Pairing Plants With Light
Use this guide to match plants to locations in your home. You might want to make a copy to keep in your wallet. Then the next time you plan to buy a plant, you'll be ready.
Direct light. These plants thrive on or near windowsills facing east or west that receive at least a few hours of direct sun during the day. Or, place them no more than a couple of feet away from a south-facing window.

Croton (Codiaeum variegatum pictum)
Jade plant (Crassula arborescens)
Medicine plant (Aloe barbadenensis)
Ponytail palm (Nolina recurvata or Beaucarnia recurvata)


Bright indirect light. For these plants, choose locations that receive as much light as possible without any direct sun, such as a few feet from a south- or west-facing window, or closer if protected by sheer curtains.

Bamboo palm (Chamadeorea seifrizii)
Ficus alii
Ficus jacqueline
Fishtail palm (Caryota mitis)
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Grape ivy (Cissus rhombifolia)
Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)
Rubber tree (Ficus elastica)
Spotted dumb cane (Diffenbachia maculata)
Umbrella plant, or schefflera (Brassaia actinophylla ?Arboricola')
Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)


Low light. These plants tolerate low-light locations near a north-facing window or the interior of a bright room, away from windows.

Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
Dracaena (Dracaena species and varieties)
Kentia palm (Howeia species)
Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans, also sold as Neanthe bella)
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)


Plants With Style

The following tips from Matthew Gardner, owner of The Wright Gardner, an interior plantscape company in San Francisco, will help you match plants with your decor.

Traditional home furnished with antiques:
Kentia palm
Ficus species

Contemporary house with lots of glass:
Madagascar dragontree (Dracaena marginata)
Fishtail palm

Country home with casual furnishings:
Lady palm
English ivy
Grape ivy
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