Plants for The Shade

Not all plant enthusiasts are fortunate enough to have a sunny window at their disposal. They may find themselves with a room facing north or northeast, where plants can simply fade away through lack of sunlight.

Another handicap is that such a sunless room can be very cool in the summer. But not only people in the proverbial bedsitter or limited accommodation have this problem. Those living in large house where the front or rear faces north or northeast also need to make a careful choice of attractive plants to enhance those parts of the house that are less suitably positioned, or catch little or no sunlight. Fortunately there are plenty of sturdy plants that are quite happy in front of sunless window or in a cool room. Full light is often more important than sun.

Below are a number of flowering plants that actually prefer shadow:

Calceolaria (Slipperwort). Frequently referred to as Slipper or Purse Flower, it flowers in the spring and is happier in a cool, humid atmosphere than a warm, dry one. This little plant also does well somewhere in the middle of the room.

Camellia japonica (Camellia). Requires a very light situation facing north. An evergreen, it flowers in the spring or in the winter, depending on its position. It is advisable to leave this plant in its original position; do not turn it when the bud is developing or during flowering.

Howeia forsteriana ( Kentia Palm). Has elegant leaves divided into four arching leaflets that spread out like a fan. Likes a light to moderately light situation away from sunlight, but with a humid atmosphere.

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Monstera deliciosa. Popularly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, Hurricane Plant or Mexican Bread Fruit. Prefers a light situation, but happily tolerates a place in the shade.

Philodendron (Sweetheart Vine or Lover’s Plant). A decorative plant related to the Monstera, which requires a humid atmosphere. Tolerates very shady situations.

Cyclamen persicum (Cyclamen). Flowers in the winter and spring with large pink, red, or white flowers. This is most popular of pot plants likes light and airy conditions, while the ideal temperature is 10oC.

Scindapsus pictus (Devil’s Ivy). A white-flecked climber which can be attractively cultivated as a hanging plant. The leaf markings will fade if it is deprived of sufficient light. Likes to be kept warm.

Tradescintia albiflora, ‘Albovittata’ (Spiderwort). A hanging plant with a cream-colored, striped leaf. Can be grown throughout the year in a shady position under a normal living room temperature.

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