High, Medium, Low: A Plant Trio for Each Exposure

Posted by Megan Nichols on Feb 22nd 2018

So many plants, so much to know! That’s one of the joys of gardening, indoors or out – you can never get bored because there is always more to learn. Sometimes, though, you just want to keep it simple. Here are three great plants for each of three different types of light and how to care for them.

High Light

High light can be full sun for those plants that love to feel the sun on their face, or bright indirect light. Some obvious ones come to mind, like cactus, that in nature grow happily in the blazing hot desert.

Cactus and Succulents

Cactus and succulent Grow these plants right in a sunny window. They can handle the direct rays of intense sun from a South or West (or Southwest) exposure. Even though the sun will cause plants to more quickly dry out, remember that these in particular grow in drought conditions, so be sure not to over-water. Water only when the soil becomes dry all the way through. If you keep them in low light they will still last for a quite a while, just don’t expect them to thrive or to grow for many years like they might otherwise.


Palms Like succulents, these guys love to bake in a bright window. They do not, however, love to be dry out for long periods of time. Consider this: palms are from tropical locations, so they thrive in humidity. Be sure to water when the top inch of soil is dry, but don’t overdo it, they don’t want to be soggy all the time.

Lemon Cypress

Lemon cypress Another good for a bright window and medium water, lemon cypress really does smell like lemons! Pinch the foliage, but be careful, it grows sporadic little spikes that can leave a nasty mark in fingers.

Medium Light

Most often associated with an east-facing exposure, many plants love medium light and can handle the gentle morning sun even if they are directly exposed to it.


Dracaena in cube containers This plant is pretty tough and very rewarding. Dracaena come small or quite tall, so they can be grown as a table or shelf plant, or they can be a floor tree.


Hanging ferns Often ferns are mistakenly thought of as a low-light plant. This could be, in part, why they seem to be one of the harder plants to care for. Also, ferns love moisture. Grow them in medium light in a kitchen or bathroom for humidity and be sure to keep them watered for best results.

Spider Plant

Spider plant in hanging container Fun and easy to grow, spider plant’s thin, abundant, stripy leaves are quite showy. The plant easily propagates itself and puts on a show while it does it by way of those cute little babies suspended from the mother plant. Moderate watering, moderate light and this will be a happy plant.

Low Light


Sansevieria A (green) house favorite, this plant is hard to kill, and that’s always good news. Not only does it thrive in very dark corners of the house, it also loves to be neglected, so it can live for a long time with very little water and rarely needs any kind of pruning.


Philodendron Known for it’s easy care, this is a great go-to plant for hanging baskets or setting on a high shelf. The trailing nature and heart shaped leaves are the perfect accent to any décor and a low-light corner.


Aglaonema Also known as Chinese evergreen, the pretty colors and speckled leaves really brighten up a dark space. Dark and light greens, whites and pinks, and big leaves make Aglaonema stand out. A mounding growth habit make this one perfect for growing in a container on a stand. There are many wonderful indoor plants, but if you’re looking to get started or just need some basic info on some basic plants, this is a good beginning. Final thoughts – when feeding your houseplants, mix fertilizer at half strength for the winter months and pull back on fertilizing and water. For spring and summer, carry on with regular fertilizer instruction per the package. Here’s wishing you happy houseplants!