20 plants that are hard to kill and don’t need a lot of sunlight

20 plants that are hard to kill and don’t need a lot of sunlight

Maybe your living room doesn’t get the natural light you want, or your office needs something green, but the closest thing to the sun is a flickering fluorescent light. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a large number of beautiful houseplants! There are lots of great options for surprisingly realistic fake plants, as well as beautiful real houseplants that don’t need sun (well, all real plants need at least a little sunlight, but these plants can survive on less than most). To find out the best low-light houseplants for these difficult spaces in our homes, we spoke to plant expert Phoebe Ball from Weatherlow Florals. Here are her picks for the best indoor plants for dark rooms.

Snake plant

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Snake plants are incredibly tolerant of neglect, and are well tucked in that odd corner away from the window. Its gorgeous, modern, pointed leaves of variegated colors look beautiful in a small pot or large planter. “Water when the top layer of soil is completely dry, which usually takes about two to three weeks,” Paul explains.

Spider factory

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You may have seen the low-light green or green-and-white hanging leaves of this plant in many office settings. “Spider plants grow like weeds if you keep them trimmed and don’t let them rot,” she says. “Keep a saucer underneath a pot with drainage to avoid this.”

You will also need to pull dead parts and leaves from the pot. “It’s better to cut off a dead leaf or tendril because the plant then puts more energy into new growth rather than trying to keep that leaf alive.”


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Over-trying to care for a pothos plant (or any of the many pothos varieties) can actually kill it – seriously. If they get too much real sunlight, it can put them at risk. Forget to water them!” says Paul. To check, stick your finger into the soil to see if it’s dry, or lift the pot to see how heavy it is; a plant that needs water will feel too light.

If your pothos plants need pruning, you can create new plantlets by placing the cuttings in a cup of water on a windowsill until the new roots begin.

Maidenhair fern

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Beautiful but complicated to care for, ferns can always be a little annoying. “The tricky thing here is that it can’t be over-watered or under-watered,” says Paul. “These plants really want to be moist, not wet.” “You’ll want to place them in a clay pot (they breathe better) and don’t water from the top. Instead, place small rocks in the saucer at the bottom of the pot. Place the water directly in the saucer so it only hits the bottom of the pot.” It creates its own moisture dome around the plant.” Keeping ferns in a room that gets some humidity, like a bathroom, is always a safe bet, too!


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Popular on outdoor gardens and the sides of buildings, ivy is also a great low-light indoor plant. There are many types of ivy. Some are pure green, while others have white and green coloring. Its cascading waves of leaves are very tolerant of neglect and need only be watered when completely dry. You never want them to be soggy.

“Although you don’t need to prune it, if you want something bushier, you can cut it back. This is another plant that’s easy to take cuttings from to grow new plants. Take the cuttings and put them in a cup of water until roots form,” Paul says.

Bird of paradise

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Can we provide you with a future alternative for your fig plant? Lower maintenance than the previously mentioned greenery, the bird of paradise has a tropical appearance but doesn’t require as much care. You want the soil to be moist, but never saturated, so make sure there is adequate drainage in place. Water it when the soil on top seems dry.

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

Cast iron factory

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This aptly named plant is largely resistant to black thumb, if you’re looking for an indoor plant that doesn’t need a lot of sun (or a lot of TLC). (In fact, you should keep it out of direct sunlight.) It can handle a little neglect—just keep the plant’s soil moist to keep it thriving.

Prayer plant

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The prayer plant is a tropical plant that needs low light to thrive, although it does need humidity and warmth (making it an ideal plant to live in your bathroom). You should water this plant weekly to keep it happy.

Parlor Palm


If you want a palm tree where you don’t get a lot of sunlight, you’re in luck. This sweet palm will thrive in low-light situations, and is known to help purify the air (in addition to its cute appearance).

Lucky Bamboo


This easy-to-grow plant is believed to bring good luck to your home, as it thrives in low light. You can grow lucky bamboo in soil or directly in water, but you will need to make sure you water it regularly if you keep it in soil.

Note: If you are a pet parent, you will need to make sure the Lucky Bamboo is out of reach of your cats and dogs.

ZZ Factory

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The ZZ plant does not need a lot of sunlight, you can even keep it in a room without any natural light. If you’re the type to neglect plants, the ZZ plant can survive (and thrive) without water.


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It’s no surprise that one of the most popular plants of late is also one of the relatively easy to care for. They are wild, growing in the shade of larger tropical plants, so they are used to getting minimal light. It also loves a warm, humid environment, so it will perform great in bathrooms and other cozy places in your home.

Peace lily

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This favorite perennial houseplant thrives in low light and benign neglect—it only needs watering every few weeks, so it’s basically foolproof.

Note: This product is toxic to dogs and cats, so keep away from your pets.

Dragon tree

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This thorny tree is resistant to black thumb, as it can handle low light and minimal watering.

Wax plant

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Also known as hoya, the wax plant is regularly described as a wonderful low-maintenance plant – it can go weeks without watering when you’re on holiday (or just forget!). The thick, waxy leaves can retain water in times of drought.

Peperomia watermelon

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This lovely little plant can grow well in low light (or even artificial light) – and stay small if you’re limited on space, too.

Staghorn fern

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Staghorn ferns don’t need a lot of light — or even soil — to thrive. You can hang it on the wall if you run out of shelf space for all your plants.

Ponytail palm

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A fun and funky addition to your plant collection, the horsetail palm is proof that even palm trees can thrive in low-light conditions.

Money tree


The money tree is believed to bring good luck and prosperity wherever you place it. As a tropical plant, it should be kept moist (although not left in too much water). It can grow up to eight feet tall.

Heartliffe Philodendron


Philodendrons have become incredibly popular, and you won’t want to miss this trend if you’re dealing with low light. Philodendron Heart is one of the varieties that can thrive in low light conditions.

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