Are you a serial houseplant killer? I can help you!!
If you clicked on this post looking for houseplants that legit need “zero” sunlight, I’m sorry – that’s not a thing. Keep reading to find out why.
In nature, some plants grow at the bottom of larger plants, so they only receive dappled or highly diffused light. However, just like in the wild, many houseplants can thrive in low-light because they can tolerate it. Keep in mind that houseplants are basically ongoing science projects.
Sometimes things work, and sometimes things don’t because there are many variables for caring for houseplants. For example, the plants that will do well in low-light rooms will most likely not produce flowers. Instead, they will grow slowly and most likely have large green leaves to catch as much light (food) as possible.
Even if you feel like you’re a houseplant serial killer, I know that you can parent the lushest, most beautiful, and most abundant houseplants! I’m ROOT-ing for you to make it happen, AND I am happy to share 10 houseplants that are easy to care for and need almost zero sunlight.
I am passionate about caring for my houseplants, and I hope my advice can help others.
10 Low-Light Plants:
- Lucky Bamboo
- Spider Plant
- ZZ Plant
- Golden Pothos
- Kangaroo Fern
- Red Prayer Plant
- Areca Palm
- Peace Lily
- Snake Plant
Who are low-light houseplants good for?
Low-light plants are perfect for people that live in dim apartments, have busy work schedules, or don’t want to worry about dedicating too much time to their plants. They’re also great if you travel frequently and don’t want your plant to die while you’re gone. These 10 low-light houseplants will be sure to brighten up any room in your home.
The Benefits of Low-Light Plants
The benefits of low-light plants are low maintenance and just as beautiful as full-sun plants. Low-light houseplants are perfect for apartment dwellers with busy schedules or travel frequently.
They also look great in homes with low or heavy diffused light because they can withstand low amounts of lighting. Houseplants help purify the air, clean indoor pollutants, increase focus, and have mental benefits.
Common Mistakes When Caring for a Low-Light Plant
Some low-light houseplants are low cost, low work, and low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they are no work. The key to keeping low-light houseplants alive is like any other plant: water when dry and fertilize regularly. Many low-light plants have large wide leaves in order to soak in as much low light as possible, so they have low water needs.
Be careful not to overwater because too much will cause root rot. As for fertilizing, low-light plants should be fertilized only during the growing seasons, but no more than that because too much fertilizer can burn the roots and kill the plant.
How do you keep indoor plants alive without sunlight?
If your home has only a few windows or has certain areas in your home that do not have much ambient light, these are all houseplants that will still be able to survive with a plant light, or some could do just fine with limited natural light.
If you don’t want to buy a plant light, you could get a GE Plant Light Bulb and put it in one of your other lamps. Be sure to keep your plant light close to your plant (6-9 inches); otherwise, it will start to stretch as it grows to reach the light and will get leggy. “Leggy” means when your plant stem grows very long without having any leaves on it.
10 Houseplants That Need (Almost) Zero sunlight
aka: Easy Low-Light Houseplants
For those of us without a green thumb, it can feel a little overwhelming to try and choose plants that we won’t accidentally kill. But, these houseplants require very little care and can survive in low-light situations or just with a plant light.
If you are brand new to houseplants, my article about different natural lights for plants within our home may be beneficial for choosing the right plants based on the natural light you have in your home.
The plants that will do well in low-light rooms will most likely not produce flowers. Instead, they will grow slowly and likely have large green leaves to catch as much light (food) as possible.
These 10 houseplants are beautiful, easy to care for, and will do well in low-light conditions and homes.
1) Lucky Bamboo
Lucky Bamboo isn’t bamboo at all. The canes, stalks, or stems (whatever you prefer to call them) resemble a bamboo plant’s canes, hence the name. It is actually a dracaena.
The Lucky Bamboo is great for a home that doesn’t get a ton of strong sunlight because it needs very little light. It grows best in low, indirect light. However, it needs some light and will not grow well in complete darkness. If needed, you could use a grow light to help it thrive – especially during the winter when the light is sparse.
When growing your plant in soil, ensure it’s kept slightly damp. Don’t let the soil get too dry, and don’t overwater since that can lead to root rot. Bamboo does not need much water to survive but can also be grown in water.
If you choose to grow your bamboo in water, ensure the roots stay covered with water. Replenish your lucky bamboo with fresh water every seven to ten days to keep it happy and healthy.
Lucky Bamboo is toxic to pets, so please, do not let them snack on it.
2) Spider Plant
I love the Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum). This plant is known for how hardy it is in low light. The solid-green version of this plant will thrive in low light, but the variegated versions need a medium to bright light. This houseplant will thrive in fluorescent lighting as well.
The Spider Plant is a great indoor air purifier, grows quickly, and looks excellent in hanging planters (I love these from Etsy) You’ll never have to worry about forgetting to water these guys again. They’re tough, and they know how to take care of themselves.
And best of all, they won’t die if you forget to feed them once in a while! Plus, many of these plants also make great gifts so you can share the joy with others too!
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Seller
3) ZZ Plant
The ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is an excellent choice if you need to add some green that you are almost guaranteed to keep alive. This houseplant is nearly impossible to kill.
While it is true that this plant likes low light, it may make a difference depending on how it was acclimated before you bought it. At my photography studio, I have a snake plant that gets indirect but bright north-facing lighting.
I also have a giant snake plant in my family room that gets very little east-facing window light. This plant is nearly half my height and only receives a little, very indirect morning light! They can survive in low-light, dark corners with north or east-facing windows.
ZZ plants would also be happy with artificial light, which is why you will frequently see these at indoor malls, banks, and department stores.
4) Golden Pothos
One of the great things about golden pothos is that it’s such a low-light plant. It’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of plants but don’t have a lot of light in their home. Golden pothos is also a very easy plant to care for.
It doesn’t require a lot of watering or fertilizing, and it’s tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. As a result, golden pothos is an ideal plant for those who are looking for something that is both beautiful and low maintenance. If you’re looking for a plant that can brighten up your home without requiring a lot of work, golden pothos is a perfect choice.
I have my pothos plants in planters on an east-facing wall that receives some light from our south-facing bay window. During the winter and fall, I use a plant light to supplement the limited sunlight it receives.
Devil’s Ivy enjoys a light spot, but preferably not in direct sunlight or a draught. Remember, though, the paler the leaves, the more light the plant needs. The soil can be moderately damp but does not have the roots standing in water if possible.
5) Kangaroo Fern
The Kangaroo Fern has frilly leaves that can add a delicate texture to your houseplant collection. Kangaroo paw ferns (Microsorum diversifolium) are native to Australia. The scientific name refers to the leaf forms on the plant; some leaves are full, while mature leaves have deep indentations. You can read more at Gardening Know How. The Kangaroo Fern is easy to grow, requires little attention, and grows best in high humidity. The Kangaroo Fern is a great plant for your bathroom.
6) Red Prayer Plant
The Red Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) is unique because at night, the leaves fold, hence its name, like hands folded into prayer. Red Prayer Plant will look great in hanging baskets because of the pink color on its leaves’ underside.
Red Prayer Plants tolerate low-light environments but may need more light for leaves to unfold fully. They are native to the rainforests of Brazil, and although this houseplant is somewhat tolerant of low light conditions. We have ours in our entryway several feet away from a south-facing window on the lower shelf on our entryway table.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Seller
7) Areca Palm
Areca Palms (Dypsis lutescens) are excellent air purifiers and can also act as humidifiers for your indoor space!
Areca Palm will add a tropical feel to your home and is one of the easiest palm trees to grow indoors. When they are mature, they can produce small, yellow flowers that are beautiful!
8) Peace Lily
Not really a lily, the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) has tall, beautiful white flowers that bloom throughout the entire year and are native to tropical regions of the Americas and southeastern Asia.
These grow tall and produce flowers more frequently if they have at least some natural light. The Peace Lily looks excellent in a floor planter because it can grow 40 inches tall. It will start to get droopy when it needs water and is resilient if you accidentally forget to water it.
RELATED READ: How to Save a Peace Lily from Dying
|TIP: If you are looking to add to your houseplant collection or are thinking about adopting their first houseplant, I would highly recommend getting a Peace Lily because they are beautiful and SO easy to care for! In my opinion, the Peace Lily is one of the best houseplants, and everyone should own at least one! Keep your peace lily plant alive by following my simple tips for how to care for a peace lily plant!|
Peperomias will tolerate a variety of light conditions. However, they prefer to be out of direct light because their natural environment will grow beneath forest canopies—Peperomia plants in the peppercorn family, Piperaceae.
Peperomia is easy to care for and are natural air purifiers! Peperomias love humidity and will thrive in your bathroom!
Photo: Courtesy of Etsy Seller
10) Snake Plant
The Snake Plant needs very little water, is very hard to kill, and can grow up to several feet tall! We have two in our home and one at my photography studio. They need very little attention – so I usually recommend them to new plant owners. The Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is beautifully green with variegated leaves; its sharp point gives this low-light house plant its nickname of mother-in-law’s tongue.
FAQS for Low-Light Houseplants
What are other easy to care for plants?
If you are looking for more easy houseplants, I recommend Swiss Cheese Plant, Jade Plants, and Philodendron Hope. These plants require medium to high indirect light and are just sensitive to overwatering.
What are small desk plants that don’t need a lot of sunlight?
Many people love having plants in their home or office but might not have the ideal environment or light conditions for keeping plants alive. If you are looking for low-light plants that don’t require a lot of sunlight. Aloe Vera Plant or a Jade Plant are some great options to choose from!
SHOP MY FAVORITE LOW-LIGHT PLANTS
1) Lucky Bamboo |2) Spider Plant | 3) ZZ Plant | 4) Golden Pothos | 5) Kangaroo Fern | 6) Red Prayer Plant | 7) The Areca Palm | 8) Peace Lilly |9) Peperomia |10) Snake Plant
Photo credit for images in the infographic is given to lined sellers in this article.
More Houseplant Blog Posts You Will Love
If you and your houseplants were in a relationship, what would your relationship status be?
A) Blissfully in love
B) It isn’t very easy
C) 100% admitting it… I’m a serial houseplant killer
Creating great love in ANY relationship requires work and commitment. Your houseplants are no different! I love helping people bring houseplants into their lives! Check out all of my houseplant blog posts, or follow me on Instagram for more houseplant inspiration!
This article is simply not true. Everything needs light to grow. These plants will survive in lower light but never in “NO LIGHTâ€
You are correct, that is why these plants need almost no light and I have chosen to talk about them. I hope you can take the time to read this article for low-light houseplants. The article is entitled with *Almost* Zero Sunlight because a lot of homes do not have the amount of light to support plants that need full sunlight. This article is written specifically to inform about plants that can thrive in environments with limited lighting.
Thank you for this article. My husband recently retired from the Army, and during his time in I didn’t have to many plants due to moving all the time.
I am now excited to be filling my house with plants again. I grew up with a lot of the plants you mentioned but have forgot about them. I can’t wait to add some of these low light plants to my home.
Awe!! Thanks so much for sharing and thank your husband for his service! Have fun filling your home with plant friends!
Then they just need to buy artificial plants!!
Sorry, this is to Darlene. My, aren’t you a ray of sunshine! you know it doesn’t cost anything to be kind
Totally agree! The only one I have in the corner is lucky bambo and is doing well. All others I tried because if this article and they are doing terrible.
My Lucky Bamboo started out with dark leaves.
Now they are growing out light green.
Hi! So the Lucky Bamboo can be finicky if it is getting too much direct sunlight. It does need sunshine for growth and the beautiful green color, but too much will cause it to turn light green. To revive your Lucky Bamboo I would recommend trimming off all of the leaves that are pale white, yellow, brown, or dead. This way the plant can put all its growing energy into new and healthy leaves. Let me know if this helps! 🙂
Nice article! I live in Brazil, so it is hard to relate the name to the plant. For example, the “spider plant” is “gravatinha” in here. Something like “small tie”. It would be nice to have the cientific name too. In this case “Chlorophytum comosum”
But thanks anyway! Very helpful!
Oh! GREAT advice! I will update the post! Thank you Erich!
Don’t know half of these plants just by name why not post pictures so we cane see what to look for?
I updated the post 🙂
Great post! I can’t wait to add some of these to my dorm next year.
Julia | juliadoes.com
Oh! I am so excited for you!!! Please share photos on social media and send me a DM!! I would love to see them!!
This is so helpful! I have been wanting to get a bit of a green thumb and this seems like an easy way to start! Thank you for sharing!!
Thank you for reading!!!
I definitely need this!! I always struggle to keep plants alive ðŸ˜‚
Thanks for sharing your expertise! I love plants, but can’t always get them in the best spot for light!
Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate it! 🙂
May also help to add information on what plants are pet-safe.
Yes! I have a post about that – I can add the link 🙂 thanks so much for reading!
Hello, the picture at the top of the article has a peace lily at the left and two plants on the right. In the right picture, what is the very tall plant backed into the corner? Thank you.
Hi! It is an Umbrella Palm 🙂
Love this article as my husband’s office has no window! I love the snake plant! Want to try this old gave again!
awe! thanks so much for reading and I am so excited for you to add plants to his office!
thank you for info, i love indoor plants and that helps to give me more
Oh yay!!! so happy to hear that! Thanks so much for reading!!
Admitted serial plant killer here, but knowing about these low light plants might rehabilitate me!
Is there a plant that I can put in my bathroom,there is no window so the only light would be when one is turned on and must be pet safe
Thanks for following along!
I have this post, that could help: https://housefur.com/6-houseplants-that-would-love-to-live-in-your-bathroom/
But, I think a ZZ plant would work best for a windowless bathroom. 🙂
I keep seeing spider plants on these low-light lists, but I have one that struggled horribly until I moved it into brighter light. It arrived in bad shape in other ways, which I addressed, but it still didn’t perk up until I changed its location for more light. Could it have just needed more light to recover? Or could it have something to do with the variety of spider plant? New plant mom, here, so still trying to learn. Thanks for any input anyone can give me.
Do you know what variety it is? There are a few varieties of Spider Plant – one of my favorite sites: https://www.greenandvibrant.com/spider-plant has a good explanation of the different varieties.
Thanks for following and asking questions! 🙂 Houseplants are basically science experiments and you have to play around a little bit before helping them find their favorite spot.
She’s a Vittatum (variegated). I’d heard that houseplants were science experiments, I just hadn’t really experienced that yet, except a little sunburn on one leaf of a parlor palm. Like I said, she is perking up some, now. I’ll keep working with her. I have learned from this that there probably aren’t many plants I can put in her original spot without a grow light. Thanks for the link! Now that I’ve seen a picture of a full-grown one, I want a Bonnie really badly! 😀
I make this inquiry from Sri Lanka. All the plants featured in your article are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka where sun shines throughout the year. So, all of them get plenty of sunlight. I’d like to know if they are moved inside the house, where there is also ample diffused sunlight, would they thrive in that condition. Would it require them to be moved out into sunlight from time to time, or can they be kept inside throughout? Much appreciate your advice in this regard. Thank you!
Hi! Thanks so much for reading!
You could take your plants outside and let them get some natural sunlight but if you want to keep them inside you can definitely do that as well! I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin and we keep our houseplants inside year-round and they all do really well. I like to open the window and let in a nice natural breeze for them and during the winter I will use artifical lighting to help them because we do not get a lot of light or warm days here.
Thank you so much for a much needed advice!I love plant’s all so & I keep trying. I feel a little bit better about growing them. Wish me luck. Thanks!
Great article easy to read and informative
Love what’s written. I am a house plant lover and that’s lovely what you say about having a relationship with your plants!Rika
Yay! Hi to a fellow plant lover!! Thanks so much for reading!!!
Thank you for share this Ren. I’m looking for plants for the guest’s bathroom for our home. It has good air circulation but lacks natural light. Will pick spider plants and snake plants. Thank you!
Hi! I have a post about houseplants that would do well in your bathroom – but, I think off the top of my head a ZZ plant, Snake Plant, and Golden Pothos. The fluorescent light bulbs in your bathroom should be enough, but since they won’t be getting any consistent natural light, they will grow slowly. You could look into getting more mature ones from Etsy or from a home and garden store. I hope this helps!
This was a very helpful story! Thanks
You’re welcome! Thanks so much for reading!
Thank you for this useful information. I love plants but I dont know their names. The snake plant the first time i heard its name “the mother in laws tongue i couldn’t help laughing. but now I read your post and see the actual plant I am so thankful. hope to see more of this.
Very helpful post, thank you! I like how attentive you are to the comments…even making updates to the post as suggestions came in.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that!! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Great article. I want to grow plants http://plantspress.com press and need proper guideline . it really helps me a lot when I start gardening and want to choose a different kind of plants in a limited place as mentioned in my article
List looks great except the Red Prayer plant (Calathea). That is not an easy to care for plant. In my experience it needs a lot more light than you think and it is ridiculously picky. I had to water it only using distilled water and had to buy a humidifier just for that one plant. It will slowly and dramatically wither away one leaf at a time while you lose your mind.
Very educational article thanks from another plant lover Plant Dr. is my title in my building.
awe! thanks so much for reading! I love that nickname! 🙂
Thanks for sharing this zero sunlight plant list.
Thank you for the great article. I too talk to my plants. Every morning I go in my plant room to open the blinds and always remember to tell them good morning. My maltipoo is quite concerned. She can’t find who I’m talking to.
So happy to hear that!!!
Thank you for this info! I have a small guest toilet with only one small window and was wondering if any plant will survive here! Going to take your list on my next shopping!
Thanks for sharing, I hope to gain parole from being a serial plant killer into a plant mom! I would love to learn what to do when plants have problems so I can keep from killing them. Looking forward to more blogs!
My ZZ plant has pale leaves and grow slowly
Hi, I just read your post, and excited about it. I’ve always had good with my indoor and outdoor plants. I have 4 or 5 plants that I can’t remember there names, can I post them here and maybe you can name them for me. I was told some of them are not good animals. Thank you this is very informative
I live in an apartment that faces West-Northwest. My winter plants have to be moved to my bedroom in the summer because I get stifling direct sunlight from mid-afternoon (3 or later) through sunset. It moves across my living room in a fascinating way that has entertained me for many years. Obviously, late fall and winter I get little to no direct sunlight, it currently is on my most northern wall for about ten minutes before sunset. I’m attempting to keep an African violet alive through the winter. It’s growing new leaves! Should my water include fertilizer? Is growing season when the plant is producing flowers? Or like now, when it is growing leaves only?
I love plants. I have a few of the plants you mention. I have Christmas cactus that has lost the lush green color. Looks whitish and dull. What is your advice?
My husband and I just moved into a basement apartment, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to beautify things with some plants. I am really glad I found you! Thanks for sharing!