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Sciaphilous plants, all the info

Sciaphilous plants, all the info

Sciaphilous plants: list, examples and advice on which to grow in the apartment and which on the balcony. Because some plants resist low light.

The wordsciafilacomes from the Greek and literally means "friend of the shadow ". This term, in fact, clearly expresses the characteristics of this type of plants.

Because some plants do well in low light

All plants needlightto carry out the photosynthesis. Light radiation can be described both in terms of wavelength and light intensity.

The light intensity is expressed inmicro Einstein. It was Einstein, in fact, who won the Nobel Prize for the theory on the quanta of Light by highlighting the corpuscular and wave nature of light.

On a sunny day, the light intensity exceeds 1000 microEinsteins per m2 per second. There photosynthesis it is a photochemical reaction that tends to become saturated when the light intensity is excessive. Each plant has characteristic saturation points. There are plants that get saturated at 200, 300, 400, 500… microEinsteins per m2 per second. This means that the plants become saturated soon they don't need much light to carry out photosynthesis!

This explains why some plants that live outdoors can survive without problems even in an apartment, where the light intensity is very low.

We have thereforesciaphilous plantsoptionalthat is, they can live well in full sun as well as in the shade and obligatory sciaphilous plants, that is, they cannot tolerate full sun exposure otherwise they would risk getting burned. Unlike the optional scaifile plants, those "forced" do not have the appropriate defensive mechanisms to thrive in full sun.

Sciaphilous plants

They are plants that do not need direct sunlight. Generally, they have voluminous leaves. The voluminous leaf allows you toassimilate more light radiationbut on the other hand the phenomenon of foliar transpiration increases. For this reason, in general, thesciaphilous plantsthey need a lot of water even if grown in the shade.

In nature, thesciaphilous plantsthey thrive in woods, tropical forests, generally at the foot of other larger plants.

Examples of sciaphilous plants

Given the vastness of thevegetable kingdom, it is impossible to propose alistcomplete withsciaphilous plants. In this paragraph we will give you a list of the most common examples. In the following paragraphs we will see which sciaphilous plants to grow at home or in areas of the garden exposed to the shade.

  • Hydrangea macrophylla (common hydrangea)
  • Hydrangea cinerea
  • Hydrangea heteromalla
  • Hydrangea paniculata
  • Hydrangea arborescens
  • All Hydrangea species (anomala, aspera, asterolasia, bretschneideri, candida, cinerea, coenobialis, davidii, grancilis ...)
  • Oxalis acetosella (wood sorrel)
  • Camellia sinensis
  • Camellia japonica
  • Camellia assimilis
  • Camellia azalea
  • All species of Camellia including the common camealia
  • Asperula odorata
  • Astrantia major (astranzia)
  • Campanula latifolia (bellflower)
  • Campanula trachelium (wild bellflower)
  • Cornus sanguinea (dogwood)
  • Ligustrum vulgare (privet)
  • Lunaria rediviva (flowers shown in the photo above)
  • Lysimachia nummularia (man has selected a "golden" variety which, if acclimated gradually, can also live in the aquarium)
  • Lysimachia punctata
  • Luzula albida
  • Rhamnus fragula (strawberry)
  • Saxifraga umbrosa (saxifrage)
  • Viburnum lantana (viburnum)
  • Ferns (most of ferns)

Plants capable of reaching important dimensions such as beech and holm oak aresciafileonly in the early stages of development. When these plants begin to grow, they becomeheliophile.

Unlike thesciaphilous plants, theheliophilethey need a good amount of solar radiation in order to thrive. Similarly to what we saw for the term "sciafila", also the word "heliophyte" is Greek and means "lover or friend of the sun " (Helios, sole, filein, love).

Shady plants to grow in the shade garden

If you are looking for flowering plants to grow in a shady garden or a dimly lit balcony, you can read our insights:

  • Flowers for shaded balconies
  • Flowers in the shade

Indoor plants

These house plants can be grown near windows facing west or in rooms with medium light conditions:

  • Aechmea fasciata
  • Asparagus densiflorus
  • Aucuba japonica
  • Chamaedorea erupens
  • Kalanchoe
  • Cycas revoluta
  • Dracaena
  • Dieffenbachia amoena
  • Dieffenbachia maculata
  • Kalanchoe
  • Ficus Benjamin
  • Ficus elastica
  • Ficus retusa
  • Howea forsterana
  • Maranta leuconeur
  • Philodendron
  • Spathiphyllum
  • Zantedeschia

To choose the houseplants that can resist in low light environments, please read the page:

  • Indoor plants and light
  • Low-light resistant houseplants


Video: 17 houseplant that can survive darkest corner of your house. The Best Low Light Houseplants (October 2021).