Best Houseplant For A Shady Area

Best Houseplant For A Shady Area

Solve the problem of what to put in that shady corner with our guide

We all have a problem corner in the house which doesn’t really receive enough light for most houseplants to prosper, however there are a few which actively thrive in the shade. There are two groups; plants which are almost entirely belonging in the shade, and those which would prefer the shade but will also work in areas which have much more light.



The first one is the Dracaena (Dragon Tree), often found in people’s front windows, but it only actually needs about 4 hours of sunlight a day. They are happy in a south facing window provided they are shielded from the full glare of the midday sun, but they are often happier across the other side of the room in that shady corner where you’re looking to put something tall and architectural; the one in the video is quite a small one but they will grow to 180 – 210cm (6 – 7’).

Ferns are the classic shade loving plant; they’re always elegant in hangers or they look good in lovely big ceramic containers on sideboards. They love shade, they won’t really tolerate an awful lot of sunlight so it is best to consider them as a very shade loving plant. They like to be moist but they don’t particularly like draughts and that goes for the Phlebodium  ‘Blue Star’ and the Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) that you can see in the video. A steamy bathroom would be an ideal spot for a fern.

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is an almost indestructible plant, and a great one to start children off with gardening. They like bright sunshine but they also do love shade; their colours work better in the shade as they tend to become sun-bleached. So if you have a shadier area of your home that requires something green and luscious and are not too confident about keeping a plant, then the Spider Plant is probably the best one for you.

The Calatheas are shade-loving plants but they will tolerate more light, they don’t like to be completely in the dark. They do however have unusual and lovely leaf markings and they brighten any corner; they come in lots of different colours and one of the most interesting facts is that towards sunset their leaves will roll up and they go to sleep.

Next to the Calatheas we have a tiny example of a Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans); you see these a lot in hotel lobbies and office spaces where the light levels are not too good. Palms love shade and they won’t tolerate a great deal of very bright sunlight. They don’t particularly like draughts, you’ll find the tips will go brown. As long as you keep them moist but not wet in a shady area of your home they will last for years.

The Sansevieria (Snake Plant or Mother-in-law’s-tongue) looks like it would actually love really bright, hot sunshine, and they do, but they are also remarkably tolerant of shade. They will be quite happy in a north facing room as long as it’s not draughty and as long as you keep the roots crammed into the pot; if you give the roots plenty of room to grow then they will stop growing any foliage and just concentrate on growing root. They’ll grow to about 120cm (4’) high and can look really sculptural, so they’re a really good choice if you want a no-fuss minimalist look.

Profile Image Angela Slater

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.