Plants that Can Survive Dark Spaces

I love the colors of our home. Deep jewel tones, rich woods, and industrial metals all create this comforting environment that makes me truly happy to be in my home.

The downside to this, though, is that our house is not brightly lit. As the dark tones soak up any light, rather than bouncing it off and illuminating the room like a white or cream room would.

Consequently, I’ve had to learn that hard way that this isn’t incredibly hospitable to exotic or tropical plants. And I’ve had to send many to the great Garden in the Sky. Now that we’re moving into Year 4 of living here, I’ve begun to get into a better groove with finding house plants that can survive in dark spaces.

So allow me to give you a tour of the plants we keep and my recommendations for those who also live in a goth house.

Plants that Can Survive Dark Spaces

Calatheas

I currently have 3 different calatheas flourishing here:

My prayer plant, my rattlesnake plant, and my latest one: a white fusion calathea. I usually rotate them once a month or so that they get a fuller look. Rather than all the leaves being on one side of the pot.

Ivy

My English Ivy tolerates a lot of my over-loving with it, but does best when I leave it alone. It lives in the guest room which is the sunniest spot.

Sanservias

I currently have two: one was a gift that lives in the darkest corner of our kitchen and the other was a clearance find that lives in the dark purple bedroom. I love that they’re slow growers and can handle a lot of abuse. Also, who doesn’t appreciate a plant known as “Viper/Mother-In-Law Tongue?”

Monstera

My Monstera Deliciosa has absolutely flourished in my deep burgundy living room. Though he lives right in front of a South-facing window (with blinds). I was surprised he did so well as Monsteras are from more tropical areas. But so far so good. (Although note that Monsteras are toxic to cats. So we have to make sure Bettie doesn’t nibble on it.)

Pothos

I have a few variations of pothos around the downstairs and they do SO well without my help. 

ZZ Plants

Like I mentioned in my Goth plant round up, I love how idiot-proof ZZ plants are. And I’ve now collected 3 of them which all live in our upstairs spaces (bedroom and my office). They’re fairly easygoing and don’t need a lot from me, I usually just water them when the soil is dry.

Tricolor Stromanthe

“Petunia” as she’s known around these parts, has absolutely gone bananas and already outgrown her 4” pot in her first few months here. She’s definitely a trooper.

Plants that are doing …alright 

Orchids

I have a temperamental relationship with orchids; I want them to love me. But they always seem reticent to do so. I usually pick them up in the clearance section of Lowe’s and will keep them in my office which has a west-facing TINY window. The current count is 3 orchids, but 2 of them seem to be tenuous…

Fiddle Leaf Fig

“George” was a clearance find and he’s had a rough go of it. But I’ve tried my best to keep him happy. He’s sprouted two new leaves a few months ago, but then starting showing signs of root rot so I took him out and repotted him. George just kinda hangs out, recovering slowly.

Parlor Palms

I currently have 3 parlor palms in my living room and I can’t imagine them flourishing into giants. They’ve handled the winters here fine. But I have to just accept that they might not ever become giant beautiful palms without more sun.

Spider plants

I try. Oh how I try, but they also don’t seem to trust me much.

Colocasia/Alocasia

I’ve had a poor relationship with elephant ear plants before. So picking up these two black beauties was probably not the best idea, especially since they flourish in humid, tropical zones, but I’ve stuck them in my downstairs bathroom in the hopes that the humidity will be a good stopgap to keep them alive.