Best Plants for a Basement Suite
So, you live in a ski town (where 70% of the year it’s snowing) in a basement suite with 7 roommates and you are desperate for something green (that isn’t Bobby’s mouldy food in the fridge) to grow in your house. Well, don’t worry, we always aim to have lots of low light plants in stock, that will thrive even in a town where we only see the sun 2 months of the year.
Below is a list of common low light plants, that will not only brighten up your space, but also help purify the air, and help you remember what day of the week it is once you are on a watering schedule.
Snake plants (also known as Mother In Laws Tongues) are one of the best plants for low light living environments, as they are both drought and low light tolerant. There are over 35 different varieties of snake plants, including ones that twist, ones that are variegated and some that look like fingers. Snake plants are also in the top 5 for air purifying plants, which is definitely a bonus, especially when the ski/snowboard boots come off at the end of a powder day. Snake plants require minimal watering, with once every 3 weeks being enough, so there is no need to worry about them when you take off on that week-long ski trip!
Spider plants are another plant variety that can tolerate low light and can survive in cooler climates (although, we don’t recommend leaving it by an open window in the winter). Spider plants only need to be watered a little bit every 7-10 days, (it is best to let the soil completely dry out in the winter months before watering) and as they continue to grow, will trail and produce baby spider plants which can be propagated and spread around your home! Spider plants also come in range of varieties; however, the most common are the white and green variegated plants.
ZZs, similar to the Snake plant, are both drought and low light tolerant. This bulb plant thrives in low light, and will even grow under artificial lights. They require minimal watering, with once every 3 weeks being enough. As they continue to grow, their new shoots come in lime green and then darken over time. The most common ZZ is green in colour; however, the Raven ZZ is one of the few naturally black plants to exist in nature.
Pathos are amazing trailing plants, that come in a vast range of varieties including the Marble Queen, Satin, Pearl & Jade, Neon, and Golden. These plants can survive in a bright to low light living environment and can be manipulated to grow up a moss pole, along your shelf, or simply trail down from their pot. Pathos only require water every 7-14 days.
Tradescantia’s are another hanging/trailing low light plant. There are many varieties such as the Purple Wanderer, Pink Panther, Tri Colour and Nanouk. Each of these can tolerate a low lit to bright location, and only require water once every 10-14 days. These plants are very easy to propagate, in fact if Bobby bumps it and breaks a piece off, all you have to do is pop the stem back in the soil and it will re-root. One thing to keep in mind with Tradescantias is that although their leaves shimmer in the sun, they do not like to get wet, the best way to water a Tradescantia is from the bottom, for this reason, we recommend planting it in a nursery pot that can easily be placed inside on of our ceramic pots.
I know what you’re thinking, don’t ferns thrive in humid environments, rainforests and Jurassic Park? The short answer is yes, most ferns need humidity and a moderate climate; however, the Plumosa fern has exceeded all expectations and has proven itself to not only survive with the dinosaurs, but also in small ski towns, with low light, heaters and fire places (although, please, please do not put any of your plants in direct line of a fire place or heating vent). Plumosa ferns actually prefer to be in lower light, away from a breezy window, without direct sun, and only require water once every 7-10 days. These ferns start off feeling soft and fluffy; however, as they continue to grow, they will develop small thorns up their stems. If you notice that your fern is starting to brown, simply give it a haircut, make sure it’s not getting too much sun, and is not in direct line of a heating source.
Peace lilies, AKA, Drama Queens. These beautiful plants with their dark green foliage and white flowers are highly recommended for people with allergies and asthma as they work overtime to purify the air. However, it is important to note that if they have been forgotten about and are thirsty they will droop completely over, which we have found has been a helpful reminder to check on all of our plants. These beauties can survive in a bright location to a low light basement suite. An important note about lilies in general is they are highly toxic to cats and dogs, so if you have some curious critters in your home, please ensure that if you have a peace lily it is kept out of reach from nibbles. Once it has finished flowering (the flower will turn brown), simply cut the flower off at the base of the stem to encourage new growth and more flowers to bloom.
We learned the hard way that palms were better suited to a lower light spot. When we think of Palms our minds instantly go to tropical locations, sunshine, and pina coladas on the beach, but what we quickly learned is that palms thrive in a bright to low light location with high humidity. For this reason, Palms are a great large plant to add to your collection. In order to see them thrive in mountain towns like Fernie, where let’s face it, we have the heater or fire place on for over half the year, it is important to make sure to be spraying the palm with a water bottle or invest in a humidifier, on top of watering every 7-10 days.
Dracaenas are another plant that do not like direct light; in fact, they can easily adapt to lower light environments and come in a large variety of species (over 120!), including the Dragon Tree, Corn Plant, Limelight, and Red Princess. Dracaenas, like palms, will benefit from humidity, so spraying the leaves regularly will ensure your Dracaena thrives. Unlike palms, Dracaenas like to dry out before they are watered, this is important as most Dracaenas have smaller root systems. So, if you’re looking to add a bit of colour into your dark dungeon of a home, Dracaenas are a great option!
Dieffenbachias are very popular among basement dwellers for their unique patterns on their leaves. These patterns/colours often include variations of white, dark green, lime green, and even pink. It is important to keep these plants away from a direct heat source and ensure to water them every 7-10 days.
We here at Stemhouse Floral Studio, always aim to have a large variety of low light plants in stock, as we understand the importance/benefit that having a little bit of greenery in your space can have. We know that, as fun as winters are, that it can be tough to not see the sun, so make sure you’re taking your Vitamin D and bringing some extra life/greenery indoors!
Until Next Time,
Katlyn & Kealy AKA the Stemheads
Stemhouse Floral Studio