Many houseplants thrive under a artificial lighting. The primary type of lighting in offices and rooms without windows is fluorescent light, good for plants and people, though the use of LED lights has increased in recent years. Fluorescent lighting is inexpensive, uses less electricity and produces less heat than incandescent bulbs. When choosing a houseplant for a room with fluorescent lighting, look for one that does not require full sun or extremely bright light.
A wide range of houseplants thrive under fluorescent lights. Choose plants that generally don't require full sunlight, such as peace lilies, philodendrons and snake plants.
The Friendly African Violet
The African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha) 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.
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Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 through 12, your 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.
A Stately Peace Lily
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.) thrives in the warm temperatures USDA zones 11 through 12. While it can grow in low light conditions, even as low as 20 foot candles, 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. 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.
A Low Light for Snake Plant
The snake plant (Sanseveria trifasciata), also called mother-in-law's tongue, is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. Light for a snake plant can go as low as 100 foot candles. While it tolerates almost any light condition, this tough evergreen perennial grows best under medium to bright fluorescent lights. Hardy in USDA zones 10 through 11, the snake plant needs very little care; water only when the soil is completely dry.
The Shade-Tolerant Philodendron
Philodendrons (Philodendron spp.), hardy in USDA zones 9 through 12, depending on the species, 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.
The Dragon Plant Dracaena
There are several varieties of dracaena plants that grow in fluorescent light, including the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans massangeana), dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) and Janet Craig dracaena (Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig'), all hardy in USDA zones 10 through 12. 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.
- University of Hawaii: Growing Plants Indoors Under Supplemental Lighting
- University of Florida Extension: African Violets
- University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Houseplants
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Saintpaulia ionantha
- Purdue University Extension: Indoor Plant Care
- Bright Hub: What Are Foot Candles?