The urban population has seen significant growth as people move from rural and semi-urban areas to urban areas. This has also led to an increased need for living space. This, in turn, has resulted in a lot of high-rise building coming up in a short span of time.
With tightly packed houses and reducing green cover in cities, keeping indoor plants has become increasingly important. Indoor plants not only liven up the decor but also offer a wide range of health benefits.
Many of us don’t have the luxury of keeping indoor house plants and at the same time giving them adequate sunlight.
If you have a house where you don’t get a lot of natural sunlight, you can still keep a lot of indoor plants and benefit from it.
These are called shade-loving plants.
Before I tell you about these, let us understand the benefits of keeping indoor plants in our homes.
Benefits of Indoor House Plants
Keeping plants at home beautify our homes giving it a pleasant, cheerful atmosphere.
Indoor plants help clean pollutants in air found inside our home.
These indoor pollutants come from carpets, fibers, asbestos, smoke, dust, bacteria, fungi present indoors, different types of chemicals used in our homes etc. Apart from the indoor pollutants, there are additional outdoor sources such as vehicles, construction, industries that can pollute the air inside your homes.
Apart from purifying air, research has shown that indoor houseplants have a positive effect on our psychological thought process. It helps increase our reasoning, cognitive abilities, and improve our social contacts.
The results of the research showed people in presence of houseplants had increased self-esteem, improved sense of well being, a higher feeling of calm, relaxation and optimistic attitudes. They had improved concentration, memory, increased sense of stability.
Indoor plants also increase humidity thereby helps people with respiratory and breathing problems, common cold, sore throat, and cough.
How Can Indoor Plants Survive Without Sunlight?
Plants need light for photosynthesis (a process by which plants convert light energy into their food).
If you there is no sunlight, plants and still perform photosynthesis if they get the right spectral content and enough energy of light.
To explain it simply just let a jungle or a dark rainforest come to your mind. Deep inside the jungle where light gets blocked out by leaves and trees, all kinds of shade-loving plants grow that don’t require sunlight.
We just have to mimic the climate of the place the plant comes from. Once we take care of that, we create an ideal environment for indoor plants to grow even without the sunlight (or minimal sunlight).
7 Indoor Plants that Don’t Need Sunlight
Here are 7 indoor plants that can be grown indoors without sunlight (or with minimal sunlight).
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), is one of the best and easiest plants to grow.
The genus Aglaonema belongs to the family Araceae and comprises 21 species. All species are native to the humid and heavily shaded tropical forests of southeast Asia, northeast India, southern China, Indonesia, and New Guinea. It lives on the dark forest floor where they only occasionally receive sunlight
They are popular houseplants and ornamental plants for offices and shopping malls as they can be grown anywhere easily.
You can grow Chinese evergreen anywhere in your home. It can grow in low light as well as bright light spots. It doesn’t need natural sunlight.
Chinese evergreen thrives in places with fluorescent lights. One of the reasons for the Chinese Evergreen’s popularity is their ability to cope with lower light levels and long life.
High humidity is important for it to grow.
You can choose from different colors and shapes as thousands of Aglaonemas in different colors and shapes are grown today for indoor use.
This plant is able to withstand and survive abuse and neglect. Therefore, it’s an ideal houseplant for people who stay less at home.
The most important benefit is that it gives out high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, benzene or other toxins and removes more toxins as time passes.
It has also been grown as luck-bringing ornamental plants in Asia for centuries.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum Wwallisii)
Peace Lily is an indoor flowering plant. It is also known as the cobra plant.
Peace lilies are a very popular indoor plant. They are tropical, shade loving plant.
They are of Indian origin and thus are easy to cultivate in the moderate temperatures. The hooded flowers look quite beautiful. A part of the flower is a white hooded sheath (known as a spathe) and it resembles a white flag of surrender. Hence the name.
Peace Lilly requires little to no sunlight and are easy to grow indoors.
They also don’t need a lot of watering.
Peace Lilies prefer light partial shade. In fact, they grow very well in rooms with no windows at all.
NASA has put it on its list of “Top 10 household air cleaning indoor plant” as it cleans the indoor air of certain environmental contaminants, including benzene and formaldehyde.
This plant is known as “Mother-in-Law’s tongue” because of its shape and margin of leaves.
It is a tough plant as it can tolerate drought and neglect.
It is a shade loving plant and grows well in low light. In a good conducive environment, it can grow up to 5 feet tall.
It is a succulent that stores water in its leaves, so it doesn’t need to be watered daily. In fact, it grows better with less water than with more water.
It can stay in the same pot for years.
Snake plant is highly effective in removing toxins and chemicals from the air and in converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.
It removes four of the main five toxins found in indoor air namely – formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene/toluene, and benzene.
The best part is that it releases oxygen at night as well, which makes it a good fit for your bedroom.
ZZ plant Zamioculcas Zamiifolia
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia is native to East Africa, from Kenya to South Africa. It’s in the Arum family, the same plant family as Peace Lily.
It’s common names include common name – Zanzibar gem, ZZ plant, Zuzu plant, or Emerald Palm.
They are also a close relative of Chinese Evergreen.
It is one of the best and easiest houseplants to grow as well as one of the top 3 toughest indoor plants.
The leaf stems of ZZ plant arise from thick fleshy rhizomes that store water and nutrients. This underground reservoir helps the plant survive difficult times. It thrives in low light areas hence survives very well indoors and is a plant of warm tropicals.
ZZ reproduces in a unique way. It’s fallen leaflets can take root!
You don’t need to worry about pests as it’s a tropical plant and remains are pest free!
NASA found ZZ plants to be very effective at purifying the air by helping to eliminate air pollutants found indoors (xylene and toluene).
A study was released by the Department of Plant and Environmental Science from the University of Copenhagen. They studied a number of indoor plants and found that the ZZ plant was capable of removing significant amounts of xylene, toluene, benzene, and ethylbenzene from the indoor air.
They can grow quite tall and its leaves can be 40-60cms long.
Because of its dark green color, it absorbs light from even a minimal resource thus making it a very popular indoor houseplant.
It does not require a lot of care and is very easy to grow.
Because of its unique benefits, dutch nurseries located in South Africa propagated it in 1996 and from then on it is found indoors all over the globe.
Pothos (Money Plant)
The plant has a lot of common names – Money Plant, Golden pothos, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy, and taro vine.
It is also called devil’s vine or devil’s ivy because it is almost impossible to kill and it stays green even when kept in the dark.
They are native to the understory forest in the Solomon Islands.
It is commonly known as the money plant. The plant is called a money plant because its leaves resemble coins.
The pothos plant is a great start to indoor houseplants as growing them is very easy and undemanding.
They settle very well in all environments whether it be the bright light or low light.
They can be grown either in soil or in water. Any soil whether it is nutrient rich or poor will be fine. They are not fussy.
You will often find these as decorative displays in shopping centers, offices, and other public locations – largely because it requires little care and is also attractively leafy.
The plant is also efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene.
Money plant is also a good choice for the bedroom as it gives out oxygen even during the night.
The plant is sometimes used in aquariums. They are placed on top of the aquarium and allowed to grow roots in the water. This is good for both the plant and the aquarium as it absorbs many nitrates and uses them for growth.
Propagating money plant is extremely easy. It’s one of those plants you can just pinch a leaf and node from stick it in soil or water and leave it for some time, and soon you will have a new money plant growing there.
Dracaena sanderiana, also known as lucky bamboo is a native African species.
It is one of the most tolerant houseplants. They grow easily indoors and do not require everyday care.
It grows well in low light and grows very slowly. Lucky bamboo can survive in any indoor condition. They are grown in many different sizes and shapes.
Keeping lucky bamboo inside houses and business places are believed to bring happiness and prosperity, and this belief has promoted sales of lucky bamboo shoots in certain parts of Asia and the US. This also makes it a great gift for your loved ones and has especially found fans in office workers.
It can be grown in decorative planters or bowls filled with just rocks and water. The water doesn’t need to be changed every day – just once in a week along with mild rinsing of the plant.
It can also be planted in soil and grows quite well.
It also goes by a variety of names, such as goosefoot, arrowhead plant, and nephthytis
It is an excellent houseplant for low light.
It is native to tropical rainforests and grows well in high humidity.
As a houseplant, it is grown for its attractive leaves which changes shape as the leaves mature – from arrow shape to five-lobed form.
It can be grown as a potted or hanging plant.
A research from NASA has shown this plant as one of the best air purifying indoor plants.
Syngoniums absorb pollutants through their leaves, and the toxins go to the root zone where they are transformed into nutrients for the plant. These plants have been shown to reduce indoor pollutants – Volatile Organic Compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene.
They also reduce airborne microbes and increase humidity.
This is a tropical, slow-growing plant doesn’t require too much looking after and can tolerate neglect.
Tips on Handling These Indoor Plants
The reason some indoor plants can grow without sunlight is that they have evolved in the darkened rainforests of the world, below the canopy of the other plants.
So even if these plants get no direct sunlight or minimal sunlight, these can still thrive and liven up your indoors.
However, despite being indoors, these plants are likely to collect dust on them. And since these are devoid of occasional showers of rain, the dust may stay there for a long time. Dusty plants soon become stressed and unhealthy. If you clean the leaves, it will allow the plant to use the available light to photosynthesize (produce food) as well as they let plant breathe.
You can leave these indoor plants outside overnight during light rainy periods in your city. If you don’t get that opportunity, give them a light rinse with a water sprayer. You can also wipe the leaves with soapy water.
Another important thing to remember when caring about indoor plants is to have adequate draining. If you water without adequate draining, plants can die/drown in the water.
Adequate draining prevents the roots from rotting, allows the roots to access air, and keeps the plant healthy.
Tips on Getting Light Dependent Plants To Survive Indoors
By putting artificial lights (such as LED) you can bring the light-loving plants into your homes. Based on my research, you need to use blue LED for foliage and red LED for flowering plants.
Another trick is to create an angle by mirrors to reflect light to brighten up dark corners. This, of course, requires some amount of sunshine into our homes. So not a good option for houses with no sunlight.
Related Articles on Indoor Plants:
- 10 Benefits of Having Indoor Plants in your Home.
- 10 Best Indoor Flowering Plants.
- Top 10 Indoor Air Purifying Plants.
- 7 Indoor Water Plants that are Great to Keep and Easy to Maintain.
- Planning to Get Indoor Bamboo Plants? Here is what you need to know
- How to Grow Indoor plants and Keep them Alive.
- Best Indoor Palm Trees.
- How to Make and Use Cocopeat at Home