Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In the shop: the best plant for dark interiors

While succulents and cacti are getting a lot of love and attention these days, the reality is that most people don't have the right location in their home for these high light loving plants.  Take home a succulent terrarium and after a short time in that dark back corner of your home, they aren't going to survive.  But don't despair, let me introduce you to a plant that does do well in lower light: the zamioculcas zamiifolia (or ZZ for short!)

This leafy deep green plant does very well in both medium and lower light conditions, and even survives short periods of underwatering without any long term damage.   Each individual leaf has an unusually long life span, which is possibly the reason it can do so well in conditions other plants find difficult. 

As with most other low light tolerant plants, the ZZ is a slow grower, which does mean the plants are generally a little more of an investment if you are looking for a larger pot size.

How do you know if your light is high, medium or low? A general rule of thumb, if you can sit with a book and read very easily without turning on any interior lights in the daytime, them you have high light in that area. But be aware that light conditions change as you move away from the window.  The front third of a room with an unobstructed window is best for higher light loving plants such as succulents.  The middle section is best for medium light lovers such as airplants, and the back third, furthest from the window is most definitely low light and will be tolerated only by a short list of shade loving plants such as the ZZ. (Keep in mind also that putting plants in corners or on the side walls, where the sunlight doesn't actually hit, means that is a dark area, even if it's in the front section near the window.)

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