Deep in the jungle, blazing sunlight gets blocked out by leaves and vines and trees before reaching the jungle floor, where shade-loving plants of all kinds grow in cheerful abundance. And while far less sexy a setup, windows that face airshafts and tall buildings and curbside trees actually somewhat simulate this level of ambient lighting.
Buy your houseplants accordingly—as in, think tropically when you go shopping for them—and with a little thoughtful TLC they'll flourish. (Don't worry, this kind of TLC is easy: You'll actually water them less than full-sun specimens, because more shade translates to slower growth rates and slower evaporation of the water in the soil.) Here are five shade-loving plants that you haven't seen in everyone else's apartments—care of our planet's jungles, on recommendation from the good folks at Pistils Nursery in Portland, Oregon—and tips on how to care for them.
Calathea lancifolia (a.k.a. Rattlesnake Plant)
Often grown specifically for their foliage, Calathea are definitely jungly-looking. The Calathea lancifolia, specifically, features lance-shaped, ruffly leaves with variegated patterning in dark green, bright green, and purple. They like humidity, so leave a squirt bottle of water nearby and mist it when you're feeling friendly—and water the soil before it dries out completely.
Hatiora salicornioides (a.k.a. Dancing Bones Cactus or Drunkard's Dream)
Jungle cacti are epiphytes, which means that they grow (harmlessly) on tree trunks in their natural habitats—and they look nothing like the harshly spiky cacti you may be picturing. One type, the Hatiora salicornioides, looks more like a long-haired moss, and will produce sweet little yellow flowers when the time is right. Pot using succulent soil, and water when the soil is very nearly (but not quite) bone dry.
With their shiny, broad leaves and swirling rosette shapes, Bromeliads look a bit like giant flowers, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Because their root systems are so tiny, you won't actually water the soil they're in—instead, keep a little pool of water right in the center cup of the plant.
Ludisia discolor (a.k.a. Jewel Orchid)
Another shade-loving plant grown for its leaves, Jewel Orchids aren't as fussy to care for as their better-known orchid cousins. The leaves are a deep purple and pinstriped, with a velvety texture. Water when the soil is dry.
Schefflera 'Amate Soliel'
Good drainage is definitely a must for the Schefflera 'Amate Soliel'—never let it sit in a tray of standing water. Its broad leaves often appear lemon-lime in colour. The biggest upside of this beauty: With proper care it will grow large—because it's actually a tree.
This article originally appeared on Architectural Digest