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Low Light Interior Plants for your Tiki Room

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Here's a list of plants with the very lowest light requirements that I know of:

Aglaonema's (Chinese Evergreen) minimum 50 footcandles (if you eat the leaves you will lose the ability to speak for a few hours) (no not me, a drunk friend on a dare)...poisonous

Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron Plant) minimum 25 footcandles (This is why it's called a cast iron plant, you can over water, under water, throw it in the garage for months, ignore it, and it still survives)

Dracaena's ("Janet Craig","Warnecki","Corn Plant Fragrans","Mass Cane", and "Marginata") minimum 75 footcandles

Epipremnum aureum (Pothos Ivy, Golden Pothos, Devil's Ivy) minimum 50 footcandles

Kentia Palms minimum 75 footcandles

Sansevieria....Variegated Snake Plant or Mother-in-law's Tongue (heh heh, I always love that one,...it's pointed and sharp at the tips) minimum 40 footcandles (a survivor like the cast iron plant except it will not tolerate overwatering)

Schefflera's need minimum 75

Spathiphyllum's (Peace Lily) need 75
Chamaedorea's (Bamboo Palms & Neanthe Bella) Palms 75 footcandles

Flowering Potted Plants in the Interiorscape that need between 50 and 100 footcandles are the Kalanchoes, Poinsettias, Chrysanthemum, Azalea
Bromeliads (Aechmea Fasciata) need minimum of 100

The mistake that most people make is overwatering. Let your plants dry out completely before watering, except for the peace lilies, they are like swamp plants.

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." Lou Whitaker

[ Edited by: jungletrader on 2003-12-29 21:49 ]

Thanks Jungletrader!
Pardon my ignorance... What is a "footcandle"?


I invested in some florescent strip lights that I plug in and use overnight to get added light for my foliage. I can remove them from sight when company is around and so far it has done the trick. I do have a large window in here, but no direct light. We'll see what happens as I get the palms in here this spring...

Mr. TikiRoyale,
Intensity-Brightness, measured in footcandles (a unit of illumination on a surface that is one foot from a uniform point source of light of one candle, equal to one lumen per sq. ft.) in the United States.
A light meter used in photography would do the trick.
Also what a plant lacks in light intensity can be compensated for in duration. (Photoperiodism) the daily amount of time during which light is made available to plants; when defined as the daily relationship of light to darkness.


Thanks for all the good info! Know where we can find pics on the web of these green goodies?



Thanks for the great info. My basement's Conquistador themed Rumpus Room is due for a Tiki makeover.


That's good info and I'm sure many folks have wonderfull flora in their Tiki rooms. Of course, in keeping with the old artificial tropical environments I'm an advocate of lots of cheap plactic plants. Our Tabu Tiki Lounge is packed with pleanty. I really like the old kind that snap together like tinkertoys– none of those contemporary "silks" for me! And when Amy complains that they are covered with dust, I respond that it just makes our bar more authentic.

boutiki, if you ever decide the dust is too much, I've heard of a canned spray that eats it up. Just spray it on and the dust disappears.


Here is what I have in the bar/computer room now. This spring when there is a lot more selection and big palms in the stores, there will be more. Thsi is also very crowded towards the window now. I have one florescent 15 watt light I leave on each night switching which side of the room gets it. So far, all is well.

On the right you see the trunks of a large palm, and then going left, and smaller palm, then barely you see the large leaves of another hearty, fast growing plant. The big bushy guy in the center is one of the draconis species. They do well, but grow very slowly, so buy it large to begin with. The one on the far left is a corn plant maybe? Something like that. A large trunk on those, and they are pretty hardy too.

On the right I have smaller stuff, and then there is the shorter guy with the colorful leaves. This plant does well, but it a drinker. Water it twice a week, and avoid hitting it. The leaves will break off. If it gets dry, they fall off. The larger dark leaf plant I think of as a rubber tree, but I don't think it is. Hearty and grows pretty fast.

Thereare and will be more. Since we spend so much time on the computer, it's in the tiki room. Enjoy the space. I have a dark wood desk and have made it so that I have plants all the way around 3 sides of the desk to "engulf" it. I may need to get another light or two as summer gets here and I move these plants away from the window and "arrainge" everything better. But they are happy so far.

Swanky, looks like you have a nice setup there, (The Swank Pad) Tiki Room, computer room, bar all in one. That's what I have. I'm not even half way done yet though.
Is that a Grow-Lux light you have for your plants? Those are the best in terms of full spectrum.
What's the smaller plant with the striped leaves? Bromeliad? Looks great in there!
I'm looking forward to meeting a few of you Easterners in 2004 and buying something from that collector with the PNG stuff.

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." Lou Whitaker

[ Edited by: jungletrader on 2003-12-31 16:35 ]

Swanky posted on Thu, Jan 1, 2004 9:49 AM

A better picture of this one:

I recommend this one because it grows really fast and will give you that lush tropical look. Huge leaves and so far it simply has not quit. If you keep it outside, put it in a very heavy pot or it will blow over a lot and you'll lose leaves.

That one is Dieffenbachia amoena 'Tropic Snow'

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