20 Plants That Don’t Need Sun: Hard To Kill Plants (Flowers, Vegetables) Indoor

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | February 19, 2024

Woman standing next to a window with a plant not near the light is happy about plants that don't need sun and low light indoor plants on her table.

Adding plants to rooms without windows can seem futile, but did you know that there are many plants that don’t need sun to thrive?

It’s true. Some plants are hard to kill, and make perfect indoor (and outdoor) additions to areas that have limited sunlight.

This guide outlines 20 different plants that don’t need sun, delivering a world of breathtaking house decor and office plants that can flourish even if you go on vacation or simply forget about them.

These trees and plants are the most resilient of all houseplants; they don’t care about being deprived of TLC.

What Are Low Light Indoor Plants?

One of the main problems facing indoor gardeners is the fact that there is never enough sunlight, at least not as much as the outdoors.

Thankfully, there are plants that don’t need sun light and others that survive under a shade or under low light, which is perfect for indoor trees.

If you don’t want to risk it, or your room or office doesn’t have access to direct sunshine, you can go for special shade-tolerant plants and get artificial light as a viable substitute for sunlight.

4 Indoor Plants That Don’t Need Sun: House Plants That Don’t Need Sun

Truth be told, being a plant parent can sometimes be exhausting, especially when dealing with needy options that demand daily watering and sunlight access.

The following plants don’t require sunlight to thrive.

Graphics of indoor plants that don't need sun showing Cast Iron Plant Snake Plant, Prayer Plant, and ZZ Plant in pots inside a house.

You want some green in your space but are worried that you will kill your plant; instead of buying faux options, why don’t you try one in this list?

1. Cast Iron Plant

Probably one of the most forgiving and less demanding plants to use as indoor decor, Cast Iron is very independent. It can gladly live indoors with little or no access to direct sunlight and still grow its beautiful green leaves.

Cast Iron Plant in a large pot showing long green leaves with pointed tips.

(Image: frau-doktor13)

It is different from other trees because it is more likely to die due to overwatering.2 This is welcome news for you if you keep forgetting to water your plants and sadly dehydrate them to death.7

Closeup of Snake Plant in a pot showing leaves with dark green to light green colors.

(Image: hartono subagio14)

2. Snake Plant

If you want to redeem yourself, after failing severally, perhaps try the Snake Plant, one of the hardiest desert plants.

Growing in the harshest climatic conditions tells you that this tree can take whatever you throw at it, and will stay upright and sturdy, no matter how many times you unintentionally neglect it.

If you want to plant or buy similar plants, identification types of cacti chart will guide you in finding some of the most gorgeous succulent cacti that don’t care much about TLC.

3. Prayer Plant

The interesting part about this plant and the reason behind its name is that its leaves flatten during the daytime and fold up at night, giving off an aesthetic vibe to your space.

In addition to adding character and sprucing up your indoors, the advantage is that they don’t need a lot of sunlight, even though they are originally tropical plants.

Prayer Plant in a pot showing large leaves with dark green patches on leaves.

(Image: Jackie15)

Wide shot of Sunflower in a pot on the left side and ZZ plant in a pot on the right side with morning sun shining on the plants..

(Image: Reija Hirvonen16)

4. ZZ Plant

This plant dying in your care is nearly impossible, even when you have a damaging reputation when it comes to other plants. You can place it in a corner with indirect light, and it will still grow glossy green and luscious.

In fact, in a surprising twist, placing it in direct sunlight could kill it. It hates the sun’s powerful rays, and it shows by yellowing and curling leaves.

4 Outdoor Plants That Dont Need Sunlight

Having a garden that is shaded from the sun is not an excuse not to grow plants, flowers and vegetables.

Don’t let that hold you back.

Graphics of outdoor plants that don't need sun showing Lettuce, Hostas, Chard, and Philodendron in pots outside of the house.

If you love gardening, but are worried about your plants dying due to poor sunlight access, you will love that there are several outdoor plants that don’t need sun, that will work.

5. Lettuce

If you want to grow a kitchen garden in a shaded spot, the Lettuce will not disappoint. It would rather grow in the shade than under the punishing sun rays, and the best part is that you can have a steady vegetable supply.

You may also have to invest in a shade cloth to cover them when the sun angles directly above them.

Top shot of Lettuce in a yellow mini pot.

(Image: Hannes Kurth17)

Closeup of Hostas plant showing green leaves with yellow-green lining the edges.

(Image: MabelAmber18)

6. Hostas

Have you ever wanted to give your outdoors a tropical feel? Try planting the Hostas.

It comes in incredible species that look amazing as landscaping trees, and the best part is how they can survive even under shaded spots.1

Their colored tips make them pop out when growing alongside other plants, and it is an excellent choice if you want something a bit different.

7. Chard

A vegetable garden doesn’t have to be green and boring. You can switch it up by planting the Chard and letting the reddish ribs and stems give the space a fun multicolored look.

Forget about the spot not receiving enough sunlight because the leaves will still grow to their full, usable size, no doubt.

Closeup of Chard Plant situated on dirt showing stalks with large leaves.

(Image: Hans Linde19)

Close up of Philodendron species showing dark green and glossy leaves.

(Image: hartono subagio20)

8. Philodendron

You know this tree, or at least have seen it growing in indoor and outdoor spaces.8 It is pretty hard to miss, given the giant dark glossy leaves based on the species.

You can go for the tiny versions for indoor setups or go big when planting outdoors, and it helps you can also choose the climbing options that scale your wall or other outdoor trees.

4 Hanging Plants That Don’t Need Sun

Nothing adds more character to a space than hanging trees, and you can get as creative as you want with how and where to plant them. You can go as high as you can and let the cascading leaves and stems do the rest.

Graphics of hanging plants that don't need sun showing Photos, Boston Fern, Begonias, and Creeping Jenny in hanging pots on white and pink background.

The following are must-have hanging plants that are not particular about direct sunlight.

9. Pothos

Who doesn’t want to live with enchanting pothos hanging down the wall? If you are going for a glossy green vining plant, look no further because the pothos is one of the most famous versions in many homes.

Whether you want a plain old type or go crazy with the color and features, there are no limits when it comes to this plant.

Closeup of Photos Plant in a pot on top of a wooden surface.

(Image: Luisella Planeta21)

Closeup of Boston Fern Plant with minimal sunshine hitting its pinnate leaves.

(Image: Inna22)

10. Boston Fern

Magnificent is the right word to describe the Boston Fern. So grand is it that you can only plant it indoors if you have enough room for it.

Go for one if you are a lover of statement trees and the aesthetic effect of large dropping leaves.

11. Begonias

Beautiful doesn’t come close to describing Begonia; everybody loves them, and everyone wants them growing in their house. What is its favorite feature, you ask, besides growing even under low light?

Well, the plant also dabbles up as an edible tree, and who wouldn’t want that in their space?

Closeup of Begonia Plant showing pink flowers with yellow center.

(Image: Ralphs_Fotos23)

Closeup of Creeping Jenny showing leaves growing side by side from leaf stalks.

(Image: Forest and Kim Starr24)

 12. Creeping Jenny

The list of hanging indoor plants would be incomplete without the remarkable Creeping Jenny/Moneywort.

It is an unmistakable choice if you are looking for a striking ornamental tree with medium-sized leaves and beautiful flowers that revitalize any otherwise plain space.3

4 Small Plants That Don’t Need Sun

Are you sitting at your desk, not sure of what you are missing? The answer is a cute little desk plant.

But wait, what if you have a cramped space without windows? Will the plant really make it?

Graphics of small plants that don't need sun showing Lucky Bamboo, Maidenhair Fern, Spider Plant, and Anthurium in pots atop a wooden stand.

You will be shocked that there are elegant small plants that don’t need sun.

13. Lucky Bamboo

Feng shui is the way to go for modern decor, and Lucky Bamboo brings this out effortlessly. It has a dramatic look where its stalks intertwine like that of a money plant and has the same symbolic element attached.9

You can keep it on your desk to bring you luck as you stare at its elegant stalks while you work.

Closeup of Lucky Bamboo in a pot shaped into a heart.

(Image: Clyde Robinson25)

Closeup of Maindenhair Fern leaves showing rich green to yellow-green leaves.

(Image: SunShine_3026)

14. Maidenhair Fern

This cute tiny tree grows a foot or two and should be at the top of your list when looking for a low-light indoor plant.

Another plus to it is that it is low maintenance, besides its major selling point where it has tender fan-shaped leaves.

15. Spider Plant

You don’t want a simple boring tree. Why don’t you go for the Spider Plant? Instead of growing upwards, its shoots drape all over the planter, exactly how a spider looks with its extended legs.

It has a dramatic look and fit for you, especially if you love the aesthetics of plant leaves hovering over your desk.

Wide shot of Spider Plant in a white pot showing long leaves with white edges.

(Image: W.carter27)

Closeup of Anthurium Plant showing heart-shaped leaves and red heart-shaped spathe with white cylindrical flower with yellow tip in the middle of the spathe.

(Image: meineresterampe28)

16. Anthurium

There is no harm in adding a touch of color to your space, and what better way than adding the Anthurium?

It has red, white, or pink flowers and fits the bill as a tiny flowering plant for your desktop or house decor needs.6

4 Shrubs for Shade

Growing shrubs is an excellent idea before reality creeps in that your backyard or preferred spot is shaded.

You don’t have to panic at this realization because there are several workable options that don’t mind living under the shadows.

Graphics of shrubs for shade showing Hydrangeas, Paperplant, Bush Honeysuckle, and Boxwood in pots on a garden with lots of shade background.

(Boxwood Image: Raphael Brasileiro33)

Here are four shrubs that can grow well under shade.

17. Hydrangeas

You cannot fail to mention Hydrangeas under the best flowering shrubs for shade. Why, when they have a hypnotic beauty that would turn any home into a tropical paradise?

All they need is a little pruning, and they will grow in whatever shaded spot blissfully.

Closeup of Hydrangea Plant showing pastel pink flowers.

(Image: NoName_1329)

Closeup of Paperplant showing maple-like leaves and white flowers.

(Image: Dinkum30)

18. Paper Plant

It is understandable that you are tired of constantly raking up leaves falling from deciduous trees and finally want an evergreen shrub that stays lush all year long.

The Fatsia japonica is the answer to all your prayers, as one of the evergreen shrubs for shade that grows fast and needs very little maintenance.

19. Bush Honeysuckle

Look no further if you want small shrubs for shade. The Bush Honeysuckle is not demanding and happily grows planted in backyard corners while remaining relatively small.

A bonus is that it has striking flowers and rejuvenates wherever it is planted.

Closeup of Bush Honeysuckle that shows the yellowish-green leaves and red berry-like fruits.

(Image: _Alicja_31)

Wide shot of Boxwood Plant situated next to a pathway in a garden.

(Image: Marco_Kohlmann 32)

20. Boxwood

There is no way you can go wrong with the Boxwood. Deservingly, it is one of the best low maintenance shrubs for shade that is known far and wide for its exquisite beauty.

You can play around with the trimming to create unique shapes and make your landscaping the envy of the neighborhood.

How To Care for Shade Plants

Even if you may be the most forgetful plant parent, always bear in mind trees are living things and need a little care. It doesn’t matter whether they are tolerant species that can take any level of neglect; still, you should make an effort to provide the best growing conditions for plants that don’t need sun.


The exciting news for you is that the watering needs for plants that don’t need sun are pretty relaxed,10 unlike those of species like the maple tree. They stay shaded throughout the day, which means that they are shielded from the scorching sun, which is the main cause of dehydration.

If you are busy and rarely find time for watering, the best thing you can do for your trees is to invest in self watering planters. A mist for plants will also be a lifesaver to help keep your plants hydrated every single day.


Many plant owners forget that soil is one of the most crucial things to consider when growing shade plants. Getting that right means that your plants can grow more comfortably, even when deprived of other needs.

Always check that the soil is well-draining and the pH level is suitable based on the tree type, and lastly, avoid overwatering, else you will unknowingly promote root rot.


As you must have noticed by now, many indoor plants are tropical in nature. This only goes to show that they prefer warmer conditions, preferably levels of 65-75 degrees (F).5

It helps that this is easily achievable for indoor plants, but it may be a problem for outdoor shaded trees, particularly when winter strikes.

Planting Tips for Hard To Kill Plants

What owners appreciate about hard-to-kill plants is that they are easy to plant in comparison to other species. If you want to test the waters by planting your own, the following are the planting tips for plants that don’t need sun.

  • When planting a shade tree outdoors, and wanting to be sure that it has all the space it needs, you can start by digging a hole almost twice the size of the container it was planted in.
  • Even though it is hard to kill plants, you cannot ignore that the tree should also grow in a warm spot.
    Indoor setups prove more conducive for many owners because the temperatures are warmer. But if you must plant outdoors, consider planting during spring and completely avoid planting in winter.
  • A common mistake that you may have previously made is over or under-watering during planting. The soil should never stay extremely wet or dry because the plant will struggle to grow, which you want to avoid.
  • Most hard-to-kill plants don’t mind growing under shaded spots but would still love occasional direct sunlight but only if you don’t detect warning signs like discoloring leaves.
  • When picking a tree for planting, remember to do your due diligence first about its preferred growing conditions, from its soil pH to other particular requirements.

Pests of Shade Perennials

You may have done everything within your power to keep your plant alive, and it may come as a shock when you suddenly see withering and discolored leaves. This time, it is not your fault, only that the common pests of the plants that don’t need sun are to blame.11

Aphids are the most diabolical pests, hated by gardeners and plant lovers alike. Not only do they feed on the lush leaves of indoor and outdoor shade trees, but they also leave them curled and withered.

Scales are also infamous for leaving hideous bumps all over the plant.

As if that is not enough, the females also take advantage and lay numerous eggs all over the tree. Also, watch out for mealybugs, which, as you can tell from their name, are disgusting, icky soft-bodied insects that suck the life out of your plants.

Spider mites and thrips are also causes of concern for your tree because they feed on the succulent parts, leaving hideous spots that force you to sadly chop off the affected parts.

How To Stop Pests of Plants That Don’t Need Sun

Since you are dealing with delicate plants, you want to be very careful when dealing with pests; for instance, if visible like aphids, you can gently wash them off, which should basically do the trick.

Alternatively, if you are brave enough, you can manually remove the bugs using a Q-tip or scrape them off, but the last thing you want is to physically contact them.

Pesticides are also a foolproof method but if you are eco-conscious, you can opt for natural pest control for plants that don’t need sun where you spray the trees with a mixture of dish soap, neem oil, and garlic.

Diseases of Shade Plants

Unfortunately, even plants that are hard to kill are not immune from diseases, and it is usually not your fault when that happens because fungi can spread through the wind. The most lethal diseases that should cause panic are namely, powdery mildew, rust, and canker.

They are some of the most lethal that you likely have no hand in. They are fungi that spread between trees, and you can detect them through discolored leaves; keenly watch out for brown and white spots on the leaves and curling and withering.4

It doesn’t mean that all shade tree diseases are sporadic, sometimes the disease is a result of your own doing. For instance, overwatering is famously known to lead to root rot, which is probably one of the leading causes of the death of indoor plants.

How To Stop Shade Tree Diseases

It is normal to want to know how to stop plants that don’t need sun disease because you want to keep your plants alive at all costs. For starters, the best remedy when dealing with fungal infections is to chop off the affected parts to avoid spreading to the entire plant and other trees nearby.12

Applying fungicide may also help to some extent, but it doesn’t guarantee that the disease will not reoccur. If the case is severe and has extended to most parts of the tree, I hate to break it to you, but it means disposing of and destroying the entire plant for the well-being of the others.

From basic science knowledge, you know that the sun is one of the most vital elements that help plants grow. But what happens in the case of indoor plants that don’t have the luxury of full sunlight access, do they all wither and die?

It is good to know that some species can survive under little and indirect light. Therefore, you are free to place one in your dimly lit or windowless space without worrying that they are sunlight deprived.

You may not have a green thumb or have previously killed a few of your cherished plants, but there are plenty of plants that don’t need sun that you can try, both indoors and outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Plants That Don’t Need Sun

What Are the Best Features of Plants That Don’t Need Sun?

The upside of caring for plants that don’t need sun is that they are often resilient, and there is possibly no way that you can kill them. You can rest easy when dealing with them because they are not needy; there is no need to worry about forgetting about them.

What Flowers Grow in Shade?

Flowers that don’t need sun are produced specifically by trees that are shade-tolerant. They are not significantly different from the types of trees that grow under direct sunlight and bear the same features in terms of striking colors and fragrance in some cases.

What Are the Best Shade Flowers?

The best flowers that are tolerant to shade include the Hostas, Violas, Begonias, Primroses, Trilliums, Fuschias, Impatiens, Calendulas, Alyssums, Coral Bells, Astilbes, just to name a few.

Which Low Light Plants Are Easiest To Care For?

If you are going for the hardiest tree that you can never kill, look no further than desert plants, succulent ones in particular. They are genetically predisposed to handle the harshest living conditions and can survive on little sunlight and infrequent watering, which is ideal for any forgetful plant parent.


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16Reija Hirvonen. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-170253/>

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23Ralphs_Fotos. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-3547441/>

24Lysimachia nummularia Photo by Forest and Kim Starr / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Resized and Changed Format. From Wikimedia Commons <https://flic.kr/p/DeS2xj>

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