The best low-light loving house plants for autumn

It is decidedly autumn now. There’s no getting around. The days are getting colder and the nights are drawing in.

And, with the waning amount of daylight, our houseplants are starting to suffer.

As we head into the bleaker, darker seasons, it’s probably a good idea to invest in some houseplants that can survive without loads of daylight. Because we don’t want our homes to turn into leafy graveyards over winter.

But with light and water key requirements for keeping anything green alive, how do you know which plants can survive in shadier environments?

We asked James Folger, founder of The Stem, to give us his top recommendations for plants that like low-light settings. They will also look great in your home office.

ZZ Plant

(Zamiocoulcas Zamiifolia)

This handsome plant boasts thick, waxy, green leaves and elegant bowing stems.

It loves light shade and filtered sun, so should do well even in the depths of autumn.

Let the top of the soil dry out in-between watering, and it only needs watering once a month in winter. We love a low-maintenance plant.

Heart-Leaf Philodendron

(Philodendron Scandens)

​Native to the floor of tropical jungles, the beautiful heart-shaped leaves have the ability to trail, hang or climb.

This pretty plant loves light shade, but thankfully it can handle darker shade too.

All you need to do is make sure that the soil is kept moist in the winter. 

Snake Plant

(Zeylancia)

We love this hardy plant because they are pretty much invincible and they’re great at purifying the air.

The Snake Plant prefers bright indirect light, but also copes really well in light shade.

Water this plant sparingly in autumn and winter, and it should do fine.

Peace Lily

(Spathiphyllum)

Native to the jungles of South America, this gorgeous plant has glossy green leaves and beautiful white flowers.

It’s also great at purifying the air, and is best kept in light shade with the soil kept moist and not wet. 

Kentia Palm

(Howea Forsteriana)

This versatile plant has tall stems and long, glossy, green leaves that fan out beautifully.

This plant does well in light shade and loves regular misting. Only water it when the soil has dried out.

How to keep your plants alive in autumn

James has also kindly pulled together his top tips for keeping your home jungle thriving this season. So if you’re worried about light levels, watering, drooping or brown leaves – follow these tips and watch your plants flourish.

‘Autumn can be a tricky season for plant care with large temperature fluctuations and quickly changing light making it harder to gauge what your plant needs,’ says James.

‘To help you keep your plants in tip-top condition here are my golden rules for autumn plant care:’ 

Change the position of your plants

As the days get shorter and the angle of light changes, you may need to reposition your plants so that they continue to get enough light.

This could mean moving plants into a south-facing room and/or moving them closer to a window. Just be careful with temperature fluctuations if you are moving plants closer to a window particularly if they are single-glazed.

If you’re choosing a new plant for autumn and are concerned about not having sufficient natural light, check out our collection of shade-dwellers. 

Go easy on the water

Your plants will need less water as the temperature and amount of sunlight they are getting drops.

It is a really easy time to over-water your plants, which is one of the most common ways that people kill their plants.

To avoid over-watering, always check the soil before watering. Push your index finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. If the soil sticks to your finger and feels moist then your plant is fine.

If the soil is dry then it’s time to water your plant. It’s much better to be over-cautious as you can always add water but if you over-water and cause root rot, it can be terminal.

Boost humidity

Many of the indoor plants in our homes come from tropical climates and are used to humidity levels of 40% or more.

In autumn, as temperatures fall and heating systems are switched on, the humidity level indoors will drop.

These conditions can be replicated by misting and bunching your plants or using a humidifier.

Last call for plant food

As temperatures cool your plants’ growth will slow down as they start to prepare for their period of dormancy over winter.

This should be the last time you add plant feed or consider re-potting your plant otherwise you are at risk of shocking the root system. 

Try to relax

Your plant may begin to drop leaves as it adjusts to the cooler temperatures and lower light levels.

This is a normal part of your plants’ life cycle, so don’t panic, just make sure that the water, temperature, and light levels are giving your plant the conditions it needs to thrive and survive, and focus on looking after yourself this autumn. 

If you are looking for some stress-free plants to bring your home to life and provide a mood-boosting shot of greenery look at our low-maintenance plants including snake plants, kentia palms, and ZZ-plants which will all make a great companion over these cooler months.

Do you have any top tips to share? We want to hear from you.

Get in touch: [email protected]

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