Growing Plants in Shady Spaces

With the chill of winter turning our beautiful gardens to frozen mush and bare sticks, our attention draws inward, to the green gems that brighten our homes and offices.

Most indoor plants are tropical shade-loving “garden” plants that survive our summers outdoors, but must follow us indoors when we retreat indoors at summer’s end. The most common, and easiest to care for species of indoor plant are the Philodendron family as well as the spider plant family or the Dracaena family; harder to care for houseplants are African Violets and the lesser known Peace Lily.  Plants such as the Dieffenbachia require advanced level care, and can be harmful as this plant drips a sap that will heavily irritate the skin.

To increase your plant’s chances of flourishing, try using a variety of light sources such as the sun and florescent lighting, or a bare bulb and the sun.  Some species can survive quite well with very minimal natural light, although their growth will be slower that those plants who receive the nourishing touch of sun. The new energy saving light bulbs are very useful for growing plants in sun restricted spaces such as bathrooms, and dimly lit dorms.

If you’re in a severely light challenged home and wish to fill your walls and floors with plants to love and cherish, opt for the full shade type plants.  Philodendrons, ferns, spiders, and in some cases Aloe Vera and dracaena plants are the hardiest types of shade loving species.

No matter your skill level, sun availability or time constraints, there is always a plant that will grow for you.  It just takes trial and error to find the right match.

By Peggy Sue