Plants that Grow without Sunlight | 17 Best Plants to Grow Indoors

There are plants that grow without sunlight, they need indirect exposure, some even thrive in fluorescent light and here in this article we’ve listed 17 best plants to grow indoors.

The obvious thing that everyone knows is the fact that plants need sunlight to grow. They can’t grow or develop properly without the right amount of sunlight.

So what would you do if you have windows in your home or office that are small or directed north or if you want to grow plants in your living room, dining room or bathroom? Luckily there are plants that grow without sunlight (requires bright indirect light) 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 sunlight. 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 17 best plants to grow indoors.

Also read: Best Indoor Plants According to Different Light Conditions

1. Dracaena6584-0508-LG_mini

Dracaena is a beautiful houseplant that you can grow at home. There are about 50 species of it. It’s really easy to grow plant.

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

2. BromeliadsBromeliads_mini

Bromeliad is a perfect plant to grow indoors, most of the varieties of this plant thrive easily in a container in shade. Indeed, it is a tropical plant but you can grow it anywhere, indoors. It can even grow in luminescent light.

3. Maidenhair Fern

Adiantum raddianum

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

Be sure to water frequently (avoid overwatering) and keep this houseplant in indirect sun.

Also read: Plants for Restful Sleep

4. Parlor Palmparlor-palm_mini

Most popular indoor palm variety, it’s an excellent houseplant for almost any situation, it grows even in those dim corners where nothing else will grow. It requires only minimal care and moderate light. It produces clusters of tiny yellow flowers in spring, however, they don’t appear in low light conditions.

Water only when soil is dry otherwise you’ll kill your plant.

5. Umbrella papyrus (Palm)cyperus-alternifolius_mini

Umbrella palm is an evergreen ornamental plant, best grown indoors or in shady and a boggy spot in the garden. Many houseplant enthusiasts find this plant easy enough to grow and maintain.

It requires constantly moist substrate. You can place the umbrella palm pot over the tray filled with water.

Also read: DIY Indoor Garden Decoration Ideas

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

Mother-in-law’s tongue is a low maintenance plant also called as snake plant. It’s a very durable and popular houseplant. Its ability to tolerate darkness is amazing. We love it!

Also Read: Best Indoor Succulents

7. Creeping Fig variegated creeping fig_mini

It’s a slow growing creeper with small, leathery dark green foliage. Vigorous-growing, clinging, dense branches adhere to any surface and look enchanting.

Be careful not to overwater creeping fig. Let the soil dry out before watering spells.

Also read: Best Low Maintenance Houseplants

8. Philodendron

Philodendrons

Philodendron easily adapt to low-light conditions. They come in both vine and shrub varieties.

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

9. Calathea (Peacock Plant)peacock plant_mini

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 specific minimum temperature 55 F (13 C) requirement that should be maintained.

It prefers frequent watering (watering should be done according to the light condition and temperature) and slightly moist soil.

10. Maranta Leuconeura (Prayer Plant)maranta-leuconeura_mini

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

Also read: Best Flowering Houseplants

11. Sword fernTuberous_sword_fern_mini

Sword fern can become a beautiful evergreen houseplant. Like other houseplants don’t place this in direct sunlight.

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.

12. PeperomiaPeperomia_puteolata_2

Peperomia is small striking adorable houseplant that grows up to only 6 inches tall. Due to its thick foliage, it is often considered as succulent, which is not true.

Peperomia likes slightly moist soil and humidity but watering should be reduced in winter. Spraying the plant’s leaves is helpful in maintaining the humidity level.

13. Devil’s Ivy (Golden Pothos/Money Plant)Devils Ivy-Golden Pothos_mini

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

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

14. Carex Morrowii (Japanese Sedge)

Carex morrowii Variegata

Japanese sedge is a shade-loving ornamental grass, it grows well indoors.

15. Spider plantspider-plant-easy-apartment-plants

Its graceful green foliage striped with cream color looks beautiful in hanging baskets and pots, it can be kept on windowsills or near the entrance of home as it likes indirect sunlight. Also, the plant is an air purifying plant.

Direct sunlight often causes burning of leaves.

16. Peace Lilypeace lily_mini

If you often forget to water your houseplants, acquire a peace lily, it is forgiving. Incredibly easy to grow, peace lily flourishes in shady locations. It also cleans up the air.

17. Silver Queen (Aglaonema)Aglaonema Silver_Queen_mini

Silver queen is a very beautiful plant. It’s one of the most durable houseplants that thrives in low light, it’s an ideal plant for beginners too. However, the plant is extremely cold sensitive.

Also read: 15 Houseplants for Beginners

Additional Tips

  • Don’t overwater your houseplants. Even if the indoor plant requires moist soil, be careful with watering.
  • Avoid keeping the plant waterlogged all the time and reduce watering in winter.
  • Fertilize your houseplants with all purpose liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season, which is summer.
  • Prune your plants regularly to maintain their desired shape and size.
  • Clean the dust adhere on the surface of leaves.
  • Look out for pests, especially spider mites can be a major problem.

Pin it

When you are looking for such plants choose that are known for their ability to grow in indirect sunlight. They are ideal shade-loving plants, naturally growing in indirect sun. These plants adapts well to the smaller amount of light and thrives normally. To make your searching easier we've listed 17 best plants to grow indoors.



53 COMMENTS

    • 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.

    • 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!
      Kathleen

    • 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 …

  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,

    Tricia

  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
    f

  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.

    Thanks,

    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

  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,
    Michele

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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here