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17 Beautiful Plants That Grow In the Dark

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If you’ve been wondering about plants that grow in the dark, or at least without a whole lot of direct light, you’re in the right place!

Join me as we explore 17 beautiful plants that grow well in low-light conditions, without direct sunlight or artificial light, even in dark corners. These plants are smart choices for people who live in low-sunlight areas or other places that lack a lot of natural light.

Maybe a dim corner in your home could use some livening that only a plant can provide. Or perhaps you’re looking for a plant that can thrive in your zero-window office space. No direct sunlight is needed!

Whatever your reason, you’ll find that the following plants require very little light, and most of them are also rather low-maintenance, meaning that you don’t need a “green thumb” to care for them well.

Let’s not waste any more time here and begin reviewing these fabulous low-light plants.

Here we go!

17 Plants That Grow Well In the ‘Dark’

Before we begin, let’s clarify what ‘dark’ means.

Think about it like when you walk into a dark room. It doesn’t mean that there’s no light at all. It simply means that there’s no direct source of light shining on you. We’re not talking about a space so dark that you’re blinded by it and can see nothing, not even your own hand in front of your face.

According to National Geographic, “Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy in the form of sugar.” Most plants are photosynthetic, and, of course, all photosynthetic plants require some light to carry out photosynthesis.

Some plants, mainly parasitic ones, don’t use photosynthesis and, instead, steal their nutrients, water, and other vitals from other plants. Those are not the plants we are reviewing here.

We’re talking about photosynthetic plants that can grow and thrive when the sun isn’t shining directly through the window and brightening the room, and the interior lighting is not turned on.

That’s what dark means for the purposes of this article.

OK, now that we have that clear, let’s jump straight into the first plant: Arrowhead.

This is exciting!

1. Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium sp.)

Syngonium podophyllum plant,
A gorgeous Syngonium podophyllum

Arrowhead plants feature green leaves with cream, pink, or white accents. They do well growing alone or along with other plants, and they like moist soil, but not wet.

For everyone who likes big words, Syngonium is also commonly called Nephthytis, but it’s a lot easier to say arrowhead. These plants tend to vine out, but you can keep yours bushier by pruning them back. They only require low-to-medium indirect lighting to thrive.

2. Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

Many people call Asplenium nidus ‘bird’s nest fern’ because its new fronds are tightly curled and look like little birds’ eggs. It’s an elegant houseplant known for its light-green foliage, which, like kale (my fave power green), can be flat or crinkled, depending on the variety.

When you grow this plant indoors, ensure it’s in a high-humidity area, and keep the well-drained soil uniformly moist, but not soggy. Bird’s nest ferns can grow well with low-to-high indirect light.

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3. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)

Bromeliad plants are very popular worldwide, and they grow well in areas with just a little bit of indirect light.

However, if they go without sufficient lighting for too long, their leaves might start to fade in color, and become soft and floppy. You can put them outside so that they get a little indirect sunlight, but don’t put them in the direct afternoon sun because their leaves burn easily.

The best way to water bromeliads is with rainwater or distilled water but avoid tap water. In fact, avoid tap water altogether!

4. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Aspidistra elatior, the cast iron plant, is hearty and resilient, and it’s a plant that can stay healthy with less light than most others. It can even do well in heavily shaded areas and tolerates drought well.

This is a plant you do not need a green thumb to keep, even if you’re prone to forgetting to water it. You should know that if you want it to bloom, it will require more exposure to light. A single cast iron plant can be your household friend for decades, and ask very little of you in the meantime.

5. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

Like lucky bamboo, the Chinese evergreen plant, Aglaonema, is said to bless homes with increased fortune. It’s an ornamental plant available in many varieties, with the Silver Queen variety being one of the most popular because of its striking foliage patterns.

Chinese evergreens do well in low-to-medium indirect light and have grown throughout Asia for centuries. All that they need is a little bit of water and to avoid excessive exposure to cold temperatures or bright lights.

6. Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)

Pilea involucrata 'Norfolk' - one of the best plants that grow in the dark
Pilea involucrata ‘Norfolk’

Pilea involucrata, the friendship plant, aka panamiga, is very easy to grow and share with your family and friends, hence its name.

You have probably seen its oval-shaped, velvety leaves, which are dark green with light-green edges on top, and deep red on the undersides with hints of bronze. It’s not really a true lover of the dark though, as it does best with medium-to-high levels of indirect light.

Keep your friendship plant watered moderately, and crop the tips of its stems back to keep it compact and bushy.

7. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Hailing from French Polynesia, Epipremnum aureum, Golden Pothos, does best in low-to-medium-bright indirect light. Higher levels of indirect lighting tend to bring out more colors in this low-maintenance houseplant.

Allow the soil to dry about halfway before watering, and don’t water so much that the soil gets soggy. Golden Pothos is mildly toxic, so keep children and pets away. Otherwise, they’re awesome houseplants!!

8. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

Elevate your feng shui, and mesh better with your home’s natural energy with a bit of help from a lucky bamboo plant, Dracaena sanderiana!

This low-to-medium indirect light plant is perfect for that empty spot on your desk or bookshelf and requires very little human care.

Heck, it doesn’t even need dirt!

You can support it with glass marbles, or natural pebbles, and just give it some water periodically. People love the unpredictability of the stems, which twist, curl, and turn into unique natural designs.

9. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Like Golden Pothos, the peace lily, Spathiphyllum, is slightly poisonous, so keep children and pets away.

This low-light plant requires minimal illumination to thrive and can even stay alive indefinitely with no light whatsoever. However, it’ll need brighter indirect lighting if you want to enjoy its lovely white flowers and more colorful leaves. And remember to give peace lily plants adequate water, or their foliage will wither!

10. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) in pot for dark growing conditions

With its bulbous trunk, the ponytail palm plant, Beaucarnea recurvata, is a low-light succulent. It’s a slow-to-grow member of the Agave plant family, so it’s not really a palm.

It tolerates dry conditions very well and typically only requires water every two weeks or so. If you notice that its leaves are turning brown, pinch them off to encourage new growth. Otherwise, the ponytail palm requires very little care.

Plus, it can grow well in low-to-bright indirect light, so it’ll likely work anywhere you need it to.

11. Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Originally a Brazilian rainforest plant, Maranta leuconeura, the prayer plant, naturally prefers low levels of indirect sunshine. However, it also does very well indoors in low-to-bright indirect lighting.

The reason it’s called ‘prayer plant’ is because its leaves fold together vertically each evening and look like little green praying hands. Being from the rainforest, this plant likes high humidity and ample watering. But keep the soil moist, not soggy.

Keep it somewhere warm and safe, and it’ll provide beauty and enjoyment for many years. Amen!

12. Rope Plant (Hoya carnosa)

Rope plant hoya carnosa is a great plant that grows in the dark

The rope plant, Hoya carnosa, produces clusters of beautiful, fragrant flowers that look like star-filled constellations.

No green thumb?

That’s OK, because Hoya tolerates very little light, and even does well in drought conditions. It can survive weeks without water, so it’s OK even if you forget to hydrate it. Plus, it develops tightly curled leaves that envelop its stems, creating awesome, irregular ropelike textures.

However, if you want it to bloom, then be sure to place your Hoya somewhere with ample indirect light, and make sure it stays watered to a moist but not wet level.

13. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

The sago palm, Cycas revoluta, isn’t really a palm tree. It’s a cycad, which is an ancient tropical/subtropical plant that originated in warmer regions in southern China and parts of Japan.

Sagos develop long green fronds that resemble palm fronds, but they’re slow-growing and only produce about one frond annually. Cycas revoluta produces nuts, but it doesn’t make flowers or fruit.

It’s pretty tolerant of low indoor light but doesn’t complain about a couple of hours of warm morning sunshine or in the afternoon in a mostly shady spot. Oh, and it likes being thirsty, so let its soil dry out very well before watering gently.

14. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

SSSSSS. The snake plant, Sansevieria trifasciata, is also commonly called ‘mother-in-law’s tongue,’ and it’s about as hardy as a plant can be. Some people say snake plants are impossible to kill!

A native of western Africa, this plant develops long, upright leaves with yellow/silver stripes. Although it’s from Africa, it does well with low levels of indirect light, not needing to sit in the blazing sunshine for hours.

However, it’s OK to sit your snake plants outside in indirect sunshine for a few hours, as long as you don’t allow them to get too hot for too long. It’s also low-maintenance and requires little water.

15. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants, Chlorophytum comosum, produce little offsets that hang down like baby spiders on webs from the mother plant. These adaptable plants require little from humans, except they like it best in medium-to-high indirect light sources.

Be sure to keep this type of air-purifying plant in well-draining soil, and keep it moist but not wet, and they’ll help keep your interior air cleaner, plus add fun and beauty for decades to come.

16. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

houseplant Ficus benjamina, commonly known as weeping fig, benjamin fig or ficus tree

Stop crying, you daggone fig plant! Sorry.

The weeping fig plant, Ficus benjamina, can be tough to grow properly. However, when you learn what they need to thrive, they’ll reward you with beautiful flowers, drooping (weeping) branches, and rich green foliage.

Be aware that weeping fig trees are really trees, and when grown outdoors, they can reach heights over 100 feet!

Inside, these popular houseplants make awesome container plants and are typically cropped to maximize growth at under 6 feet tall. They can do well in low-to-bright indirect light, and thrive best when the top couple inches of their soil remains dry, so don’t overwater!

17. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Women (and men) go crazy about a sharp-dressed plant! Sorry again.

The ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia, may not care for some of the best classic rock music, but then again, who knows? Maybe it does!

One thing’s sure, though, it’s an extraordinary plant that does well in nearly all growing conditions, even if it goes for several weeks without water. So, dry soil isn’t an issue, within reason.

It has thick, tuberous roots that reserve the water and nutrients it needs to endure neglect or poor conditions. Keep your ZZ plants in low-to-medium indirect lighting, and ensure average humidity and warm temperatures, and this rockstar plant will keep you entertained for many years!

Where to Buy These Gorgeous Plants

  1. Bromeliad Live Indoor Flowering Plant, 12-Inches Tall
    $20.99 $19.85
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    02/15/2024 07:42 am GMT
  2. Syngonium 'Strawberry' (4" Pot) Live Indoor Plant
    $19.99
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    02/15/2024 07:41 am GMT
  3. Champion Bird's Nest Fern - Live Plant in a 4 " Pot - Asplenium Nidus 'Campio'
    $28.36
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    02/15/2024 07:42 am GMT
  4. Aspidistra Elatior 'Milky Way' - 6" from California Tropicals
    $35.00
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    02/15/2024 08:12 am GMT
  5. Chinese Evergreen - 6" from California Tropicals
    $19.99
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    02/15/2024 08:08 am GMT
  6. Live Pothos Plant, Easy Care Vining Live Indoor Houseplant, 8-Inches Tall
    $32.99 $26.65
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    02/15/2024 09:01 am GMT
  7. 9GreenBox - Set of 4 Lucky Bamboo Plants w/Ceramic Vase
    $16.99 ($4.25 / Count)
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    02/15/2024 09:11 am GMT
  8. Peace Lily Plant - Live Indoor Spathiphyllum (6" Pot)
    $25.95
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    02/15/2024 09:18 am GMT
  9. Ponytail Palm - Live Plant in 6 Inch Pot - Beaucarnea Recurvata
    $40.09
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    02/15/2024 09:42 am GMT
  10. Green Maranta leuconeura ‘Kerchoveana’ - 4'' from California Tropicals
    $20.00
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    02/15/2024 10:04 am GMT
  11. Hoya Carnosa - 6" from California Tropicals
    $17.99
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    02/15/2024 10:22 am GMT
  12. Sago Palm (Cycad) - 6" from California Tropicals
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  13. Live Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii Plant, Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, 10" Pot
    $42.53
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    02/15/2024 10:29 am GMT
  14. Bonnie Curly Spider Plant - Easy - Cleans The Air - 4" Pot - Grown by Hirt's Gardens
    $14.99
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    02/15/2024 10:34 am GMT
  15. Ficus Benjamina Weeping Fig - 4'' from California Tropicals
    $16.99
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    02/15/2024 10:35 am GMT
  16. ZZ Plant, Live Indoor Houseplant, 12-Inches Tall
    $18.99
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    02/15/2024 10:48 am GMT

Final Words

Well, there you have it, 17 excellent choices of indoor plants that grow in the dark. As long as these plants have at least some indirect lighting, they can live decade after decade, providing cleaner air, eternal beauty, and the timeless allure of nature inside your home, office, or any other interior space.

Remember that, with at least some of these plants, you’ll need to provide more indirect lighting or even place them outside for a couple of hours in the morning sunshine to encourage them to flower or produce fruit. Of course, they will still live long lives without this higher amount of lighting if you don’t care about flowering or fruiting.

Personally, I love all plants. Indoor plants, outdoor plants, or plants that live sometimes indoors and sometimes outdoors. Of course, I am an avid gardener, so I favor growing edible plants that I can eat! My wife takes care of all the indoor plants, so we have a nice blend of both types. More plants is better!

Thank you for reading along today, and I hope that you find the information useful, and that you continue developing your love of benevolent, beautiful, air-cleaning, PLANTS!

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