10 Hard-to-Kill Indoor Plants That Don't Need Sunlight to Thrive

All houseplants need some sunshine, but these low-light indoor plants require far less than most.

Maybe your living room doesn't get the natural light you'd like, or your office needs something green, but the closest thing to the sun is a flickering fluorescent light. That doesn't mean you can't have a plethora of pretty houseplants! There are plenty of great options for amazingly realistic fake plants, as well as beautiful real indoor houseplants that don't need sun (OK, all real plants need at least a little sunlight, but these can survive with less than most). To figure out the top low-light houseplants for these tricky spaces in our homes, we spoke to plant expert Phoebe Poole of Weatherlow Florals. Here are her picks for the best indoor plants for dark rooms.

01 of 10

Snake Plant

Plants That Don't Need Sunlight, Snake Plant
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Incredibly tolerant of neglect, snake plants do well tucked into that awkward corner that's far from a window. Their cool, modern pointed leaves with variegated colors look beautiful in a small pot or a large planter. "Water when the top layer of the soil is completely dry, which usually takes about two to three weeks," explains Poole.

02 of 10

Spider Plant

Low-Light Plant, Spider Plant
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You've probably seen this low-light hanging plant's green or green-and-white variegated leaves in many office settings. "Spider plants grow like weeds if you keep them trimmed, and you don't let them rot," she says. "Keep a saucer underneath a pot with drainage to avoid that."

You'll also want to pull dead bits and leaves out of the pot. "It's better to cut off a dying leaf or tendril because then the plant puts more energy into new growth instead of trying to keep that leaf alive."

03 of 10


Plants That Don't Need Sunlight, Pothos
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Going overboard trying to care for a pothos (or any of the several pothos varieties) can actually kill it—seriously. If they get too much real sunlight, it can do them in. "They almost want to be starved a little bit, so let them really dry out between waterings. I think one of the reasons they do so well in office settings is that people forget to water them!" says Poole. To check, stick a finger into the soil to tell if it's dry, or lift the pot to see how heavy it is; a plant that needs water will feel pretty light.

If your pothos is in need of a trim, you can create new little plants by placing the clippings in a cup of water on a windowsill until new roots start.

04 of 10

Maidenhair Fern

Plants That Don't Need Sunlight, Maidenhair Fern
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Beautiful but complicated to care for, ferns can always be a little persnickety. "The tricky thing here is that they can't be over or under-watered. These plants really want to be humid, not wet," says Poole. "You'll want to put them in a clay pot (they breathe better) and don't water it from the top. Instead, put small stones in the saucer underneath the pot. Place water directly in the saucer so that it's hitting just the bottom of the pot. It creates its own humidity dome around the plant." Keeping ferns in a room that gets some humidity, like a bathroom, is always a safe bet, too!

05 of 10


Plants That Don't Need Sunlight, Ivy
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Popular for outdoor gardens and the sides of buildings, ivy is also a great low-light indoor plant. There are tons of varieties of ivy; some are pure green, while others have white-and-green variegation. Their cascading waves of leaves are very tolerant of neglect and you only need to water them when they've dried out completely. You never want them to be soggy.

"While you don't need to trim them, if you want something bushier, you can cut them back. This is another plant that's easy to take cuttings from to grow new plants. Take the clippings and put them in a glass of water until roots form," says Poole.

06 of 10

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise low light plant
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Might we introduce you to the future replacement for your fiddle leaf fig plant? Lower maintenance than the previously mentioned greenery, a bird of paradise has a tropical look but doesn't need a ton of care. You want the soil to be damp, but never soggy, so make sure there's proper drainage in place. Water it when the soil on top looks dry.

This low-light indoor plant will take five or more years to bloom, but in the meantime, its oversized leaves will add a tropical vibe to your space.

07 of 10

Cast Iron Plant

Cast Iron Plant

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This aptly named plant is pretty much black thumb proof, if you're looking for indoor plants that don't need a lot of sun (or a lot of TLC). (In fact, you have to keep it out of direct sunlight.) It can tolerate a bit of neglect—just keep the plant's soil moist to keep it thriving.

08 of 10

Prayer Plant

Prayer plant

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The prayer plant is a tropical plant that needs low light to thrive—though it needs humidity and warmth (making it a perfect plant to live in your bathroom). You have to water this plant weekly to keep it happy.

09 of 10

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo Plant
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This easy-to-grow plant is thought to bring good luck to your home, where it thrives in low light. You can grow lucky bamboo in soil or directly in water—but you will need to ensure that it's watered regularly if you do keep it in soil.

Note: If you're a pet parent, you'll want to ensure the lucky bamboo is out of reach of your cats and dogs.

10 of 10

ZZ Plant

ZZ plant

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A ZZ plant doesn't need a lot of sun—you can even keep it in a room without any natural light. If you're the type who neglects plants, a ZZ plant can survive (and thrive) without water.

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