Which Houseplants Grow Well Under Fluorescent Lights?

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African violets grow well indoors under fluorescent lighting.
African violets grow well indoors under fluorescent lighting. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many houseplants thrive under fluorescent lighting. This type of artificial lighting is often found in offices or rooms without windows. According to Kent Kobayashi of the University of Hawaii, fluorescent lighting is inexpensive, uses less electricity than incandescent bulbs and produces less heat than incandescent. When choosing a houseplant for a room with fluorescent lighting, look for one that does not require full sun or extremely bright light.

African Violet

The African violet (Saintpaulia spp.) is one of the most satisfactory flowering plants for growing under lights, states David Trinklein of the University of Missouri. Because the African violet requires fairly bright light, it will thrive and flower if it receives at least 16 hours per day of fluorescent lighting. The ideal amount of light is about 500 to 1,000 foot candles, Trinklein says. African violet grows best in high humidity and cooler temperatures. To keep the humidity raised around your plant, place its pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water.

Peace Lily

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) can grow in low light conditions, even as low as 20 foot candles, but it will need more light to produce its anthurium-like flowers. To have your plant bloom, the fluorescent lighting must be bright enough to read a newspaper, according to the University of Arkansas. Keep your peace lily away from drafty areas, and let only the top inch of soil dry out between waterings. A monthly dose of liquid houseplant fertilizer will keep your plant healthy.

Snake Plant

The snake plant (Sanseveria trifasciata), also called mother-in-law's tongue, is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors, says Jennifer Schultz Nelson of the University of Illinois Extension. It can grow in almost any light condition, but will grow best in medium fluorescent light. Snake plant can thrive in lighting of about 100 foot candles. Snake plant needs very little care; water only when the soil is completely dry.

Philodendron

The various species of philodendron are commonly grown in offices with fluorescent lighting because they can tolerate medium to low light. Too little light (lower than 75 foot candles), however, will cause the philodendron's leaves to turn yellow and drop. Keep your philodendron's soil evenly moist, allowing it to dry out slightly between waterings.

Dracaena

There are several varieties of dracaena that do well under fluorescent lighting, including the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans massangeana), dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) and Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig'). Dracaena will tolerate low artificial light, though it grows best in medium light (100 to 150 foot candles). Dracaena cannot tolerate sitting in water; keep your plant's soil on the dry side.

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