Houseplants

10+ Houseplants That Need (Almost) Zero Sunlight

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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. 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 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.

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 who have busy schedules or travel frequently. They also look great in homes where the light is low or heavily diffused 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, low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they are no work. The key to keeping low-light houseplants alive is just like having 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 was will cause the 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 most likely have large green leaves to catch as much light (food) as possible.

These 10 houseplants are all 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 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.

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.

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 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, depending on how it was acclimated before you bought it may make a difference. I have a snake plant at my photography studio 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 morning light that is very indirect! 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

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.

Photo Credit: Etsy 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 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 HowThe 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.

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 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 pretty tall and will produce flowers more frequently if they have at least some natural light. The Peace Lily looks great 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.

9) Peperomia

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.

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.

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.

More Houseplant Blog Posts You May Be Interested In

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!

Ren Lenhof

View Comments

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

    • 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!

    • 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.

        • 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!

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

  • 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!!

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

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