If you’re looking for the perfect houseplants or office plants to brighten up your space, you’ll need to be selective about the ones you choose. Not every plant can survive indoors. Many plants require full sunlight each day to trigger photosynthesis and remain glowing, growing, and thriving.
However, certain plants don’t need direct sunlight. They can survive on the minimal light they receive indoors. These plants make excellent houseplants or projects for beginners who may have trouble keeping more finicky varieties alive. Read on to learn about the best plants that don’t need sun. The next time you’re considering buying a plant, think about these great options that don’t need a lot of sunlight. You can also check out our article on the coolest plants to gift someone. If you’re a pet lover, always make sure to check with the ASPCA on which plants are toxic for pets.
Plants that don’t need direct sunlight are ideal for shady patios or indoor spaces away from south-facing windows. Low-light plants can survive on minimal sunlight or only artificial light. In turn, they require less maintenance than many outdoor plants, making them suitable for new plant parents.
Keeping low-light plants throughout your home or office can create a fresh, modern aesthetic that instantly elevates your decor. Plants add a natural appearance to otherwise artificial decor. Their rich green leaves and lush foliage bring the freshness of the outdoors to your indoor space, creating a more enjoyable atmosphere.
Additionally, placing plants throughout your indoor space can act as a natural air purifier. Plants convert the carbon dioxide we breathe out into fresh oxygen that we can then breathe in. In the process, they remove toxins from the air. Here are a few of the best indoor plants that thrive without direct sunlight:
The snake plant is one of the most popular low-light houseplants in the U.S. Snake plants are tall, flowering plants that grow vertical green leaves outlined in yellow. These plants have several nicknames, including the mother-in-law’s tongue and the viper’s bowstring hemp.
While snake plants prefer bright, indirect light, they can also thrive in low light. You only need to water these plants when the first few inches of soil feel dry. Generally, many indoor plants of this variety can go over a month between waterings.
Snake plants are some of the hardiest plants you’ll find. Plant owners report forgetting their mother-in-law’s tongues in dark rooms for months, only to discover that they are just as green and lush as ever. If you or a friend or family member is new to owning plants or doesn’t have a green thumb, sending a snake plant is a great way to begin an indoor collection. Just be sure not to overwater these plants, as doing so can cause root rot that ultimately kills the plant.
Cast Iron Plant
Cast-iron plants are hard-to-kill houseplants that require minimal light exposure. These plants have beautiful, dark-green foliage and almond-shaped leaves that add a pop of freshness to any indoor space.
Cast-iron plants thrive in indirect sunlight, such as near a north-facing window. You should avoid exposing these plants to direct sunlight, as harsh, direct light can scorch their leaves. If you plan to place these plants outdoors, be sure to keep them in primarily shady areas.
Like most plants that thrive in low sunlight, cast-iron plants do not require much water. You should only water your cast-iron plant when the top few inches of soil feel dry. You can find several varieties of cast-iron plants with beautiful, unique features. Some have light-green speckled leaves, while others grow tall shoots that turn them into the perfect floor decor.
The Chinese evergreen (botanical name aglaonema) is a popular house plant that comes in numerous species. Because these plants come in so many varieties, you can choose a species that promotes your desired beauty and features. Do you want a flourishing plant with pink-tinged leaves? Or a tall house plant exuding a bright green color?
Chinese evergreens thrive in medium light or low light. While they prefer humid conditions, they will also tolerate cooler areas of your home. These shade plants do well with moderate watering, acidic soil, and yearly fertilizing.
Peace lilies have the nickname “closet plants” for a reason. They can thrive in even the darkest corner of your home, making them excellent plants to “set and forget.” They’re also unique to many house plants, as their glossy green leaves produce leaf bract extrusions that resemble white flowers.
Peace lily plants are drought-tolerant, allowing them to go weeks between waterings. Many owners simply wait until their peace lily begins drooping before watering it. If your peace lily becomes dusty in your home or office, you can wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to remove the dust.
Note: Peace lilies are toxic to pets.
The prayer plant is a tropical plant that grows well in light shade or low-light conditions. Its leaves remain flat during the day, then fold into a “prayer pose” at night, giving the plant its name. Prayer plants feature unique leaves that can add visual intrigue to your home or office. These round, dark-green leaves include pinkish veins that resemble stripes and light-green centers.
Prayer plants like well-draining soil, warm growing conditions, and frequent waterings. These tropical plants are best for intermediate plant owners, as they require a bit more care than the varieties above.
If you’re looking for a plant that requires almost no maintenance, we recommend an air plant. In nature, these plants grow on other plants, like the bird’s nest fern. However, they can thrive in their own containers and do not require soil or frequent waterings to survive.
These plants are an excellent choice to fill a hanging pot or unique vessel in your office, such as a seashell, vintage glass, or hand-made basket. You can water your air plant by taking it out of its pot once every couple of weeks and soaking it in room-temperature water for around five minutes.
A Chinese money plant is a popular houseplant with flat, coin-shaped leaves and thin, delicate stems. The lightweight nature of these plants allows them to sway gently in the breeze from an open window. Many people confuse them with the sweetheart plant, which also produces flat, round leaves.
These plants prefer bright, indirect light from a north-facing window. However, you should avoid too much direct sun exposure, as excessive direct sunlight could scorch the money plant’s delicate leaves.
The peacock plant is a unique low-light plant with striped leaves in shades of green and pink. While the peacock plant can thrive as an indoor plant, it requires more particular care than many varieties on our list.
Peacock plants are shade-loving plants that thrive on indirect light or filtered light. They do well with moist soil that drains well and prefer filtered water or rainfall to tap water. Many peacock plant owners use moisture meters to regulate their plants’ watering schedules.
The dumb cane (botanical name dieffenbachia amoena) is a hardy plant with large, droopy leaves. These visibly tall plants can grow up to six feet, making them ideal as floor plants or porch centerpieces. Their unique leaves feature dark-green borders and light-green veins, creating a beautiful contrast. They can also produce flowers in the right conditions.
Dumb cane plants prefer indirect bright light, and their soil should always remain moist.
Note: Dumb cane plants are very toxic to cats and dogs.
The ZZ plant (botanical name zamioculcas zamiifolia) is an attractive houseplant that can elevate your home or office decor. These elegant plants have dark-green leaves in intriguing spiral patterns. They’re drought-tolerant, easy to care for, and excellent air purifiers.
The ZZ plant thrives in low natural light from nearby windows. These plants can grow to two to three feet tall, making them suitable for desks, shelves, or hanging baskets.
Note: These plants are toxic when ingested. Be sure to wash your hands after handling your ZZ plant and keep it away from children and pets.
The Madagascar dragon tree plant is one of the easiest plants to keep alive indoors. This houseplant can grow up to eight feet tall, though it won’t reach this height for many years. It includes long vines that protrude from a central stem, creating a spiky, firework-like shape.
You should try to water your dragon tree once per week. However, many dragon tree owners report leaving their plants alone for more than six months without any noticeable changes to their conditions. While these low-sunlight plants prefer filtered light, they can also survive in a dark corner.
The spider plant is a popular houseplant similar to the snake plant. These plants have dark green leaves with light green centers. In the right conditions, they can also produce baby spider plants, known as “pups,” at the ends of their leaves.
Spider plants are shade-tolerant plants that are very easy to grow, requiring only the occasional watering and low-light conditions.Shop All