13 Great Indoor Vines for Low-Light Environments


You love the drama of an indoor vine, how it crawls up its cage and adds natural greenery to any room. What if that room is a low-light environment? Can you still have indoor vines or will they stop growing? Which vines can handle dim lighting?

What are some indoor vines for low-light rooms? The following indoor vines will grow in low-light rooms:

  • English ivy
  • Clematis
  • Chinese wisteria
  • Butterfly pea
  • Vinca minor
  • Chocolate vine
  • Boston ivy
  • Pothos
  • Kadsura
  • Sweet pea
  • Heartleaf philodendron
  • Arrowhead plant
  • Bleeding heart

Whether you prefer your indoor vines to flower or you like to admire their green, shapely leaves, I have a low-light vine species on this list for everyone. Keep reading to learn more about just how little light these vines can withstand. You’re not going to want to miss it!

Indoor Vines for Low-Light Rooms

English Ivy

The English ivy or Hedera helix also goes by the name common ivy, mostly because when you close your eyes and envision an ivy plant, this is that plant. Given that the English ivy natively grows in woodland areas, low light doesn’t bother this plant in the least.

If you want to increase the lighting in your home or office just a little, don’t do more than bright filtered light. The heat will hinder growth and make the leaves dry out.

FYI, bright filtered light is required if you want a more colorful English ivy. About 10 hours of daily light will bring out all the natural, earthy shades of this classic vine!

Clematis

Want some flowers in your indoor garden? The clematis or leather flower includes about 300 different species of flowering vines.

Stick to the cultivars that can survive dimmer conditions, including the Clematis paniculata (sweet autumn clemata) or the Clemata alpine (alpine clematis). The former cultivar produces lovely white flowers and the latter pretty purple ones!

On those days that are a bit sunnier, the clematis prefers six hours of light. An easterly-facing window will serve the above cultivars well since it significantly reduces the amount of sun the plant will get.

Chinese Wisteria

Another indoor vine for flower lovers is the Chinese wisteria or Wisteria sinensis, a vine that grows pretty pastel flowers. To produce the most beautiful blooms, periods of shade are okay, but you must also give the wisteria partial sun to full sun for six hours.

The Chinese wisteria is a good pick for new indoor gardeners, as it tends to sprout up quickly when it’s happy.

Butterfly Pea

Whether you call this indoor vine the butterfly pea or Asian pigeonwings, the Clitoria ternatea can reach lengths of three feet. Considering this indoor plant twines and doesn’t climb, it won’t take over your whole home or office.

Spending a few hours a day in a low-light room should cause no harm, but do make sure full sun filters into said room for at least an hour or so.

Vinca Minor

The dogbane family member the vinca minor or periwinkle is a good alternative if you like the colors of the Chinese wisteria but find it doesn’t thrive in your low-light room as much as you would have hoped.

The vinca minor also produces purple-blue flowers, but it’s less discerning about its lighting requirements.

This very tolerant indoor plant will grow in full shade, partial shade, and even partial sun. Direct sun is a no-no, as you could scorch the vinca minor’s delicate leaves.

If you must choose one lighting condition and stick with it, partial shade will yield the best results.

Chocolate Vine

Its name might make you hungry, but the Asian indoor plant known as the chocolate vine is called that due to its unique dark maroon/brownish flowers, not because it tastes like chocolate. Very versatile, you can put your chocolate vine in full sun or partial shade and it will grow either way.

This indoor vine actually prefers some safeguarding from the sun, as the afternoon heat can wilt it.

Filtered sunlight as produced through sheer curtains is a safe option if your chocolate vine is getting too little light. Giving it about six hours of light a day is recommended.

Boston Ivy

Readers of this blog should be no stranger to the Boston ivy, as I’ve discussed it many a time. Okay, so the Boston ivy isn’t a family member of the true ivy, but looking at it, you could never tell.

Besides, like many other true ivy species on this list, the Boston ivy can also live in partial shade.

The autumnal colors the Boston ivy produces will only come to light if you give this plant periods of full sun for about six hours a day. Keep in mind though that this ivy doesn’t like too much heat, especially during the warm seasons.

During that time of the year, a combination of shade and partial sun for four to six hours a day is a safe bet.

Pothos

When I talk about pothos on this blogOpens in a new tab., I’m usually referring to the potted variety. Little may you know that you can let the houseplant nicknamed the devil’s ivy climb your walls if that’s how you prefer to grow it.

No matter where it grows, check the variegation or patterning of your pothos leaves to determine how much light it needs.

If the leaves are plainer and don’t have a lot of variegation, then you can grow your climbing pothos in partial shade or full shade.

More variegation will require you to provide light for your pothos for 12 hours, sometimes even 14 hours a day. You will need artificial grow lights when the sun goes down. 

Kadsura

The Kadsura japonica, often just called the Kadsura, is native to Japan’s woodlands. Those woodlands have filtered light and semi-shade, so those are the same kinds of conditions you should replicate when growing your Kadsura vine indoors.

According to this Oregon Live article from 2011, unlike the pothos and how its variegation determines light levels, even more variegated Kadsura can grow in shady conditions.

Sweet Pea

The sweet pea has an adorable name it more than lives up to with its long, flowering vines. This Italian houseplant can live in partial shade, but you can’t keep the vine in dim lighting forever, at least not if you want to see its flowers.

Provide around six hours of sun and keep the sweet pea in the shade for the rest of the day and it will thrive.

Sadly, the too-cute sweet pea is a frequent target of thrips, aphids, snails, slugs, and even birds, so be careful!

Heartleaf Philodendron

You don’t often associate philodendron with climbing ivies, what with their large leaves and all. The heartleaf philodendron is one such philodendron species that can dangle out of a hanging basket or climb up your walls to the ceiling if you provide good conditions.

Indirect light is fine for the heartleaf philodendron, as is bright filtered light.

To be clear, indirect light is that which first goes through something else–the medium–before reaching your plant. The medium might be tree leaves or even a window shade.

Give the heartleaf philodendron about four hours of indirect light a day.

Fun fact: The heartleaf philodendron is so tolerant of its lighting that you can grow it exclusively in full shade, diffused light, bright indirect light, or even fluorescent light.

This is one vine to add to your indoor garden ASAP!

Arrowhead Plant

Like the pothos, the arrowhead plant can grow nice and neat in a container or let loose as a lengthy vine. The same rule of thumb that applies to pothos extends to the arrowhead plant as well.

In other words, if your arrowhead plant cultivar is variegated, give it filtered bright light daily.

The deeper the green in your arrowhead plant leaves, the less light it needs, so a shady room in your home or office will be this vine’s new favorite place.

No matter the variegation, do take care to avoid putting the arrowhead plant in direct sun. The leaves of the arrowhead plant can either burn or become bleached, losing all traces of color and variegation!

Bleeding Heart

My last recommended indoor vine for low-light environments is the bleeding heart or Dicentra. The dangling reddish flowers explain the name of this plant, but to truly see this plant come alive in color and in growth, light shade is the light it needs.

You’ll see the most growth in a room that gets light shade, which means trees or curtains cover the canopy at a rate of 25 percent. With light shade, the bleeding heart still gets some sun for around five hours a day.

In the autumn, when it’s naturally cooler, and the sun isn’t as powerful, you can try putting the bleeding heart in full autumn sun from time to time.

If you do treat your bleeding heart to the occasional autumn full sun, consider adding some additional humidity to the room it’s in to help prevent the vine and it’s leaves from becoming dried out!

Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

Recent Content