My blog site is primarily dedicated to growing tropical and subtropical plants, whether as a houseplant or in the garden

Top 4 Houseplants for a NO-Window Area!

Top 4 Houseplants for a NO-Window Area!

Yes, you CAN grow houseplants with just artificial light and NO window!  I have recommendations below and it is based off of past experience so I know it can be done, and it can be done successfully.  Be wary of some sites that you might read on the internet.  I have read so much gardening information that simply isn’t true.  There are so many sites that just regurgitate what other sites say and they don’t necessarily have any personal experience to back up the claims.  Anyone can post anything online these days.  Fake news is flourishing everywhere, and not just in politics!   Try and follow credible sources, and if needed, just experiment yourself and see if it works!  This is how we learn.  In all my blog posts, I speak almost exclusively from personal experience.  I have turned many thumbs green over the years.  No one is born with a green thumb, and a “green thumb” is a skill like anything else.  If you have a “knack” for something, it comes from experience, so get out there and garden!  There is no such thing as luck.  Luck comes from being persistent, and having an inquisitive nature.  If you don’t put in the time to experiment and have no passion to learn, I can’t do much for you 😀  You will have to live with your black thumb.

Anyway, let’s get to choosing some office plants that don’t need sunlight.  Choosing the RIGHT plant for an area with no window is key.  You can’t just plop any plant anywhere you want and expect it to thrive.  Choose the wrong one for the location, and it will languish and die a slow death!  Fortunately there are a few options.  There are more potential options than my list below, but I’m limiting it to 4 great choices because I have personal experience with growing the following with no windows and using just fluorescent ceiling lights.  Here are my top 4 desk plants that don’t need sunlight:

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo is probably the easiest plant that you can grow, ever.  See the picture below.

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They are normally sold growing in containers that are filled with only water and rocks.  Of course, you can grow them in soil too, but most of the time you’ll only see them growing in water for some reason.  Fine.  Simply keep the pot filled with water and you should be good to go for a very long time.  Distilled water is best (room temperature).  You can use tap water and this is really what I do most of the time but eventually you will get hard water deposits and this will start to build up and potentially harm the roots.  You’ll see a white crust start to form on the canes of the bamboo and on the inside of the pot and on the surface of the rocks.  You can scrape this off gently when it occurs.  If you use distilled water, you will avoid this issue.  Also, a lucky bamboo can survive for years with no fertilizer but it will not thrive.  It will eventually start to turn yellow and lose its vigor.  You’ll see posts everywhere saying they don’t need fertilizer, and this is just plain silly.  If you love lucky bamboo, just go online (amazon.com is my answer for everything) and search for lucky bamboo fertilizer and get yourself some.  You will thank me later.  Also, change the water completely every week or two to keep it fresh and clean.  Your lucky bamboo should thrive for years if you follow this tips.

Parlor Palm

So many different types of indoor palms have been a pain in the ass to grow indoors, except for this one!  The parlor palm (Chamaedora elegans) is one of my favorite indoor houseplants and definitely my favorite indoor palm by far.  It is fairly slow growing, but it can get to a nice size over several years.

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I’ve had this one, pictured above, in my home by a window for a long time.   However, I’ve also grown them successfully in window-less areas.  I’d suggest misting it daily if you remember because they like humidity, and also because it will help to deter spider mites. As a general rule for most plants, make sure the drainage in the pot is good, and water when the top of the soil starts to feel dry to the touch.  I’d like to tell you water once a week, and this is good for most plants, but it really depends on how warm or cold your area is, and other environmental conditions.  Just feel the surface of the soil with your finger, and if it’s dry, water it!  As far as fertilizing goes, I would use a fertilizer that is meant to apply every time you water, or use 1/4 strength fertilizer every time you water.  I use the liquid dropper bottles of all-purpose Miracle-Gro every time I water and follow the directions on the label.  If you are lucky, these will also bloom for you, but it’s doubtful in a window-less area.  I’ve had the one in the picture above bloom regularly but it is next to a window.  Regardless, they will make a beautiful foliage houseplant for window-less area.

Devil’s Ivy or “Pothos”

This is a fantastic plant and is pictured below from an old office of mine (with zero window), along with my lucky bamboo.  The devil’s ivy is the vine that you see rambling across my old office bookshelves.  At the point when I took that picture, the plant was still pretty small!  At one point, I tied clear fishing string on the walls and trained it up the walls!  This is one of the easiest plants you can grow.  Follow the same watering directions that I described under the parlor palm section and you should be good to go.  Don’t ever let this plant get bone dry, or the bottom leaves will start to yellow and fall off.  If you are attentive to proper watering, you’ll have a monster vine in no time.  I had regular random hallway walkers at my workplace comment at how shocked they were that my plants were doing so well with no window.  Remember, it’s about the right plant for the right place.  

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Peace Lily

Most of you are probably familiar with these.  You see them everywhere and they are great low light plants.  Mine have even flowered in windowless areas!  Follow similar watering directions as the devil’s ivy.  Peace lilies also despise their soil being bone dry.  When they dry out too much, you’ll notice that their leaves will start to droop.  If you notice this, water it immediately and they will perk back up!  There are smaller leaf varieties of this, and there are also ones with huge leaves.

The one pictured below is in my home several feet away from a window, and is thriving.  I’ve grown them successfully under just overhead ceiling lights at work in areas with no windows.  These plants will tend to get dusty because of the broad leaves, so periodically, take a damp paper towel and wipe the leaves off.  Your plant will thank you.  In addition, if you area lucky to have it bloom, some of the flowers are fragrant.

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Other Choices

If you don’t particularly jive with any of the plants above, the following should also do well for you in window-less areas:

  • Heart leaf philodendron (similar in habit to the devil’s ivy, but most of them are just a plain dark green instead of the beautiful mottled leaves of the devil’s ivy).
  • Cast iron plant.  As the name suggests, these are tough as nails!  I have one at home that my grandmother brought back from Italy decades ago, and she divided her plant up and gave me a piece.  They have large broad leaves and require frequent dusting of the leaves to keep them clean.
  • ZZ plant.  Another plant that’s as tough as nails.
  • Chinese evergreen.  Another very tough plant and great for low-light areas.

I could probably include more plants here, but I’ve included some of the tougher plants that actually will survive and do well in window-less areas.  Have fun and experiment! Houseplants will make any area more inviting and homey.  People are always drawn to my offices at work because of all my plants.  It really makes a big difference in your mood and well being.  Not to mention, they also purify your air!