Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight?

All plants photosynthesize, it is how they manage to survive. That being said, can plants survive without sunlight? Is there any plant that can cope without sunshine?

There are, certainly, some plants that need less light than others. Let’s explore this question in more detail!

Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight?

Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight

This is a bit of a trick question, really. Plants CAN survive without sunlight – but they CANNOT survive without some form of light.

The light allows the plants to undergo photosynthesis, which is what helps them convert light into sugars to help them grow.

Without some form of light, plants cannot survive – if they do not have sunlight, they must have some form of artificial light in order to grow well.

There are some plants that are suited to lower light conditions than others; these include species like:

All other plants will need some light in order to survive – and even these varieties will need some form of light to keep them alive.

You can use special grow lamps to help plants grow if you live in a dark house with no natural sunlight.

Here is a short article explaining the types of plant that are adapted to survive without light – and why even these depend on the sun!

What Happens To A Plant Without Sunlight?

If a plant doesn’t have enough light, there are a few distinctive things that will happen to it.

  • It will turn pale. Without light, plants cannot produce chlorophyll, the pigment that makes the leaves green.
  • It will become “leggy”. This is because the plant will grow itself as far up as it can, to reach any available light.
  • The spaces between the leaves will lengthen. As the plant stretches to try to reach light, it puts more energy into reaching light than producing leaves.
  • Variegated leaves will turn solid colors. Instead of their pretty variations, leaves will turn to one solid color.
  • Flowers will not be produced. Without enough light, the plant cannot focus itself on reproducing.
  • It will not survive. It the worst case scenario, a plant without any light at all will just give up and die.

Try to keep your plants in their preferred light conditions – some like less light than others, so be sure you check before you  grow them.

All plants need SOME light, even those that don’t like direct sunlight, so remember that you cannot grow them in a cave!

How Long Can A Plant Live Without Sunlight?

If you are moving house, or something has happened to prevent your plants getting their usual dose of Vitamin D, don’t panic too much.

How long a plant can survive without sunlight depends on the plants’ individual light requirements, so this is something to look into.

A plant which generally requires low levels of light can go for between 12 and 20 days without sunlight.

Light loving plants can generally only survive for between 4 and 10 days without a direct source of light.

If you know that your plants have to survive for a while without sunlight and you are in a position to help them before they undergo this then you should do so!

Placing them under LED lights will help a little, as will ensuring that they are returned to their preferred levels of light as soon as you can.

You can bring your plants back from the brink after they have gone without light for a while, but you have to catch them before they actually give up and die.

How Do You Keep Plants Alive In A Dark House?

How Do You Keep Plants Alive In A Dark House

If your house is as dark as night even in the middle of the day, don’t despair! You can still keep plants alive.

  • Add a mirror. This not only makes your house look bigger and brighter, but it can maximize the amount of light reaching your plants.
  • LED lighting. Far from having to invest in expensive grow lamps, you can simply place LED bulbs in lamps and place your plants directly under them.
  • Hang your plants. This is an attractive way of growing plants, plus it can help them make the most of the available light.
  • Place them on windowsills. Assuming you have at least one window in your house, make the most of the light by placing the plants on it.
  • Go for low light requiring plants. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, as the saying goes! Choose plants that have low light requirements for your dark house.

As you can see, you don’t have to live in a greenhouse or have a beautiful conservatory in order to have beautiful houseplants.

Making the most of what light you have is a great way to keep you plants healthy and happy.

Can Plants Grow With LED Lights?

If you do not have any form of light at all in your house, it is still possible to grow healthy plants.

Using grow lamps, which contain the right spectrum of light that plants need, is a good way to maintain an indoor jungle even if you don’t have any windows!

You can invest in some lights which are specifically designed for growing plants under – these are the correct spectrum for plants to grow.

Grow lamps are widely available, relatively cheap to buy, and won’t cost too much to run, making them ideal for the indoor plant grower.

However, you can grow your plants under normal LED lights. LED lights are pretty much the same as grow lamps, just not as strong.

To make up for the reduction in lumens, you can simply move your LED lights closer to your plants.

This is a very simple, cheap and easy tip that can help your plants grow in even the darkest corners of your house!

Putting your plant close to an LED light can also really help them in the winter, when the sunlight is far less strong.

Here’s a great video, showing how you can grow plants in artificial light:

Sunlight – or light in some form – is essential fro growing healthy, happy plants. What do you do if you don’t have any light?

You follow the tips above, and make the most of whatever light you have coming in, that’s what!

2 thoughts on “Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight?”

    • Get it as near to opposite whatever light there is. This way it will reflect light back into the room, and at least some of it will get to your plants. You can also site it right behind your plants, so they get the most of any light there is. Plus, if you sit in the right place, it looks like you have two plants!


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