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Do Indoor Plants Need Sunlight? (With 25 Examples)

Lighting is an essential need for all indoor plants. While some plants can do well in low lighting conditions, other plants need bright indirect sunlight. But how important is sunlight for the growth of your indoor plants? How much light do these plants need? Let’s find out!

Indoor plants don’t need direct sunlight for survival. Most indoor plants can grow under indirect sunlight or even in low lighting conditions, provided the plant selection is made right. If your room doesn’t get enough natural lighting, you can use artificial lighting to supplement it.

As the water requirement of plants differ from each other, the same applies to their lighting requirement as well. If you put a low lighting plant into bright light, it is likely to get scorched.

On the contrary, the plants that need bright lighting will struggle to grow in low lighting conditions. Thus, it is crucial to understand your plant’s lighting requirements and provide them with appropriate lighting.



Importance of lighting for indoor plants

Before we go ahead and learn the lighting requirement of different plants, we need to understand why lighting is required in the first place.

Like all other plants, indoor plants also need light for the process of photosynthesis. Now, we already knew that right.

But as we get into the hobby and learn about all the fertilizer and nutrients, most people feel like these nutrients and fertilizer are the plant’s food. However, this is not true at all.

Indoor plants produce their own food by the process of photosynthesis by using light and gases from the environment. Thus, it is essential to have adequate lighting so that the plants can grow and proliferate.

Apart from that, lighting also helps dry out the soil, which is crucial, especially if you tend to overwater your plants.

Indoor plant lighting requirements

Lighting requirement
Plants NameLight RequiredPreferred spot
Rubber plantsMedium Light5-7 Feet away from window
PothosMedium-Bright LightNear south window filtered with sheer curtain
MonsteraBright Lighting3-5 Feet away from southern window
Snake plantsLow-Medium LightingLiving room, Study Table, Bathroom
Spider plantsMedium Lighting5-7 Feet away from window
DracaenaLow-Medium Lighting3-5 feet away from Eastern or western window
ZZ plantLow-Medium LightingLiving room, Study Table, Bathroom
IvyLow-Medium Lighting3-5 feet away from Eastern or western window
Peace lilyMedium-Bright Light5-7 Feet away from window
Money TreeMedium Light3-5 feet away from Eastern or western window
Lucky bambooLow-Medium LightingLiving room, Study room
Areca palmMedium-Bright LightLiving room, bedroom, near a window
AloeveraMedium-Bright LightA window sill
Bird’s Nest FernLow-Medium LightingBathroom, Living room
DaisiesBright LightingNear window sill
Wax begoniaMedium-Bright Light3-5 feet away from window
PhilodendronMedium-Bright Light3-5 feet away from window
PeperomiaBright Lighting3-5 feet away from window
FittoniaMedium-Bright Light5-7 Feet away from window
Club mossLow-Medium LightingBathroom, living room
Parlor palmLow lightingLiving room, Study room
CalatheaLow-Medium Lighting5-7 Feet away from window
Boston fernMedium-Bright Light3-5 feet away from window
Christmas cactusMedium-Bright LightNear window sill
Air plantBright LightingLiving room, Study room near window


Can indoor plants survive without sunlight?

Most indoor plants will need some sort of indirect sunlight to survive. Although some low light plants can do well in artificial light supplements, the growth will not be as good as natural lighting conditions.

Thus we can conclude that some indoor plants can survive without sunlight, but they will need a light supplement in the form of natural sunlight.

However, it would be best to avoid direct, intense sunlight because most indoor plants despise intense lighting, as it can lead to scorched leaves and burns.

What indoor plants don’t need sunlight?

All indoor plants will need some light daily to survive and grow. Whether you provide the light artificially or have a small window letting the natural light in, you will have to arrange some lighting source for your plants to survive.

But does that mean you can’t grow any plants in a room with little natural lighting? Absolutely not! A wide range of plants can grow in low lighting conditions or even with artificial light supplement. Some of these include:

ZZ plantChinese evergreenSome variety of DracaenaCast Iron PlantSilver queen
BromeliadsDracaenaEnglish IvyDumb caneParlor palm
Snake plantMaidenhair fernPeacock PlantPothosPrayer plant
Spider plantStaghorn FernSago palmMarimo Moss BallCalathea
Weeping Fig TreeWax PlantLucky bambooBird’s nest fernRed Aglaonema
Dragon treePeperomia ObtusfoliaClub mossArrowhead plant

How much sunlight does an indoor plant need?

On average, most indoor plants need at least 6-10 hours of sunlight daily. While some indoor flowering plants like peace lily need 10-12 hours of sunlight, other plants like ZZ and snake plant can still do well in 6-8 hours.

The plant’s lighting requirement also depends on whether the plant is a low light plant or a medium-bright light plant.

Most low light plants need a bare minimum of 6 hours of light for survival. Whereas most bright light plant needs 10-12 hours of lighting for any significant growth.

In most cases, a spot that gets at least 8 hours of lighting daily would be ideal for most indoor plants. If your plant gets less than that, you have to consider some sort of grow light to supplement the plant’s lighting needs.

Some people also end up using 24 hours grow light pack as they think it will give their plant an extra boost of growth. However, it might negatively affect the plant’s health as most plants also need 8-10 hours of darkness to rest.

Thus, you need to make sure you provide appropriate lighting to your plants. You must also understand that different plants have different lighting needs, and so you need to understand the same and provide each plant with the right kind of environment they need.

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How do you take care of indoor plants without sunlight?

If you don’t have any window in your room or the room doesn’t get enough sunlight, then does that mean you can’t have greenery in there?

That’s not true! It is possible to keep some plants even if the room doesn’t get any natural lighting, but you need to provide additional care to the plant. Some tips to keep in mind are:

  • Choose a plant that doesn’t need much sunlight, For example, Marimo Moss Ball, Calathea, etc.
  • Place the plant at the spot that gets the maximum amount of light.
  • Provide additional light supplements like grow lights, table lamps, floor lamps, etc.
  • Cycle the plant with a plant outside every month or so. For example, if you keep a ZZ plant in the room, then take that in a brighter spot and bring any other plant from outside to that room.
  • Limit the supply of water as the plant doesn’t have enough lighting, the water will not evaporate quickly, and as a result, overwatering might be a problem.
  • Try to keep the lights ON so that the plant can get some light to survive.
  • Last but not least, always make sure you transition the plant slowly into your room. If you bring a plant that was under bright lighting conditions in a nursery and move them into your room that is dark, then it is likely to wilt. Make sure you transition it slowly.

Also read: Why Do My Houseplants Keep Dying? (13 Common Problems)


Sources: University of Minnesota, David H. Trinklein, Horticulture State Specialist, The University of Georgia, The Royal Horticultural Society.

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