The following are insights we have gained from 35 years of maintaining interior plants....
The interior plant varieties below are available from 4” grow pots, to 15 feet and more. Their light requirements can range from being able to survive for a period of time in low light, to needing to be positioned next to a window, receiving morning light.
There are misconceptions about “low light.” A plant considered a low light plant, such as the aspidistra, sansevieria or aglaonemea, can survive for a while in low light and then it begins to lose its density, shape, and color. Often when plants are placed in low light situations, they will eventually expire from overwatering, because their water requirements had been declining, along with their foliage. We have found it difficult to categorically state the light requirements of various plants, having seen ficus benjamina live for years in offices without windows, and with the lights out on weekends. Their leaves become thinner and lighter in color, as they continue to grow slowly.
Arboracola, the dwarf schefflera can adapt down to fairly low light and survive for several years in that light situation. We have used fishtail palms in showrooms with moderate amounts of artificial light, and they have maintained their shape for 24 months. The white bird of paradise is classified as a medium light plant but at that light level, they lose their fullness, and their new growth will need help opening as they weaken. Dracaena marginata can survive in fairly low light, with little water. Their leaves become long, thin and they assume a delicate interesting shape. They can also grow well in direct light although spider mites are a problem. We have put varieties of the euphorbia cacti in moderate light, and maintained them over several years.
A good analogy for what a plant needs, is that “light is like love.” They can hang on with less light but as we give them more, they grow, and color up, and look more beautiful and blossom and express their gift to the world!
If you would like to learn more about lighting an interior space to help your plants, please visit the following web site: http://www.reliabilitydirect.com/RDIStorePDF/Gardening%20Lighting%20Facts.pdf