10 Houseplants That Need (Almost) Zero Sunlight

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Low-Light houseplants are perfect for houseplants lovers that travel frequently, have busy work schedules, live in a dim apartment or home, or just don't want to worry about dedicating too much time to their plants. 

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e lilyLow-Light houseplants are perfect for houseplants lovers that travel frequently, have busy work schedules, live in a dim apartment or home, or just don’t want to worry about dedicating too much time to their plants.

In nature, some plants grow at the bottom of larger plants, so they only receive dappled or highly diffused light. Just like in the wild,  there are many houseplants that can thrive in low-light.

Even if you feel like you’re a houseplant serial killer, I know that you can parent the lushest, most beautiful, and 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.

I stand by the fact that houseplants are basically ongoing science projects and sometimes things work and sometimes things don’t because there are so many variables when it comes to owning houseplants. 

Houseplants That Need (Almost) Zero Sunlight

aka: 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 they can survive in low-light situations or just with a plant light.

1) Lucky Bamboo | 2)  Spider Plant | 3) ZZ Plant | 4) Devil’s Ivy | 5) Kangaroo Fern | 6) Red Prayer Plant | 7) The Areca Palm | 8) Peace Lilly | 9) Peperomia | 10) Snake Plant

These 10 houseplants are all beautiful, easy to care for, and will do well in low-light conditions and homes. 

 

1) Lucky Bamboo 

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. That being said, it does need some light and it 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.

Lucky Bamboo isn’t a bamboo at all. The canes, stalks, or stems (whatever you prefer to call them) resemble the canes of a bamboo plant, hence the name. It is actually a dracaena.

If growing your plant in soil, make sure 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 it can be grown in water as well. If you choose to grow your bamboo in water, make sure the roots always stay covered with water. Replenish your lucky bamboo with fresh water every seven to ten days to keep it happy and healthy.

2) Spider Plant

I love the Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) plant for how hardy it is with nearly zero sunlight. It can survive for years in indirect light and even live prosperously if it’s been lacking water for a while. In fact, during the winter months, it needs very little water at all. This houseplant will thrive in fluorescent lighting as well.

The spider plant will produce tiny white flowers when it is thriving and offshoots that look like baby spiders. You can repot the offshoots and give them to your friends and family!

The Spider Plant is a great indoor air purifier, grows quickly, and looks excellent in hanging planters (I love these from Etsy)

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.

ZZ Plants have shiny leaves ad are resilient and will be fine if neglected. They can survive in low-light and they 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 “Devil’s Ivy”

I have my pothos plants in planters on an east-facing wall that receives some light coming 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 do not have the roots standing in water if possible.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Seller

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 is referring 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.

kangaroo fern

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

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 the underside of its leaves. Red Prayer Plants tolerate low-light environments but may need more light for leaves to unfold fully

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Seller

7) Areca Palm

Areca Palms (Dypsis lutescens) are excellent air purifiers and can also act as a humidifier 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!

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

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 pretty tall and will produce flowers more frequently if they have at least some natural light. We have ours in our living room, and it gets some southern-facing window light from across the room.

The Peace Lily looks great in a floor planter because they 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.

Peace Lily Plant

9) Peperomia

Peperomias will tolerate a variety of light conditions. They prefer to be out of direct light because in their natural environment will grow beneath forest canopies. Peperomia plants in the peppercorn family, Piperaceae.

Peperomia are easy to care for and are natural air purifiers! Peperomias love humidity and will thrive in your bathroom!

peperomia plant

Photo: Courtesy of Etsy Seller

10) Snake Plant

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.

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.

snake plant houseplant care

If your home has only a few windows or just have 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. 

Happy Houseplanting!

SHOP MY FAVORITE LOW-LIGHT PLANTS

1) Lucky Bamboo | 2)  Spider Plant | 3) ZZ Plant | 4) Devil’s Ivy | 5) Kangaroo Fern | 6) Red Prayer Plant | 7) The Areca Palm | 8) Peace Lilly | 9) Peperomia | 10) Snake Plant

Photo credit for images in infographic is given to lined sellers in this article.

10 LOW-LIGHT HOUSEPLANTS

If you and your houseplants were in a relationship, what would your relationship status be?

A) “Blissfully in love”

B) “It’s complicated”

C) “100% admitting it… I’m a serial houseplant killer”

Creating great love in ANY relationships 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!

 

low light houseplants

Join the Conversation

  1. This article is simply not true. Everything needs light to grow. These plants will survive in lower light but never in “NO LIGHT”

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      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.

      1. Jen Dauphinais says:

        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.

      2. Ren Lenhof Author says:

        Awe!! Thanks so much for sharing and thank your husband for his service! Have fun filling your home with plant friends! 🌱🤩

  2. 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!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Oh! GREAT advice! I will update the post! Thank you Erich!

  3. Don’t know half of these plants just by name why not post pictures so we cane see what to look for?

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Great Idea!

      I updated the post 🙂

  4. Julia Amodeo says:

    Great post! I can’t wait to add some of these to my dorm next year.

    Julia | juliadoes.com

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Oh! I am so excited for you!!! Please share photos on social media and send me a DM!! I would love to see them!!

  5. 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!!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Thank you for reading!!!

  6. I definitely need this!! I always struggle to keep plants alive 😂

  7. Thanks for sharing your expertise! I love plants, but can’t always get them in the best spot for light!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate it! 🙂

  8. May also help to add information on what plants are pet-safe.

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Yes! I have a post about that – I can add the link 🙂 thanks so much for reading!

  9. 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.

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Hi! It is an Umbrella Palm 🙂

  10. Julie Villones says:

    Love this article as my husband’s office has no window! I love the snake plant! Want to try this old gave again!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      awe! thanks so much for reading and I am so excited for you to add plants to his office!

  11. judy walters says:

    thank you for info, i love indoor plants and that helps to give me more

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Oh yay!!! so happy to hear that! Thanks so much for reading!!

  12. Admitted serial plant killer here, but knowing about these low light plants might rehabilitate me!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Hooray!!!!!

  13. 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

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Hi Carol!
      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. 🙂

  14. Heidi Bringhurst says:

    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.

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      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.

      1. Heidi Bringhurst says:

        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! 😀

  15. Manil Gunawardene says:

    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!

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      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.

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