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Indoor plants that require little/no light

We are currently living in the basement of my wife's in-laws, and I've always been concerned about the air quality down there. I have heard indoor house plants are a good way of naturally purifying the air. However, the only light we get is through small windows near the top of the walls. Are there any hanging indoor plants I can get that don't require light to thrive?

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Greener Thumb
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No plants capable of purifying the air are able to thrive with no light. However, some plants can survive with as little light as 50 footcandles. Epiprium (Pothos), and Dracaena are plants requiring minimal light to survive. Maybe even the Chinese Evergreen can do so. You can also try Dumbcane, so long as there are no little children or pets (It's toxic if eaten. Causes numbing of the mouth. Hence Dumbcane).

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This isn't a hanging plant, but there's a plant called "Mother-in-Law's Tongue" a.k.a. Snake Plant -- no joke, scientific name is Sansevieria.

It's extremely resilient and can handle extreme low light conditions. Actually, I think only way you can kill it is to overwater it. The variegated form is pretty but requires more light and reverts to all green without. There are tall and short varieties. If they get plenty of light, then they do flower.

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I agree with mother-in-law-tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), and would like to add to that 2 more:

1- devil's ivy, or money plant, or pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
2- dwarf umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola)

mother-in-law's-tongue is very hardy, and survives repotting with ease and grace. this one might grow more than you even want. I have had several specimens actually refuse to become rootbound, instead, shattering a terra-cota or plastic pot from the sheer force of it's rhizomatic root growth. it requires very little light.

devil's ivy is super easy to grow, is a hanging plant, and is prolific. it is also, as far as I'm concerned, the hands-down winner of "easiest plant to propagate by cutting." starting with one healthy plant, it is easy to have a dozen healthy rooted cuttings in no time. this plant is more likely to have problems from too much light, than it is too little.

dwarf umbrella tree is one of my favorites. it also needs very little light. it is a prolific grower, once established, and responds amazingly well to pruning. and, although it is hardy, and difficult to kill off by neglect, if you do manage to do damage, it is fairly easy to nurse back from the dead. I once took a "dead" specimen of this from an older lady shut-in, that had 3 stems, and absolutely zero leaves or new growth. after a repotting, and some TLC, it grew back amazingly well.

good luck!


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If you're looking to purify the air and you just have to have plants that require more light, you could try supplimenting your lighting situation with plant lights. (Do your research as to how they work, spacing, etc)
Ferns clean the air and require bright light. Philodendron like sunlight, but will manage with bright or low light, same with hostas.

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Mold may be a problem in a basement with small windows. I'd avoid plants that require a lot of water. In fact I am avoiding them and I have decent ventilation. All I know is that rules out Golden Pothos (a shame because I like it). And I read that people use snake plants to increase the humidity, so I'm avoiding them. I bought a Janet Craig and read even that should be watered until water drains from the bottom, but I was running out of options.

Anyway, if both low light and low water are the requirements, are there any options?

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So just to clarify, the Dwarf Umbrella Tree and the Devil's Ivy will do just fine with medium ambient light and absolutely no direct sunlight?

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Decado wrote:So just to clarify, the Dwarf Umbrella Tree and the Devil's Ivy will do just fine with medium ambient light and absolutely no direct sunlight?
"just fine" is fairly vague. they won't be incredibly strong performers. they might get a little long between nodes. but they will survive. I've seen devil's ivy FAR from windows that already were heavily draped, with blinds, do just fine. I've also seen umbrellas in apartment buildings with almost no light.

again, they may not THRIVE. but they will do just fine.

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