9 Indoor Trees That Will Actually Survive in Low Light

Do you have a shady corner of your home that needs a little love? Look no further, this list of 9 low light indoor trees will actually survive in that dark corner where your other plants have gone to die.

When it comes to indoor trees that will grow in low light conditions things can get a little bit tricky. Why exactly? Because shady conditions outdoors provide a lot more light than ‘low light’ conditions indoors. So trees that are labelled as “shade tolerant” can struggle when grown as houseplants in low light. However, there are a few indoor trees that do well in low light conditions. As you will see, they mostly belong to the Dracaena genus.

That being said, it’s important to note that most of these indoor trees do best in bright indirect light but tolerate low light conditions as well. Here are 9 of my favourite low light indoor trees for those darker corners of your home.

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1. Diffenbachia ‘Tropic Snow’

Photo by Cori Sears

This is one of my favourite large statement plants in my home. I get so many compliments on my tropic snow Diffenbachia, which is about 5 to 6 feet tall currently. Given the space, this large Diffenbachia can grow up to 10 to 15 feet. It’s easy to keep happy and virtually impossible to kill. Plus its large variegated leaves add a tropical feel to any room.

Not all Diffenbachias grow as large as the Tropic Snow, and in fact many are small, compact plants so it’s important to make sure you get the ‘Tropic Snow’ variety if you are looking for a large indoor tree. Before you run to your nearest nursery, be aware that Diffenbachias are considered toxic to cats, dogs, and humans so if you have mischevious fur- or human babies you may want to choose a different option!

2. Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans)

Photo by Young Swee Ming on Shutterstock

Another hardy, easy-to-grow low light indoor tree is the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans). Don’t be fooled by its common name – the corn plant is a type of dracaena and no, it doesn’t grow corn. There are many different corn plant cultivators (some of which we’ll cover here) and depending on what you are looking for and many of them will do well in almost every corner of your home.

Mature corn plants can grow between 15 to 50 feet tall but their size can be controlled through regular pruning if desired. While they are non-toxic to humans their foliage is considered midly toxic to cats and dogs so exercise caution if you have furry friends at home.

3. Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Photo by New Africa on Shutterstock

Parlour palms (Chamaedorea elegans) are popular houseplants that are widely available at most nurseries and garden centers. They are sold in a range of different sizes, from small potted plants to large tree-like palms.

Parlour palms have thin feathery foliage and thin trunks. Mature parlour palms can reach up to 16 feet outdoors and around 6 to 8 feet indoors. That being said, they are known for being slow-growing and it may take several years before you notice some significant growth. These palms are considered non-toxic to cats and dogs.

4. Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco)

Photo by Sharohyip on Shutterstock

The dragon tree (Dracaena draco) can grow up to 50 feet tall and tolerates low light conditions well. While it can reach impressive heights in maturity, this tree is slow-growing and can be controlled for indoor growing with regular pruning. This Dracaena is characterized by thick trunks and branches and long, thin leaves that grow stiffly upright. Like most trees on this list the dragon tree does best in medium to bright indirect light but can be grown successfully in low light conditions.


5. Kentia Palm Tree (Howea forsteriana)

Photo by Luoxi on Shutterstock

Kentia palms (Howea forsteriana) are popular houseplants as they are known for being hardy and easy to grow. They can tolerate low light but do best with bright, indirect light. Kentia palms have large fronds and can grow up to 40 feet outdoors. When grown indoors however they normally max out around 7 to 8 feet tall, depending on the size of your ceilings. That being said, Kentia palms are slow-growing palms so if you purchase a small specimen you will have several years before you will need to worry about controlling its size.

6. Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

Photo by Studio Light and Shade on Shutterstock

The Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) is a another common Dracaena variety that grows well indoors in low-light conditions. It is characterized by long, thin leaves that are green and purple-red and thin trunks. A mature Dracaena marginata can grow up to 20 feet tall, but indoors it is likely to top out around 6 to 8 feet. Like all Dracaenas, the Madagascar dragon tree is considered toxic to cats and dogs.

7. Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)

Photo by Greg Brave on Shutterstock

Admittedly, the majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) enjoys more consistent light than many of the other plants on this list, but it can withstand relatively low light conditions as well so I feel it’s worth including. These tropical palms need lots of consistent humidity in order to thrive indoors, which is why some people find majesty palms difficult to care for. However, majesty palms are extremely popular houseplants and are usually easy to find at most nurseries, garden centres, or department stores. As a bonus – majesty palms are nontoxic to cats and dogs!

8. Janet Craig Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Janet Craig’)

This Dracaena is extremely hardy and versatile. It is most commonly sold as a single small bushy plant, but can be purchased in its larger tree-like form as well. I find that several Janet Craig Dracaenas planted together in the same pot looks best as these plants have relatively small individual profiles. As a part of the Dracaena genus, the Janet Craig Dracaena is considered toxic to cats and dogs.

9. Dracaena ‘Lisa Cane’ (Dracaena fragrans ‘Lisa Cane’)

Last but not least, Dracaena ‘Lisa Cane’ is an excellent low light indoor tree and low-maintenance option. Characterized by long, glossy dark green leaves and a thin trunk, this Dracaena fragrans cultivator grows in a compact, upright form. Plus, is known for being relatively slow-growing, so it won’t readily outgrow your space. Dracaena ‘Lisa Cane’ is commonly confused with the Dracaena Janet Craig, but can be distinguished by its leaves which are larger and longer than the Janet Craig. Pet owners should be aware that this indoor tree is considered mildly toxic to dogs and cats.

Have I missed one? Let me know in the comments below!