Guest Author - Lisa Beth Voldeck
One of the biggest challenges that I have with my houseplants is where to put them. For the most part, it’s because all of the sunny places are taken! The only solution is to add some shade lovers to my collection.
We all have corners in our homes that would benefit from a little life but are bereft of light. For our purposes here, let’s consider a shady place one that gets little to no direct sun all day. There are countless plants that would love to inhabit those places. Consider that lots of plants live their whole life in the shade, especially in the jungle. Tropical plants tend to do well away from direct light and can really add a splash to your décor.
I have a few favorite shade lovers. Sansevieria is top notch for dark spaces. This plant also goes by the common names “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” or “Snake Plant”. There are many different species of Sansevieria to choose from, each with their own unique appearance. Most of the species have flat, strap-shaped leaves with markings on them. There are variegated types with wonderful yellow striping along the margins. Some grow upright and tall while others tend to spread out and stay somewhat short. I really like the Sansevieria cylindrica, which has the appearance of a rounded spike. Imagine a green unicorn’s horn in a pot. I saw these in use in some phenomenal interiorscaping designs in Las Vegas last month, and it has me thinking of some mixed containers!
There are many types of vine plants that also enjoy a space out of the sun. I have had success with Golden Pothos, English Ivy, and philodendron. Wandering Jews are supposed to be able to withstand darker rooms, but I had a variety named “Purple Heart” that didn’t really care for it. To be sure it was the light levels that it disliked, I am currently trying it again. Begonias and Phalaenopsis orchids are also tolerant of shady conditions, but they really do need some light to flower. These are happy in a northern window or in a window with some protection from sheer curtains. A few other plants that are fun to try in dark spots are ferns, caladium, and Paphiopedilum orchids.
My absolute favorite plant for a space that no other plant would enjoy is Zamioculcas zamiifolia. It’s called the ZZ plant, for short. This plant has beautiful glossy foliage and truly thrives on neglect. Insects have no interest in this plant and it rarely requires watering. ZZ’s are very easy to care for and are the perfect addition to any room. If you ever get the chance to pick one up, give it a try. I think you’ll agree that there are few plants out there as attractive and versatile.