Indoor House Plants That Do Not Require Sunlight

All plants need some light to create the sugars they need to feed themselves. Some houseplants, however, dislike direct sunlight or even bright light and can survive with almost no sunlight. If your home is dark during the day, or if you just want to brighten a north-facing window or a poorly-lit hall or stairway, a low-light houseplant is best suited to your needs.

Heart-Leaf Philodendron

Heart-leaf philodendrons are common houseplants because they like warmth and they tolerate poor light and inconsistent care. These plants fare best when they are never exposed to bright sunlight and if their soil is kept moderately moist, which is ideal for indoor gardeners who might tend to over-water their plants. Any potting soil works for philodendron and they are available in green-leafed and variegated varieties.

Cast Iron Plant

Just as the name implies, the cast iron plant can withstand all manner of conditions and neglect. They do well in low-light areas where they won't be disturbed much, and they require very little water. They will even do fine next to a heater or radiator. Cast iron plants have slow-growing, green blade-like spikes and can grow up to 3 feet tall. They like diluted fertilizer in the spring and summer, and don't tolerate drafts well.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreens are from Asia and don't tolerate drafts or cold temperatures. Bright light can fade the leaves, and high humidity can make the plants spotty. These plants have broad, tall, dark green leaves with streaks of white, silver, or cream. They flower in the summer and fruit with poisonous red berries. Chinese evergreens need to be kept consistently moist, and do well with a monthly feeding through spring and summer.

Boston Fern

Boston fern is a type of fern specifically adapted for indoor growing. They do best in a light humus soil, and they should be misted regularly because they prefer humid conditions. They don't do well in cold temperatures, so plants may need to be moved away from windows where winter temperatures may drop below 55 degrees F. Boston ferns can grow rather bushy, and they do better if older plants are divided in the spring.

Corn Plant

Corn plants have an interesting shape, much like a tree without branches. Their broad, deep-green leaves are streaked with yellow or white down the middle. These plants tends to get top-heavy so they do better in large pots, and they can grow up to 6 feet tall. Corn plants can thrive in any light except bright or direct sunlight, and they won't suffer from irregular watering, especially in winter. From spring to fall, corn plants needs a monthly feeding of diluted fertilizer.

Keywords: low-light houseplants, shade tolerant houseplants, indoor plants

About this Author

Sarah Metzker Erdemir is an expat writer and ESL teacher living in Istanbul since 2002. A fiction writer for more than 25 years, she began freelance writing and editing in 2000. Ms. Metzker Erdemir holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Romance languages and linguistics as well as a TESOL Master of Arts degree. She has written articles for eHow, Garden Guides, and ConnectEd.