HomeBest and Top of GardeningPlants that Grow Without Sunlight | 21 Best Plants to Grow Indoors

Plants that Grow Without Sunlight | 21 Best Plants to Grow Indoors

These are 21 Plants that Grow Without Sunlight and need indirect exposure. Some even thrive in artificial light and Grow Best Indoors!

The obvious thing that everyone knows is the fact that plants need some light to grow. They can’t grow or develop properly without the proper amount of light. Luckily there are Plants that Grow Without Sunlight, and you can grow them indoors. When you are looking for such plants, choose ones that are known for their ability to grow in indirect light.

They are ideal shade-loving plants, naturally growing in the indirect sun. These plants adapt well to the smaller amount of light and thrive normally. To make your searching easier, we’ve listed the Best Plants to Grow Indoors.

Check out our article on how to save dying houseplants here

List of Plants That Grow Without Sunlight

1. Dracaena


Botanical Name: Dracaena

Dracaena is a beautiful indoor plant genus. There are about 50 species of it that you can grow at home. And most of them are easy houseplants!

Occasional pruning and regular watering are important for dracaena. Keep the plant away from direct sun and avoid overwatering.

Check out some of the best indoor Dracaena varieties here

2. Bromeliads


Botanical Name: Bromeliaceae

Bromeliad is a perfect plant to grow indoors, most of the varieties of this plant thrive easily in a container in the shade. Indeed, it is a tropical plant, but you can grow it indoors. It can even grow in luminescent light; you’ll have to take care of humidity and provide some indirect sun.

Here are some of the major problems you need to keep in check that kills houseplants

3. Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum raddianum

Botanical Name: Adiantum

When it comes to ferns that are popular indoors, the maidenhair fern is one you should consider. The dark and glossy leafstalk resembles human hair, and it looks great.

Be sure to water when the topsoil is dry (avoid overwatering) and keep this houseplant in indirect sun.

Here are some of the best hanging ferns you can grow

4. Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)

shutterstock/Shadow Inspiration

Botanical Name: Dracaena trifasciata

Mother-in-law’s tongue is really low-maintenance, popularly known as a snake plant. It’s very durable and hardy in indoor conditions. Its ability to tolerate darkness is amazing.

One more interesting fact about this houseplant is–It’s a succulent!

Learn how to grow snake plants here 

5. Philodendron


Botanical Name: Philodendron

Philodendron, especially the “Heartleaf,” easily adapts to low-light conditions, and growing this is similar to pothos. Philodendron varieties come in both vine and shrub forms.

The soil must be constantly moist but not wet. It’s best if the soil dries out slightly between watering spells.

Here is everything you need to know about Philodendron care

6. Calathea


peacock plant_mini

Botanical Name: Calathea

One of the most beautiful foliage plants you should grow in your home. It grows well in light shade, but the plant is demanding; it has a specific minimum temperature of 55 F (13 C) requirement that should be maintained.

It prefers regular watering (but watering should be reduced in low light conditions and temperature).

7. Prayer Plant


Botanical Name: Maranta leuconeura

Calatheas are tropical plants and a bit difficult to grow in cooler climates, and so is the prayer plant, but it is one alternative you can go for; it is comparatively easy to grow than calathea.

It grows well in moderate light without direct access to the sun. If the plant is kept in too much light, the leaves begin to curl and wither.

Watch out for pests, especially spider mites.

8. Boston Fern


Botanical Name: Nephrolepis exaltata

Boston fern can become a beautiful evergreen houseplant. Like other houseplants, don’t place this in direct sunlight but provide it with bright indirect light. 

It grows well in acidic soil. Keep the soil lightly moist but well-draining. It loves humid surroundings, so do regular misting to maintain the humidity levels.

9. Devil’s Ivy (Golden Pothos)

Devils Ivy-Golden Pothos_mini

Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum

Commonly known as the money plant in South East Asia, it’s most commonly grown as a houseplant in Asian countries. This extremely low-maintenance vine grows easily without direct sunlight.

Excellent climber, you can grow it even in the bathroom, kitchen, or living room. It is known for its ability to clean Carbon Monoxide from the air.

To know how to care for a pothos plant, click here

10. Chinese Evergreen


Botanical Name: Aglaonema

Chinese Evergreen plants are one of the best plants to grow indoors that don’t require constant, direct sunlight. If you are someone who’s new to growing houseplants, this is the plant you should start with.

Old classic green varieties of Chinese evergreen survive better in low light!

11. Cast Iron Plant


Botanical Name: Aspidistra elatior

The cast iron plant is very forgiving by nature, a great plant if you are always busy and forget about maintenance. It remains very much content staying indoors without the sun.

Just wipe its leaves clean with a damp cloth once a week or so, and provide it with bright indirect light.

12. Orchids


Botanical Name: Orchidaceae

One of the key points in growing orchids the right way is to never expose them to direct sunlight. Coming in an astonishing array of colors, varieties, and mesmerizing fragrances, exotic and graceful orchids are your best bet when it comes to Plants that Grow without Sunlight!

13. Lucky Bamboo


Botanical Name: Dracaena sanderiana

According to Feng Shui, it attracts positive vibes and good fortune. It’s one of the best office desk and tabletop plants.

Compact in nature, you can grow it in water in your home without worrying about light exposure. We also added it to our list of best Office Desk Plants.

Here’s all you need to know about growing Lucky Bamboo

14. ZZ Plant


Botanical Name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Not only this plant looks really good with its attractive, glossy foliage–It is a plant that you can forget about when it comes to sunlight and watering.

ZZ grows well under indirect light and absolutely loves the shaded areas of the house. The only requirement is the warmer surroundings.

Check out some astonishing benefits of the ZZ Plant here

15. Peperomia


Botanical Name: Peperomia

What makes these plants perfect for your tabletop is the fact they are some of the best plants that grow without sunlight. Whether it’s Baby Rubber Plant or Watermelon Peperomia–they all have moderate growing requirements.

Place them near a window that allows them to absorb indirect light throughout the day.

16. Dumb Cane


Botanical Name: Dieffenbachia

If you can keep this plant away from your pets and children, it can be a welcoming addition to your home. Because its sap is moderately toxic and contains calcium oxalate crystals, so be careful about the placement.

It does really well in filtered light, making it a perfect houseplant for low-light areas!

Here are some of the most amazing benefits Dumb Cane has on offer

17. Spider Plant


Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum

Imagine the graceful variegated foliage of a spider plant dangling down with unique spiderettes in hanging baskets. Isn’t it enough to entice you to grow it? Also, it likes indirect light and is one of the best air-purifying plants.

Direct sunlight often causes the burning of leaves.

18. Peace Lily


Botanical Name: Spathiphyllum

If you’re looking for a houseplant with health benefits, acquire a peace lily. Also, it is forgiving and requires low care. Incredibly easy to grow, peace lily flourishes in shady locations.

19. Aloe Vera


Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis miller

The most popular and number one houseplant in many countries, according to Google Trends, and rightly so. This medicinal plant can grow in direct sunlight, but it tolerates low light too. Learn everything about growing aloe vera here.

20. Rubber Plant


Botanical Name: Ficus elastica

If you are a fan of a large foliage plant, then this must be on the top of your list. The plant never fails to make a bold statement with its glossy and rubbery leaves.

It performs well in bright indirect light and won’t mind staying in a bit of shade, too, what’s more! It also has many benefits that you can check out here.

21. Hoya


Botanical Name: Hoya

Be it a small room or a large one, hoya will look appealing in all! Grow the plant in shelves where its leaves will dangle down beautifully from the pot.

The plant doesn’t need direct sun exposure, so you can easily grow it in rooms with indirect light.

Have a look at the best types of Hoyas here

Additional Tips

  • Green houseplant varieties with fewer variegations and colors survive better in dim light conditions.
  • Don’t overwater your houseplants when growing them in low light. In fact, keeping them on a drier side is a better idea when growing them without sunlight to prevent root rot.
  • Even if the indoor plant requires moist soil, be careful with watering when you’re growing any plant in low light. Always check out the soil moisture level before watering again.
  • Fertilize your houseplants with weak strength all-purpose liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  • Clean the dust particles adhere to the surface of plant leaves regularly to improve their photosynthesis rate.
  • Watch out for pests. Spider mites can be a major problem in dry indoor conditions.


    • You’re balcony may have too much sunlight. Most of these plants like shady areas. If you move them to a shadier spot, the leaves should stop burning.

    • What I researched about calathea, I will tell you. These plants should be watered with distilled water or rain water or water that does not have minerals, or the leaves will curl and burn. To maintain humidity the leaves should be sprayed with same type of water. The soil best for them is the one prepared for African violets. They don’t like direct sunlight and fertilize them very lightly.

    • Hi Jackie,

      The Zamioculcas Zamifolia (ZZ Plant) is perfect for your office, it really requires no natural life to grow.
      I had one that grew quite large…it was in a corner of my apartment that had no natural light at all, just a small lamp it could have received light from.

      Good Luck!

    • I bought a bird of paradise at ikea a year ago and it is thriving and beautiful. No windows in my office. Great and inexpensive. 4 – 5 foot tall

    • Hi Jackie
      The Peace Lily also does really well in a room with no windows. Many offices have them in vases with water, no soil, plus you can put a Beta fish in the vase with the plant. If you include a fish, you will have to clean it weekly and feed it every couple of days. They look very pretty. In my home I have 5 Peace Lilies, 3 are potted in soil and 2 are in vases (no fish), both ways they do very well, my potted ones are on a windowsill that gets morning sun and the vases are on top of my tv, about 10 away from the window. I have never seen a potted one in a room with no windows, so I can’t say if they would be ok. Good luck

      • Sounds beautiful. Just a word from my experience, it’s funny now but sure wasn’t then. My favorite lil niece picked me some wild flowers, so me being so proud of them placed them in a vase on top of the TV so everyone else could see the love she shared with me. When I went outside to do something the two lil angles got to wrestling and yup that vase got knocked over into the TV. At least they shut it off. I came in to an awful smell of a killed television, and two sweet little girls sitting with hands in laps smiling at me. Well they never did own up to it untill they were grown up, even when we got that new TV. So unless you need or want a new TV I highly recommend that you might want to move any plants OFF AND AWAY FROM SAID TVS. Good luck …

      • Jackie, I had a Lily in my office, no windows, fluorescent light on about 30 hours a week, and, I would forget to water until wilted. It was a great plant that survived and flourished, without much care, even bloomed. I also had a Philodendron in a hanging pot, also neglected and strived beautifully.

    • Hi Jackie
      I have a prayer plant which is growing well. Had to move it from my coffee table as it has grown too tall & blocks the view of my TV I moved it to my dining room table, where, as with being on my coffee table, gets indirect sunlight ( perhaps a bit less light then being on my coffee table). There is a ceiling fan directly above where the plant is now sitting on my dining room table. The ceiling runs on low speed in the summer months. Will the air movement from the ceiling fan harm my prayer plant in anyway?

  1. I have the Bromelaids. I have never bought them before. I left them out all summer, and repotted them a few days ago. New garden soil used. They looked pretty sad. I moved them to the basement, watered them, cleaned each leaf, Next day went to put in some laundry, and OMG, they sprouted overnight! Even my husband raved about them. New plants have already sprouted! I will be buying more, next year.

    Loving my Bromelaids,


  2. I have managed to plant the other plants successfully but the Maidenhair Fern appears a bit more sensitive and does not grow thick and bushy like in your photo. Is it because i have overwatered and how do I take care of the plant.

  3. The information is very useful. I have a peace lily plant have kept in open in sunlight not at all growing since 4-5 months. Even leaves are becoming small n no flowers it was good earlier. What to do? The temperature here is around 30

    • Direct sunlight is too strong for peace lilies. Place them away from windows so they only get indirect light, and don’t overwater. If it is not already too far gone, your peace lily will start growing again and will soon look great. Good luck. :)

  4. the money plant and spider plant definitely need sunlight…the colour of the leaves will be different(better) when grown in the sun

    • I realise that now after getting them! I placed them in shady corners of the house before I read up more about them and now they are just next to my balcony, not too much sunlight :-).

    • No problem as long as you remember to check water levels more frequently. I set all of my plants on the picture window ledge right in front of a vent every winter. I have a peace lily, 2 christmas cacti and several others that have done very well over the last 10 years.

  5. I have 7 of these plants and LOVE them but I definitely have to get the Bromeliad, Maidenhair Fern, Calathea and Philosendron!! :)

  6. If i were to leave a Parlor Palm in a corner where it’ll never get light, It wont be complete darkness but the only light it’d get is from rooms will it survive and also would it not wither or look malmaintained?

  7. I love jade plants and have tried to grow many, but have been unsuccessful. My home is dark and they always wither and the leave drop off. Appreciate any tips you can offer.


    Please help.

    • Jade plants are succulents and need some direct or indirect light. They cannot grow without light and as you have experienced they will wither and die. Best place for them, indoors, is near a sunny (east,west, south) facing window that gets at least 6 hours of direct/indirect light per day. They require some warmth also so they don’t do well in cold rooms.
      As succulents they do NOT need a lot of water. I have several on my balcony that go the entire summer(temps in 80’s-90’s)) without water. They store water in their trunks and leaves, but when leaves start to crinkle it’s best to give them a good drench and be sure water runs out the bottom of the pots. Don’t let stand in water. I give them a little bit of liquid fertilizer once only in the summer. Also the best potting mix is cactus mix which allows the roots to aerate quickly. When healthy and happy they will bloom heavily in the fall with lovely tiny pink or white flowers that will also make bees happy. Where I live we get a bit of frost in the winter so I either cover them or bring them in. They will freeze and die if left outside in temps that drop into the low 30s or below.
      Hope this info helps.

  8. Hi, I bought Bromeliad plant 1 month ago and kept it inside in living room. But now the colour of plant from top is changing slowly from orange to green again. Why is it happening. Pls reply me as soon as possible. Thanks

    • Hello Vibhuti
      Bromeliads die after giving a flower. They grow pups which will continue to grow. Once the pup is about 1/3 of the size of the mother plant you can remove them. I get 2 to 4 pups from each bromeliad. They do flower for a long time but then move on. Good luck

  9. I have many Jade plants outside. They are very easy to grow. Very little water is needed. I have them in shade and in direct sun. They are all doing great. Some of mine are 4 ft tall. I think a little shade seems to be better . Love this site. Doris

  10. my fave plant is the china doll, that seems to do really well inside dim light or skylight. i have one sitting under a lamp and its a fairly dark room, still thriving. they seem to adapt to whatever light they have. just keep watered. love the maidenhair fern thats my second fave plant.

  11. To anyone with pets, PLEASE double check whether the plant you are interested in is toxic to cats and dogs. At first glance at this list I immediately noticed several that will not only make your pet sick but can be fatal. The peace lily in particular is extremely dangerous to cats, inducing non-reversible kidney damage that will cause your cat’s kidneys to shut down within days. Dracenea, philodendron, and golden pothos are all toxic as well, and for some reason very enticing to cats. I unfortunately have found in general that many of the most common, low-light houseplants are in fact toxic, and while many of them only tend to cause mild stomach upset or mouth pain (and symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, and pawing at the mouth), some of them can lead to neurologic signs, cardiac disturbances, red blood cell destruction/anemia, liver disease, and kidney damage.

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to check to see if a plant or flower is toxic BEFORE you bring it into your home. An excellent reference is the ASPCA Poison Control website, which allows you to search for both toxic and nontoxic plants, alphabetically by common name and scientific name, and features photos of most plants to aid identification. Never assume a plant is not toxic because it is sold in big box stores or garden centers, and do not assume your pet won’t try to eat it–they will. Also keep in mind that sometimes the dried leaves of a plant are even more toxic, with higher concentrations of the toxic substance. Always try to pick up the fallen leaves of your houseplants regularly to prevent a curious cat or dog from trying to munch on them.

    It is almost impossible to remember whether a plant is or is not toxic with the vast number of species and varieties out there today. I don’t even recommend trying to; rather, check each one out every time you want to buy a new plant. I am a veterinarian, and even I forget which is which and much prefer to check out the ASPCA site to avoid inadvertently bringing home something that could harm my pets. Of course, please don’t ever forget–NO peace lilies or Easter lilies around your cats! They will kill, and sadly, do kill, too many cats simply because their owner didn’t know.

    • Thank you so much!! I almost lost my cat due to eating a house plant almost fifty years ago and have tried to be very careful ever since. Despite my vigilance, however, my current cat got sick about a month ago because she jumped up on my kitchen counter when my back was turned and ate some of the herbs I was chopping.

  12. Are there any kinds of Mediterranean palms that can be grown indoors that don’t require a lot of direct sunlight? They really are the most attractive of all palms in my opinion.

  13. I had gotten several plants and all indoors, purple passion two of the Ivy’s you posted and one palm. But, suddenly l have gnats everywhere!! I hate bugs! I was always having a gnat flying around my head. I moved all of them outside to my covered patio. I miss my plants but l really hate bugs.

    • Put about an inch or two of play sand ( you can buy it at lumber stores or home improvement stores) on top of your soil. It will suffocate the gnats, and it won’t hurt your plants at all. Just water as usual through the layer of sand.

  14. Hi there, I have the plant Mothers tongue inside but the leaves are not striaght and look week. Please advise me what can I do to make the plant healthy. Thank you.

  15. Very good presentation of indoor plants.- I was just needing an article like this.- Excellent photos of each of them.- THANKS

  16. Hi. I have a peace lily which doesn’t get any direct sunlight and it’s not doing very well. The leaves seem to be dying off one by one. I give it a good watering once a week because the last one that I kept the soil “moderately moist” died. Do you have any suggestions? I just started trying to grow plants inside and out last spring and my luck has been about 50/50:)
    Thanks so much,

  17. My back patio has very limited, what would be the best plants for this situation. Wanting something with a little bit of height.

  18. Hi, I’m trying to find plant that can live in very specific conditions. We have hollway, which is very dark. It’s
    facing north and have eaves in front in doors and have only one glas door till exit. Temperture is in winter low, and in summer is ok, not to hot.
    I belive we need outdoor plant witch love deep shade. Do you have any idea whitch one? I would appreciate.

    • The ZZ plant would do very well for your situation. It adores shade and grows well with a weekly watering. It grows upwards and has beautiful green leaves. My housing situation is in SE Michigan, so very similar to yours. Another bonus they are easily to propagate so knew plant can turn to many, and are often found at your local big box store.

  19. Hi, Found this l list and my son and I went shopping yesterday. We came home with the maiden hair fern and a ficus fiddle head which the man in the greenhouse said will be a good grower in indirect northeastern light. How about fertilizing? Any thoughts?

  20. When no one’s there, our little high desert Church has hardly any light, only a bit that comes through some gray mylar shades. Late Spring until Nov., tall East & West windows scoop up heat, shades or no shades. An oven. November through April it can freeze and can also be pretty dry, but sheltered from the wind. Flowers are gone overnight, year-round. Hoping for large plants that could stand permanently in a couple of prominent locations, and smaller plants to move around elsewhere. We promise to keep to whatever watering/feeding schedule is required.

  21. Moving to garden apartment soon. Not much light, one window in the east and 3 on the south side. What plants would you recommend. All 3 are bedroom windows. No bathroom or kitchen windows.

  22. I have had a peace Lily since the year 2000. This plant loves to be ignored. It has flowered a handful of times but it’s dark green, beautiful leaves flourish. I’ve transplanted it two or three times during the 18 years. I forget to water it all the time but she loves the abuse because when I finally give her a drink she comes back better than ever. My cleaning lady washes her leaves periodically. I will occasionally sit her out in the rain during the summer so she can get out and live a little.

  23. Maranta Leuconeura is definitely a light lover. Okay, at least my one was. I placed it near a west facing window which received bright light all day long, really. But it was way too fussy, where it lost half of its leaves a month after I bought it. I even kept it decently watered, but to no avail. The leaves still yellowed and curled. Eventually, the plant was only left with two leaves. It looked very unattractive in my room. So I placed it in a sheltered area in my backyard, which receives bright light, and whaddaya know, new leaves are sprouting almost every week. What I learnt? This plant prefers the outdoors with bright, but indirect sunlight.

  24. The sweetheart plant (a nickname given because of the shape of its glossy leaves) can stand dim rooms, but requires pinching to prevent it from growing in long, single stems.

  25. Under the bright lights the plants appear to be embedded in crumpled soggy blankets. The use of growing mediums other than soil is not unique to aeroponics; planting seeds in cotton has been a popular idea for many a school science project. In recent years a related technology called hydroponics, that uses water as a medium to grow plants, has caught on. But Oshima is quick to distinguish aeroponics from hydroponics emphasizing that their technology is superior. And the key to the technology, is what happens under the microfleece membrane. If peeled it would reveal bare roots enveloped by nutrient-rich mist.

  26. Amei cada explicação,tenho muitos cactos em areas,pegam sol e sombra,algumas da que deram nome coloquei em uma area com muita luz e nada de sol,Moro no Brasil e verão é muito quente,mesmo não pegando sol,ficam bolsões de ar quente.Adorei suas explicações,muito Obrigada e até mais.beijos.

  27. We have ZZ plant with white spots. I don’t know why. Is it natural or is there something wrong with our plant?


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