We all love to have plants growing throughout our homes. Having green and growing foliage in our lives lifts our spirits and improves our health. We don’t all live in spots with ideal sunlight, though, which is why it’s essential to know which plants that don’t need sun are right for your situation.
There are plants for every condition, after all. That includes areas in and around our homes that don’t get a lot of sunlight. In this guide, we show you the best plants that don’t need sunlight for your home or garden.
The plants in this article are perfect for those of us who suffer in partial or no sunshine but still want to exercise our green thumbs whenever we can.
There are plenty of varieties from which to choose, and any of them will make your home a brighter and more pleasant place. Before long, your home will be green, verdant, and happy, whether in the sun or the shade.
- Why Grow Plants that Don’t Need Sun?
- Where Should I Place My Plants that Don’t Need Sun?
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) – Attractive Plants that Don’t Need Sun
- Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
- Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
- Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) – Sturdy Plants that Don’t Need Sun
- Southern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillusveneris)
- Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
- Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) – Attractive Plants that Don’t Need Sunlight
- Peacock Plant (Calathea makoyana)
- Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – Easy-Care Plants that Don’t Need Sun
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) – A Low Maintenance Plant that Doesn’t Need Sunlight
- Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila)
- Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
- Peperomia (Peperomia caperata) – Remarkable Plants that Don’t Need Sun
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
What makes growing desk plants that do not need sunlight such a crucial activity that we should spend our resources caring for them? For starters, you’ll breathe more comfortably with some plants in the house.
Why Grow Plants that Don’t Need Sun?
So, what makes low light indoor plants worth growing? You’re going to put forth some time and energy to select, purchase, and care for these plants, and you need to be sure that you’re putting your time to good use.
A NASA study examining indoor air quality for long journeys in spacecraft looked into plant health benefits. They determined that plants are natural air scrubbers and play a key role in purifying the air around them. You can take advantage of this characteristic as well and include shade-loving plants around your home.
Plants that love shade do more than boost your oxygen content, though. There are lots of passive benefits to having lots of plants around the home, as well. Plants reduce stress and improve mood, and they provide a valuable relief valve for high emotions. Tending one’s plants is the fastest route to a good feeling, no matter what kind of day you have had.
Where Should I Place My Plants that Don’t Need Sun?
Plant locations hinge on a few factors. Check each plant’s ideal conditions and care instructions to make sure that you give each one a fighting chance to survive and thrive. It’s best to put plants in the rooms and areas outside that see the most regular use.
Add a few carefully selected full shade ground cover shrubs and plants in spots where people spend the most time. Hanging plants that do not need sun and other low-light plants need the same elements as every other plant does to survive. Low light doesn’t mean you should provide no light, so be sure to give your plants enough light to thrive.
If needed, supplement sunlight intake with fluorescent light. Give your plants room to grow, too. Put plants for hanging baskets in pots that are large enough to accommodate the root balls without issue. Keep an eye on plants in pots to determine if they need replanting in a bigger container.
Plants that Prefer the Dark to the Sun
Check the moisture and nutrient levels for all of your no care shrubs and other houseplants to keep them green and growing. Don’t be afraid to move plants around to make sure they get everything they need. And, treat any infestations immediately to avoid spreading it to other plants.
In addition to the plants listed here, you can also grow some dwarf trees and partial sunlight vegetables in shadier areas. If you want to “branch” out, investigate some of these plants, as well.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) – Attractive Plants that Don’t Need Sun
The Snake Plant, also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, is one of the best houseplants for hardly any light you’ll run across. The plant gets its name from the snakelike stripes on its sharply pointed leaves. This easy-care plant is the right one for folks who don’t have a lot of free time to spend on their plants.
The Snake Plant is tall, so it serves best as the backdrop for a display or as a standalone centerpiece. Keep the Snake Plant out of the direct sun to avoid damaging the plant. This plant has rot-prone roots, so be sure to allow its soil to dry between waterings completely.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Are you looking for a sturdy and forgiving first plant for someone who doesn’t have much experience with plant care? You can’t do better than a Chinese Evergreen. The Chinese Evergreen flowers are similar to Calla Lilies and brighten any room.
The plant is tough enough to tolerate some neglect without suffering. Even in poor conditions, it is hardy enough to sustain year-round growth.
Place this compact little plant on your desktop or window ledge. Never allow your Chinese Evergreen to sit in full sunlight to avoid scorching it. You can tell how much light your Chinese Evergreen requires from its leaf color. Plants with dark green leaves require less light than lighter-colored plants.
Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
The Prayer Plant derives its name from its nighttime characteristic of folding its leaves as if they are praying hands, which makes it one of the most interesting indoor plants children love to watch. You’ll find that it ranks high on the list of the best hanging plants that do not need sun.
The plant has lovely oval leaves, and many varieties also have delicate pink veins that spread across the surface to form weblike tendrils of color. Although the Prayer Plant likes brighter light than some plants that don’t need sunlight, never place it in direct sunlight.
The plant also does well in lower light conditions and can survive for long periods in part or full shade. However, too little light results in the plant’s leaves losing color.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) – Sturdy Plants that Don’t Need Sun
It looks like bamboo, but Lucky Bamboo is actually in the Dracaena family. Whatever its origin, though, you’ll appreciate the way a small Lucky Bamboo plant livens up any space.
This little plant is easy to care for and does well in low light. You’ll find Lucky Bamboo in small indoor areas around the world.
Lucky Bamboo grows in water, so immerse the plant’s roots at all times. If you plant your Lucky Bamboo in soil, water it regularly. Your plant will do best out of direct sunlight, but give it enough light to survive.
Southern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillusveneris)
If you have a more advanced green thumb, you might want to try growing a Southern Maidenhair Fern, whether as a potted plant or as one of the ferns for ground cover in your shade garden.
The Southern Maidenhair is a lovely and graceful plant that adds elegant lines to any space. It takes some care to keep them happy and growing, so do your homework before tackling this plant.
Keep the Southern Maidenhair out of the sun to avoid scorching its leaves and damaging the plant. The plant prefers high humidity, so keep it watered and ensure that it has moist soil. Use moisture strips on the soil periodically. Southern Maidenhairs prefer distilled water to tap water.
In addition to Maidenhair ferns, there are a variety of ferns with colorful leaves that you could try, as well. The Christmas fern is one option.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Looking for low light houseplants that add a touch of class to your living room or dining room? Look no further than the Parlor Palm.
This plant’s history dates back to Victorian times when having a Parlor Palm in the home was a mark of taste and affluence. You’ll understand why that was the case once you see how having one improves your living spaces.
You can grow Parlor Palms in either low or medium light. It’s best to be cautious, so keep your palm tree away from windows or other powerful light sources to avoid injuring the plant. Your Parlor Palm even grows under incandescent bulb light.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior) – Attractive Plants that Don’t Need Sunlight
Do you have the opposite of a green thumb and manage to kill every plant you try to keep alive? The Cast Iron Plant is the right choice for you. This African plant got its name from its hardy nature and ability to survive almost any disaster or bad management.
The Cast Iron Plant is quite attractive, with broad, deep green leaves and a pleasant appearance. Place these plants in any low-light circumstances without issue.
Don’t put them in full sun, though, as this can damage your plants. Give your Cast Iron Plant a little water from time to time, and wipe down the leaves every week to clean away dust.
Peacock Plant (Calathea makoyana)
The Peacock Plant goes by many aliases, including Rattlesnake Plant and Cathedral Windows. It has gorgeous, broad leaves with distinctive patterns of dark and light green that shimmer and shift with the breeze. The Peacock Plant requires some occasional TLC, so it does best in more experienced hands.
Place your plants in medium to low light. Overexposure to sunlight can result in damaged leaves, so keep an eye out for pale marks.
Peacock Plants like humid conditions, so keep the soil moist. Water them with rainwater or distilled water rather than tap water.
Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)
The Dracaena is one of the more common houseplants for low light you’ll encounter. The plants are attractive, with slender, green-and-yellow leaves. You’ll find Dracaena varieties on tables, desks, windowsills, and shelves all over the world. Best of all, Dracaenas are some of the best air purifying plants around.
Keep your Dracaenas in bright but indirect natural light for best results. However, avoid direct sunlight. Dracaenas are happy to grow in lower light conditions if need be, as well. Let your Dracaena soil dry almost completely before watering again.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) – Easy-Care Plants that Don’t Need Sun
Also called the Sword Fern, Boston Ferns are tough plants that make your home a more beautiful place while they boost your air quality. This plant is one of the ideal hanging plants for outdoors and inside, as well, and sends a cascade of leaves to the floor if well treated and unpruned. Control climbing ferns with regular trimming.
Your Boston Fern will take care of excess pollutants in the air, too. Never let your Boston Fern stay in direct sunlight to avoid scorched leaves and an unhappy plant.
Keep your fern well watered at all times to keep it thriving, and check on it regularly. Soak these bright, colorful outdoor ferns about once a month, so they stay hydrated and reward you with lush leaves you can enjoy year-round.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
You can’t beat the Peace Lily for cleaning your air of all pollutants. Homes with flowering plants such as Peace Lilies have cleaner air and healthier inhabitants. On top of that, Peace Lilies are lovely little plants that make any space a brighter place.
It’s an excellent choice for a college student’s first plant and also makes your home more attractive. It’s not hard to take care of Peace Lilies, but its leaves can be toxic.
Make sure that it stays out of reach of pets and children. Peace Lilies can tolerate dim light, but it will inhibit the growth of the plant’s white flowers, so keep it in bright light whenever possible.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
The Spider Plant is also called the Air Plant, and it lives up to that name. This low-light plant happily eats airborne pollutants, including formaldehyde and xylene. The Spider Plant also takes care of bad odors, which makes it an ideal choice for bathrooms, garages, or other areas with strong smells.
Keep your Spider Plant in bright light for the best results, but it will do fine in lower light conditions if necessary. Make sure to keep your plant watered, as Spider Plants tend to lose moisture at a rapid clip.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) – A Low Maintenance Plant that Doesn’t Need Sunlight
The name might surprise you, but you’ll want to have a few of these beautiful plants around your home. The ZZ Plant is named for its scientific designation of Zamioculcas zamiifolia and is practically impossible to kill. As a bonus, its waxy green leaves are lovely and make this a great display plant.
Place the ZZ Plant in bright light, but never allow it to contact direct sunlight. Check the plant’s leaves regularly to see if it’s getting the right amount of light. Too much light results in brown and dry leaves and not enough light will show as pale, stunted growth.
Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila)
The Creeping Fig, also called Creeping Ficus, Fig Ivy, and Climbing Fig, is a fantastic ground cover for poorly lit areas. It grows quickly and easily, and it works equally well as a hanging plant or outdoor decoration. Creeping Fig plants are a solid choice for folks who want attractive foliage in low-light conditions.
These easy climbing plants prefer indirect, bright light and will reward you with brightly-colored leaves that grow prolifically. Keep on top of watering with the Creeping Fig, as the plant dries out quickly. Once the top of the soil dries out, water the plant again. Fertilize the plant about once a month in the summer and spring.
Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
You’ll find Dumb Cane plants in homes, offices, and waiting rooms across the world. The Dumb Cane combines good looks with utility and is easy to maintain. The plant’s common name derives from the fact that all of its parts are poisonous when touched or consumed.
Because touching a Dumb Cane can cause swelling and skin irritation, always wear gloves or other protection when handling it. Give your Cumb Cane plenty of filtered light. Check its leaves for discolorations to make sure it’s getting enough sunlight.
Peperomia (Peperomia caperata) – Remarkable Plants that Don’t Need Sun
You’ll find the Peperomia in Central and South America, where it lives deep under a jungle canopy. These tropical plants have thick, gorgeous leaves with dark and pale stripes that bend gracefully over the pot or hanging basket.
They’re an excellent choice for your living room or den. You can also add Peperomia as one of your window box plants as long as it’s in a partly shady area that doesn’t get too much direct sun.
You even have a choice of bright and beautiful colors and can select plants with red, grey, cream, or green leaves. Keep your Peperomia in bright, indirect light.
If you need to supplement or replace the available light, your plant will thrive under fluorescents. Keep your Peperomia well watered.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
English Ivy is common to many parts of the world; you’ll find it growing wild in meadows and valleys. The English Ivy is a sturdy plant that cleans your air like nobody’s business, and it also does well in low light. You’ll find English Ivy particularly well suited for hanging basket displays.
Give English Ivy plenty of water when it’s young, but taper off as it matures. Keep the ivy in bright, indirect light for best results, but it does well in lower light, too. Like the Dumb Cane, the English Ivy is toxic, so keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
The Golden Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy or Money Plant, is native to Southeast Asia and is a fantastic choice for a low-light hanging plant. When you have a Golden Pothos in your home, you have a plant that grows like a champ in adverse light conditions. And, you also get one of the better natural carbon monoxide scrubbers around.
The Golden Pothos does best in bright, indirect sunlight. You can put it in darker areas without harming it, though. You’ll need to keep your Golden Pothos’s leaves pruned to keep the plant from taking over whatever space it inhabits.
We hope you had a fantastic time reading our guide to plants that don’t need sunlight. We all like to have plants in our homes and gardens, and there are plenty of plants for folks without a lot of sun to spare. Our guide walks you through the best plants that don’t require sun and helps you find the perfect foliage for your home.
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