The Best 10 Plants That Don’t Need Sun

Written by Em Casalena
Updated: July 17, 2023
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Finding the ideal plants for your space can be difficult because more and more people want to enliven their indoor and outdoor areas, but may lack very much natural sunlight in their spaces. Plants that don’t require a ton of sunlight could be the best choice for indoor spaces without a ton of natural sunlight, as well as outdoor spaces that tend to be a bit cloudy.

It’s worth noting that all plants need sunlight in some regard. However, there are many plants that don’t require much sun or do well with artificial light. When it comes down to it, some plants require a lot of sun, while some species don’t need much. If you live in a shady place or a windowless apartment but still crave greenery, here are the 10 best plants that don’t need sun!

10 Plants That Don't Need Sun
These pretty houseplants don’t need much sun and are considered to be easy to care for.

1. Bromeliads

Bromeliads are classified as bromeliaceae, a family of flowering tropical plants that have upwards of 3,700 different species. Shaded environments are preferred by tropical bromeliads in their natural habitat. And because of this, they may thrive in low light, particularly plants from the vrieseas or guzmania genera. However, they also need a greater degree of humidity, so you should water them once a week and keep the soil wet but not drenched.

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For these species, pick a potting mix with good drainage. These plants can easily adjust to a variety of climates. The ideal temperature range is between 70 and 90 degrees F during the day and 50 to 65 degrees F at night. The bloom of a bromeliad is a lovely addition to its amazing foliage, but it only blooms once in its lifetime.

Carnivorous Plants: Brocchinia reducta

Bromeliads (pictured) come in many varieties and require little sunlight.

©demamiel62/Shutterstock.com

2. Dragon Tree

Dragon trees are classified as dracaena fragrans. Because it can thrive in low light, this plant may be grown in almost any place. But occasionally, a shortage of light might impact a plant’s color and rate of development. Additionally, Dragon trees use less water in areas with little light. Examining the topsoil before watering is the recommended course of action. It requires water if it is dry. Loamy soil that drains well will promote the plant’s growth.

Maintain a temperature range of 70 to 80 degrees F. Additionally, this plant like dampness, so spray it occasionally if the air is dry. It’s interesting to note that this plant takes seven to fifteen years to bloom.

dragon tree

The dragon tree plant (pictured) is a great low-light plant, but a significant lack of light can impact its foliage color.

©Grumpy Cow Studios/Shutterstock.com

3. Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen plants are classified as aglaonema commutatum. Chinese evergreen plants are among the numerous indoor plants that don’t require sunshine and are simple to nurture. If you’re new to caring for houseplants, many people advise starting with this plant. Older Chinese evergreens have blossoms with a calla lily-like appearance that look best on the floor close to furniture and in the home’s empty areas. It’s fortunate that these plants can thrive outdoors as well. Just ensure that you live in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12.

Depending on the hues of its leaves, the Chinese evergreen has particular sun requirements. Generally speaking, if your particular plant has darker leaves, it loves low light. Pink and orange varieties, which have leaves with lighter colors, demand mild light. Chinese evergreens should not be planted in direct sunshine, like many other plants on this list, to prevent burnt foliage.

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen)

Chinese evergreen plants (pictured) do best indoors but can be grown outdoors in hot and tropical hardiness zones.

©iStock.com/firn

4. Snake Plant

Snake plants are classified as dracaena trifasciata. The snake plant is well-liked for several reasons, including its beauty and effectiveness as an air cleaner. The snake plant often comes in handy for persons with little free time because it doesn’t require much care and doesn’t mind being neglected. It has a reputation for being quite adaptive, so you can put it even in the gloomiest nook and it will survive.

In the summer, water your snake plant every two weeks; in the winter, water it less frequently, once a month. Sandier soils should be considered, and well-drained, loose potting mixes should be used. Succulent plant potting mixtures are a wonderful option as well. The best temperature range is between 70 and 90 degrees F, whereas temperatures below 50 degrees F might be dangerous to the plant. This plant blooms seldom, but when it does, it boasts a profusion of delicate, little white flowers that develop in clusters.

Snake plant in pot

The snake plant (pictured) requires little sun and is great for purifying air.

©Olena758/Shutterstock.com

5. Cast Iron Plant

Cast iron plants are classified as aspidistra elatior. Due to its hardiness, the cast iron plant is sometimes referred to as the iron plant. It can withstand a broad range of circumstances, making it a top choice for busy plant owners and people with bad green fingers. Its deep green leaves are ideal for accentuating any interior corners in need of a touch of nature.

Cast iron plants are low-light plants that can thrive in practically any place in your home. Although they grow slowly, they are also quite difficult to kill. The sole requirement is to keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent scorching or browning of their leaves. Wipe off your cast iron plant’s leaves once a week with a moist cloth to keep the dust off if you want to give it some more attention. It will more readily absorb the sun’s energy and all of its nutrients when the leaves are clean, which is necessary for plants like the cast iron plant in low-light areas.

Aspidistra elatior or cast-iron-plant or bar room plant with spotted leaves in pot

Cast iron plants (pictured) grow very slowly, so killing them with low light is quite difficult.

©mizy/Shutterstock.com

6. Air Plants

Air plants are classified as tillandsia, a genus of 600 species of evergreen perennial plants that are considered epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants and objects instead of soil. We strongly suggest an air plant if you’re searching for a plant that takes practically little upkeep. These plants naturally grow atop other plants, such as the bird’s nest fern. However, they do not need soil or regular watering to flourish and may grow in their own pots. Since they don’t require soil, they are very well-liked plants that don’t need sun for terrariums and home décor because their roots can’t be harmed in any way.

Every two weeks or so, remove your air plant from its container or resting place and give it a five-minute bath in room-temperature water to hydrate it. That’s really all these plants need!

Tillandsia air plant

Air plants (pictured) are great for beginners because they require low light, no soil, and little water.

©iStock.com/Liudmila Chernetska

7. Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair ferns are classified as adiantum pedatum. The shade-loving, incredibly resilient maidenhair fern is a plant beloved by many. Under its native habitat, it grows in the shadow of trees, therefore you must create similar conditions indoors. This plant needs frequent watering to stay healthy. Never allow the soil to entirely dry out. This fragile fern requires potting soil that drains well and should be kept consistently wet.

The ideal temperature range for maidenhair ferns is above 70 degrees F since they prefer warmth and humidity. It is worth noting that these ferns only blossom in legend and folklore. They actually spread spores to reproduce in the real world. So, don’t expect any flowers from this plant. However, one will enjoy its beautiful lace-like foliage as both an indoor and outdoor plant.

American Maidenhair

Maidenhair ferns (pictured) thrive and boast the best foliage color when grown in shade.

©Willi Burkhardt/Shutterstock.com

8. Peace Lilies

Peace lilies are classified as spathiphyllum, a genus of 40 different flowering plants that are as a whole called “peace lilies.” The peace lily is the perfect indoor flower plant if you’re looking to buy something that doesn’t require sunshine! Due to its low-light tolerance, this plant will brighten up any gloomy space. Its white blossoms also have a soft, pleasant scent. This indoor plant appreciates routine watering. Once a week is sufficient, but in the winter it might be reduced to every two weeks.

For this plant, it is advised to use loose, rich potting soil containing loam, perlite, peat moss, and coir. It might be somewhat colder at night, but the ideal temperature range is between 68 and 85 degrees F during the day. Peace lilies in good health will thrill you with a beautiful bloom twice a year.

Peace lily closeup

Peace lilies (pictured) will bloom beautiful flowers even in low sunlight.

©armifello/Shutterstock.com

9. Prayer Plant

Prayer plants are classified as maranta leuconeura. The prayer plant is a tropical plant that thrives in dim lighting or light shade. The plant gets its name from the way its leaves, which are flat during the day, fold into a “prayer stance” at night. Unique leaves on prayer plants can give an aesthetically-pleasing vibe to your home or workplace. Outside, they may flourish in hardiness zones 11 and 12. These plants that don’t need sun have beautiful round, dark-green leaves with light-green centers and pinkish veins that resemble stripes.

Prayer plants like moist, well-draining soil that is warm during the growth season. Because they need a little more attention than the other plants discussed in this book, these tropical plants are best suited for experienced plant owners.

Exotic 'Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana' houseplant in basket pot on table in front of gray wall

The prayer plant (pictured) is better suited for indoor planting, as they only thrive in two hardiness zones in the United States.

©Firn/Shutterstock.com

10. ZZ Plant

ZZ plants are classified as zamioculcas zamiifolia. ZZ plants are unique in that they do well both in bright indirect light as well as rooms without windows. Try ZZ plants if you have a tendency to kill plants on a regular basis! This is one hard plant to kill. They may go months without drinking any water. Only water it once the substrate is totally dry. A gentle watering once a week is adequate in low-light conditions.

Choose well-draining potting mixtures since the ZZ plant needs proper drainage. The ideal substrates are those for succulents. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 70 degrees F in locations with average humidity. These plants are regarded as blooming ones, yet they hardly ever have flowers. And if they do, the bloom is very little and barely perceptible.

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia or ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant (pictured) does well in low light near windows or in adjacent rooms with little sunlight.

©iStock.com/Kseniia Soloveva

Summary of Best 10 Plants That Don’t Need Sun

PlantSunWater Requirements
1BromeliadsLow LightOnce a week – likes to be misted
2Dragon TreeLow lightOnly when dry – likes to be misted
3Chinese EvergreenLow lightOnce every seven-ten days
4Snake PlantLow lightEvery two weeks in summer – once a month during winter
5Cast Iron PlantLow lightCheck every ten days and water if top two inches of soil is dry
6Air PlantsLow lightGive it a 5-minute bath every two weeks
7Maidenhair FernLow lightWater frequently – can’t be allowed to dry out
8Peace LiliesLow lightEvery two weeks
9Prayer PlantLow lightThey need to be kept moist without overwatering – a tricky plant
10ZZ PlantLow lightWater only when sub-straight is dry – not too much

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Oliver Hoffman/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Em Casalena is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on plants, gardening, and sustainability. Em has been writing and researching about plants for nearly a decade and is a proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor. Em is a resident of Arizona and enjoys learning about eco-conscious living, thrifting at local shops, and caring for their Siamese cat Vladimir.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can plants survive without any sunlight?

A majority of plant species require sunlight to grow. However, some plants thrive in very indirect light or artificial light.

Are there ways to provide light to plants in very dark spaces?

Many plants thrive in shade. For very dark spaces, artificial grow lights can be used, or even a mirror to reflect light from a light source on the other side of the room.

What plant grows without sunlight?

All plants need sunlight. The only “plant” that does not require sunlight is the common mushroom, which is technically not a plant but a type of fungi.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/guzmania/
  2. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/aglaonema-commutatum/
  3. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/aspidistra-elatior/
  4. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/dracaena-fragrans/
  5. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/dracaena-trifasciata/
  6. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/zamioculcas-zamiifolia/
  7. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/adiantum-pedatum/
  8. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/spathiphyllum/
  9. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/maranta-leuconeura/
  10. NCSU Staff, Available here: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/tillandsia/