet back and it will likely survive just fine. There are many different varieties of Pothos available to choose from, and they’re very easy to propagate.
Tips for keeping your Pothos in a North-facing window:
- The lighter the color of the Pothos leaves, the more light it will prefer. If you have a very low-light space, choose a Pothos with darker foliage.
- If you notice the variegation fading on your Pothos, it is because it is not getting enough light. This process is normal, but not reversible.
- For the best growth, place your Pothos directly in front of the North-facing window.
- Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Your Pothos will let you know it’s thirsty with drooping leaves.
2. Algaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
Chinese Evergreens are a unique low-light option for your North-facing window because they often boast beautiful colors that other low-light plants lack. In addition to being low-light, they are one of the easiest plants to care for, and they’re very common in local nurseries.
Tips for keeping your Chinese Evergreen in a North-facing window:
- Rotate your Chinese Evergreen 1/4 turn every few days for even light exposure.
- If you have a variegated variety, be sure to place it directly in front of the window to keep the leaves looking bright and vibrant.
- Prune off dead, yellowing leaves to keep the plant looking fresh.
Calatheas are notorious for being “difficult to keep alive.” However, with the proper light and watering, they can survive happily in your North-facing window. These plants do not like direct light, as it can burn the leaves.
Therefore, a North-facing window is the perfect spot for many Calathea plants. There are many varieties to choose from, many of which have unique markings on their foliage. These plants are also pet friendly, so, you don’t have to worry too much if your cat decides to take a taste.
Tips for keeping your Calathea in a North-facing window:
- These plants like to be kept consistently moist. While some of your other low-light plants can tolerate drying out, be sure to monitor the soil of your Calathea to keep it happy.
- These plants prefer higher humidity levels. If your North-facing window is in a bathroom or kitchen, this would be a great spot for a Calathea plant. In the cooler months that come with drier air, you may consider running a humidifier.
4. Stromanthe Triostar
Another beautiful houseplant with bright foliage, the Stromanthe Triostar is surprisingly tolerant of low light levels. Part of the Marantaceae family along with Calatheas, these plants will do just fine receiving indirect light in your North-facing window.
While these plants also make themselves known as “difficult to care for”, they will thrive with proper monitoring and ideal conditions. This a colorful, tropical plant that easily adds a splash of color to a lower-light spot in the home.
Tips for keeping your Stromanthe Triostar in a North-facing window:
- Similar to Calathea, these plants prefer higher humidity levels. A kitchen, bathroom, or room supplemented with a humidifier would be ideal.
- These plants are sensitive to hard water. Water them with distilled or filtered water to prevent the leaves from turning brown.
- Avoid placing your Stromanthe near any drafty windows, doorways, or heating vents.
5. Sansevieria / Dracaena (Snake Plants)
While snake plants have forever been part of the genus Sansevieria, they have formally been reclassified into the genus Dracaena. However, that is a conversation for another day. Let’s talk about how snake plants are the perfect plant for your North-facing window.
Snake plants are incredibly tolerant of low light, and there are many beautiful varieties to choose from. The “Moonshine” Snake Plant boasts lovely light-green leaves, while the “Tornado” Snake Plant has unique and wild foliage. And, you can’t forget about the “Whale Fin” Snake Plant which is is quickly becoming a favorite in our household.
Tips for keeping your Snake Plant in a North-facing window:
- It’s much easier to overwater these plants than to underwater them. Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering.
- Snake Plants are tolerant of temperature fluctuations, so there is no need to keep them away from drafty windows or vents.
- Snake Plants are also tolerant of lower humidity levels, so there is no need to run a humidifier for them or keep them in a high-humidity environment.
- These plants are slow growers. So, even placed directly in a North-facing window, you will not notice change very quickly.
6. ZZ Plant
These waxy, low-light houseplants are just about as easy to care for as the Snake Plant. These slow-growing houseplants are pet friendly, highly tolerant, and even come in a unique black/purple variety (the “Raven” ZZ Plant).
While they are incredibly low-light tolerant, that doesn’t mean “no light at all.” This plants will die a slow death if not provided a bit of light, so a North-facing window is perfectly suitable.
Tips for keeping your ZZ Plant in a North-facing window:
- The more light your ZZ Plant receives, the quicker it will dry out. These plants only need to be watered once every few weeks, and it is better to underwater them than overwater them. When it doubt, don’t water!
- Periodically clean the leaves to help with photosynthesis.
7. Aspidistra Elatior (Cast Iron Plant)
It wouldn’t be a list of low-light tolerant plants for your North-facing window without mention of the Cast Iron Plant. A personal favorite of mine, these plants are the perfect way to add some lush greenery to a lower light spot in your home. The “Milky Way” variety sports unique, flecked foliage that adds dimension and texture to your indoor garden.
Tips for keeping your Cast Iron Plant in a North-facing window:
- Clean the leaves on a regular basis to help with photosynthesis (especially larger varieties).
- Use distilled or filtered water if possible when watering.
8. Spider Plant
Everyone is familiar with the classic Spider Plant. These plants are tolerant of many conditions, including low-light. The only thing they are a little fussy about is their water. Use filtered water or distilled water to keep their leaves looking the best.
Spider Plants look great in hanging baskets and will happily grow in your North-facing window. They’re low maintenance, pet friendly, and look beautiful and lush with very little care. What more could you want?
Tips for keeping your Spider Plant in a North-facing window:
- Prune off dead or dried leaves to keep your Spider Plant looking its best.
- Use a hanging basket in front of your North-facing window and allow the plant to elegantly drape over the sides.
- Use filtered or distilled water to keep the leaf tips from turning brown.
- These plants are magnets for cats! While they are pet friendly, you’ll want to keep them away from your pets if possible, as they can quickly become destroyed.
Now comes the difficult part, choosing which plant you’re going to purchase for your North-facing window. Consider how much light you get in your home, as well as any other special needs you may have.
For example, if you have a cat, you may want to stay away from the Chinese Evergreens, as they are toxic to animals. Or, if you are gone for several weeks during the year, you may want to consider a Snake Plant as they do not require much watering.
Houseplants are the perfect way to add some life into your home, so you really can’t go wrong with any of these options!