Indoor Plants for tough conditions

Asked March 15, 2019, 10:55 AM EDT

Hi, We're trying to give ourselves more green life in our research lab. We'd like to find plants that will thrive in the following sets of challenging conditions: 1) Next to a large (probably dirty) Northwest-facing window, in a room that averages 70-90 degrees F, perched over a radiator. 2) In a windowless room with fluorescent lighting that averages 70-80 degrees F, with a very light, but regular dusting of sawdust. We're eager to do something, and we're happy to alter the conditions however we can (lighting, blocking heat near the plants, cleaning, etc). Are you up for the challenge!?

District of Columbia County District of Columbia houseplants plant selection

1 Response

Here are a couple of choices that can handle low-light situations:

  • Snake Plant (Sansevieria) -- one of the toughest plants around!
  • Pothos Vine (Scindapsis)-- handles office lighting where you don't have windows
  • ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas)--prefers bright, indirect light but can handle low light as well.
When the radiator is in use, you may need to move the plants away from the direct heat (or try to deflect the heat) to prevent overdrying. Where you have sawdust, you can wipe off the foliage periodically or run the plants under a brief shower of water to remove the dust. The snake plant and ZZ plant have waxy leaves that would be easiest to wipe off.

In general, foliage houseplants grow best between 70° and 80°F during the day and from 60° to 68°F at night.

Here on our website, you'll find more information on houseplants. http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/houseplants-seasonal

ckc