Can Indoor Plants Survive Without Sunlight

Light is an essential element for plant survival and growth. So you are wondering: can indoor plants survive without sunlight!

In this article, I will answer this question. Plus I will tell you why plants need sunlight. And what to do if you don’t have enough sunlight indoor but still you want to grow plants.

But before diving deep into the detail I will put the answer for our main question as simple as this: can indoor plants survive without sunlight? An indoor plant can survive and grow well without sunlight if they get light from another source like grow light. But houseplants will not survive in complete darkness.

Keep reading to know why indoor plants need sunlight.

Why indoor plants need light to survive

Plants need light in order to perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process of turning water and carbon dioxide into food (sugar).

This process requires energy. And guess what! energy comes from sunlight. This is why all plants need light.

But their need for light intensity differs from a plant to another. If the plant does not get any kind of light it will drop its leaves and dies eventually.

What type of light indoor plants need in order to survive

The good thing about most houseplants is they don’t need direct sunlight. This is why they call them houseplants or indoor plants.

They need bright indirect sunlight. The brighter the light they get the more prosperous they became.

Most probably you are asking why houseplants don’t need direct sunlight! Most houseplants are native to the rainforests.

They grow in the rainforest ground and on other trees. The bigger and taller trees block the direct sunlight from reaching them.

They only get bright but indirect sunlight, such as orchids. The more the plant grows near to the rainforest ground the less light it needs.

But it still needs some kind of light to sustain itself and grow well. These plants grow there for thousands of years.

They adapt to such conditions. Most probably your indoor plant one of those species.

How to know my indoor plant light needs

The general rule is: most indoor plants need bright but indirect sunlight. Plants like orchids, bromeliads, succulents, pothos, arrowhead plant, lipstick plant, and croton.

Another general rule that can assist you is that the greener the indoor plant leaves are the less light they need.

But you need to do your research. Search for information regarding your specific indoor plant light requirements. Some indoor plants need little light.

What if I don’t have sunlight indoor and I want to grow plants

I said that plants need some kind of light in order to survive. This light can be either from the sun or from another electric source.

You can give your indoor plant the light they need in order to survive and thrive by installing grow light.

Grow light devices stimulates sunlight. And they can be an alternative for sunlight. In case you don’t have sunlight nor grow light at least choose an indoor plant that tolerates low light.

But remember even such plants need some kind of lighting, maybe low light but not complete darkness.

Below are some of the indoor plants that can survive in low light conditions:

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen is a great indoor plant because of its low maintenance requirements.

They are good for beginners, they don’t need much light in order to survive. But they will thrive in bright sunlight or under grow light.


Bromeliads are native to the rainforest. They grow either on other trees’ trunks or in the ground. Therefore they get low light in their native environment.

Such indoor plants will tolerate low light. But they will reach their genetic potential when they exposed to bright but indirect sunlight.


Dracena is an elegant indoor plant that interior designers love. It fits the modern interior design.

It is one of the most popular houseplants. It is also known for its ability to purify the air.

NASA classified dracaena as one of the most air-purifying houseplants. Besides its ability to purify the air and its beautiful and elegant look it also can tolerate low light conditions.

But it will thrive and do its best in an environment that gets bright but indirect sunlight.

In conclusion

In this article I hope I answered the question: “ can indoor plants survive without sunlight” Indoor plants need any kind of light in order to produce their food. Therefore indoor plants can survive without sunlight if you provided them with grow light.

Although some indoor plants can tolerate low light levels. For example, bromeliads, dracaena, and Chinese evergreen.

But even those plants and other houseplants will be in their best shape and thrive in bright indirect sunlight or under grow light made especially for houseplants.

And remember all indoor plants will not survive in complete darkness.

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