Can Houseplants Survive In The Dark?
Plants need light to produce energy and food; because of this, they cannot survive in complete darkness for long periods. However, certain houseplants can survive with little light or artificial light.
Plants use light for photosynthesis, a chemical reaction that breaks down carbon dioxide and water molecules, rearranging them to create glucose (sugar) and oxygen. The sugar is then broken down and used as energy to fuel the plant’s growth, and the oxygen is expelled as a byproduct.
The Best Indoor Plants To Grow In Low Light
These plants are one of the most adaptable houseplants available. They are named for their spiderettes, the offshoots that resemble spiders, that grow from the bottom of their long green leaves.
Spider plants can be grown in hanging baskets or as trailing plants, and should be watered regularly to prevent the soil from drying out. These plants can survive in less-than-ideal light conditions, including artificial light.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
These beautiful ornamental indoor plants are ideal for homes or offices because they can be grown in soil or water. Their most noticeable feature is their braided or sculptural stalk spotted with small green leaves.
Said to bring good luck and fortune to those who possess these plants, they are an excellent choice for houses with little natural light because they thrive in nearly full-shaded spaces. Be sure to keep them away from drafty areas in your home, though, as they do not like cooler weather, and keep them away from pets as they are slightly toxic.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia is a low-maintenance houseplant and one of the best low-light indoor plants available. It is also suitable for beginner plant parents, as it is virtually impossible to kill. Not only do they need little water, but they also push the low-light limit to the extreme. Technically, they can survive without any natural light, making them popular for office buildings.
Their shiny, broad, oval-shaped dark green leaves grow upward. Though they can survive with very little light, they do best in bright indirect light. These plants are drought tolerant, so you should let the soil dry out between waterings. Also, keep them away from kids and pets, as they are toxic.
Epipremnum aureum, also known as Pothos and devil’s ivy, can survive conditions that most others cannot, including very little light and a near-complete lack of water. They are very popular with neglectful houseplant lovers because they are durable and resilient.
With long, trailing vines that range from dark green to light green or even variegated versions with silver and white, these beautiful plants are incredibly easy to care for and require very little from their owner. However, they are toxic, so keep them away from pets.
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) or mother-in-law’s tongue is another low-maintenance, low-light houseplants. They do well in dry spells and can handle very little light, though too much shade can cause the variegated varieties to lose some of their markings.
These long-living plants can survive for decades, and their air-purifying qualities make them highly desired. While these tropical plants prefer partial shade, they can also tolerate very shady conditions. Be sure to avoid over-watering them, as this can lead to root rot, killing your plant.
These popular low-light indoor plants are tolerant of neglect and can survive under many conditions. However, one thing they do need is plenty of water. The shade-loving Spathiphyllum should be placed somewhere they will receive indirect sunlight.
Their beautiful dark green foliage and elegant white flowers add a burst of color to dark corners or your room. Keep them away from children and pets, as they are toxic.
These beautiful trailing plants boast dainty green leaves and are one of the best plants to keep in dark rooms. Their arrowhead-shaped greenery hangs in long vines, making it an excellent plant for hanging baskets in your living room or other rooms that do not get much light.
English ivy does best in indirect light and prefers cooler temperatures, so avoid direct sunlight if possible. They like high humidity, so mist them between waterings to keep them happy.
These easy care indoor plants give tropical jungle vibes. Philodendrons boast long green vines and heart-shaped leaves that light up any room.
Though they can handle low-light conditions, they prefer to receive bright indirect light. They will survive with little light but may become leggy and experience sparse foliage. Heartleaf philodendrons like to be watered every two weeks and enjoy regular pruning.
Be sure to repot when needed, as these plants are fast growers. They are toxic if ingested, so keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Aglaonema, commonly called Chinese evergreen, are great low-light indoor plants. Characterized by their glossy green and white variegated leaves growing from short stems, these plants are easy to care for and beautiful additions to any room.
These plants like medium light but can survive in lower light as well. If you have a variegated version, it will need bright indirect sunlight to produce its best color, but avoid direct sunlight as it can burn the foliage.
Keep the soil moist but not soaked. Allow the first two inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Also, keep this plant away from your pets, as they are toxic.
Also known by their common name, Swiss cheese plants, Monstera are popular indoor plants because they grow naturally in shady conditions. These plants are defined by their large, leathery leaves with notable perforations, loosely resembling palm fronds.
Though they do best with bright indirect light, they can survive in shadier conditions. However, avoid direct sunlight as it can burn their foliage. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When Monstera is grown in shady conditions you won’t have to water as often.
Looking for a few more low-light houseplant options? Consider these honorable mentions. While none of these are as tolerant of low-light conditions as the others on this list, you can get away with rotating these plants through various lighting conditions.
Bird’s nest fern
Calatheas (Prayer plant)
Cast iron plant
Some succulents (echeveria, lance aloe, panda plant, ox tongue, zebra haworthia)
Frequently Asked Questions
What plants are best in bathrooms with no light?
ZZ plants or snake plants do well in bathrooms with no light because they are resilient and easy to care for. ZZ plants do not care about humidity levels, so they would do well in a bathroom where people often shower, and the humidity levels can become high.
Do houseplants grow under artificial light?
Plants need light for photosynthesis, but it does not necessarily need sunlight. Pothos, peace lilies, and Philodendrons can all thrive under artificial lighting, making them popular in offices and homes with little natural light.
Do I have to use a grow light in rooms with no sun?
Grow lights are a substitute for natural sunlight, producing the right color spectrum for your plants to flourish. However, investing in a grow light is unnecessary if you want indoor plants to grow.
Many plants can survive with the artificial light that your home has, coming from lamps and lights throughout your home.
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