Can Plants Grow in Indirect Sunlight?

Many people keep their plants indoors without knowing their requirements for sunlight. However, every plant has different requirements for direct and indirect sunlight.

Can Plants Grow in Indirect Sunlight? Plants can grow in indirect sunlight as they have a good tolerance for growing in the absence of direct light. Many plants can grow under the partial or complete shade with almost 4 to 6 hours and 2 to 3 hours of exposure to sunlight. These include philodendron, spider plant, bromeliad, staghorn fern, parlor palm, ZZ plant, etc. You can add curtains to the window, place furniture, plant a tree, add a tint, and change the direction of the pot to block direct light from reaching the plant.

Many corners of a house are sun-deprived areas which provide a good place for the plants that can live in a shady area.

Some of these do not need sunshine, and their leaves can get damaged upon exposure to sun rays, so it is good to grow them in indirect light.

What does indirect sunlight mean?

It means the disruption in the path of sun rays by an object that can filter the rays before it reaches the target site.

Accordingly, their exposure to the sunlight that comes after passing from an object like a curtain or window is indirect light.

A bright room can be considered as a place with indirect sunlight that offers an appropriate point for the growth of plants.

They need a passive light source to get nourishment instead of harsh sun rays that can burn their leaves.

Is indirect sunlight the same as shade?

Different types of shades are there, including partial or complete shade, depending on the plant’s requirement for low or bright light exposure.

You can also consider an area as a shady area that provides exposure to sunlight for a different time duration.

A partial shade means the light exposure of almost 4 to 6 hours with protection from rays during midday, while a full shade means that it is present in sunlight for only 2 to 3 hours a day.

Moreover, a shady area that protects the leaves and flowers from bright rays of sun that can otherwise hit them directly can improve its growth rate.

Is it essential for plants to get indirect sunlight?

The requirement of light exposure depends on their types, as some indoor herbs and bushes need low light than outdoor trees, which require direct bright light or exposure to rays.

It is considered good to get an indirect energy source as it protects it from damage from the scorching sun when it reaches higher in the sky.

You can improve their ability to grow and bloom by getting the right light intensity so they can survive for a long.

They need only it to grow higher instead of direct sunlight. Therefore, a window can provide sufficient source to initiate photosynthesis and other processes.

What type of plants can grow in indirect sunlight?

Many plants can live in a dark or shady environment without getting direct sunlight to carry out their cellular processes.


It has a hardy structure with lively foliage that helps them survive under low light conditions.

Therefore, it can grow without proper maintenance and special care like fertilizers, water, and light.

You can observe the growth pattern to provide a light source when it becomes thin in a stem area.

Moreover, a lower number of leaves indicate that they need more energy to continue the development process.

The philodendron species can grow well under indirect light where the area is bright or shady.

Spider plant

It has skinny foliage, and the leaves look like spider legs. This is because it prefers to live under a bright area that is reaching its surface indirectly.

Moreover, they can survive without sunlight, but a combination of artificial and natural energy also works well for them.


It is commonly present in home gardens due to its resistance to survive under low light conditions.

This tropical plant is usually seen on the bookshelves or tables in the room as they can live without direct light exposure.

They can survive without a natural source, but excessive exposure can affect the leaves’ color as they begin to look pale or brown.

Staghorn Fern

You can get a staghorn fern or antelope ear to grow inside the home when searching for a houseplant that can live under low light.

It prefers to live under moist and natural or artificial light can affect its growth. You can place it anywhere where filtered rays can reach its leaves and other parts.

Parlor Palm

The presence of a parlor palm in a living room indicates affluence, and it has been in use since the Victorian era when they place it in the dining area to show their glory.

It can give a sophisticated look to your room. They do not have any particular requirements as they can live in low, medium, or under artificial light.

ZZ plant

It is known for its tough nature and lush green foliage. It can live under various environmental conditions that make it difficult to kill it.

The shiny or waxy leaves can fill any empty corner of a house and provides a relaxing and refreshing feel.

However, bright and direct light can damage the leaves resulting in loss of green color and curling.


Many interior designers suggest you put a Dracaena in a pot and place it on the floor as it is more prominent in size and looks like a small tree.

It can purify the air in the surroundings and show good tolerance. It can live under low to bright light but prefers an indirect source as it promotes growth.

English Ivy

It grows as vines on fences, allowing vines to reach higher on the walls. It loves to live under bright conditions as it improves the look of leaves.

Direct exposure to sun rays can damage the beauty of leaves, so you have to place their pots in shady spots.

Peacock plant

Its leaves are similar to peacock feathers, making them look appealing. It prefers low light to retain the beauty of foliage; otherwise, pale marks appear on its surface.

It requires a humid environment and shady areas to grow well and maintain the green shade of its leaves. Harsh rays can affect their growth pattern and lead to their death.

How do you provide indirect sunlight to plants?

There are many ways to block the sunlight from reaching the plant directly. For example, you can place furniture in front of it so that the sun rays reach the table or a chair directly.

Moreover, use a tint on windows that can keep Ultra Violet rays away from the greenery in your house and maintains their beauty.

Adding curtains on windows that are not too dark and thick but fine in texture to block the rays can provide a better shade.

You can keep them at a reasonable distance from a window so that the sun rays do not fall over it, and a glass reflection can protect them.

In the same way, you can bring changes in the outdoor area by growing a tree close to the window so that sunshine comes on the bigger tree directly and shifts a bright light inside.

Selecting the right direction is essential to protect it from hot rays like it can get direct exposure when you place it in a facing direction.

You can choose a western window or an eastern side where the partial light falls on the leaves at some part of the day.

However, look for a shady corner inside a home with no light but a bright shadow of the objects that can provide sufficient light for growth and development.

How do you know that plant needs indirect light?

It is not challenging to figure out their nature and whether it requires direct or indirect exposure to sunlight.

You can look at the label on the stem to help clarify their requirements. Likewise, they are marked with tags like low or bright light and partial or full shade.

These labels indicate that it can live under indirect light, and you can place it easily in indoor areas.

Moreover, physical changes like the browning of leaves, elongation, thin stem, and pale color indicate that you are not providing the right environment to the plant.

In addition, it begins to produce a lesser number of flowers, retarded or slow growth indicates that it needs more light, and you have to shift it under natural conditions for some hours.

What plants cannot survive in indirect sunlight?

Many plants need a direct light source to live a healthy life compared to Dracaena, and a few others prefer low light conditions.

Those requiring direct light include some citrus fruits and herbs like mint and rosemary. In addition, a few vegetables and succulents cannot live in a full shady area.

Furthermore, hibiscus, geraniums, desert roses, croton, and a wax plant can survive under low sources as it does not affect their photosynthetic processes.

Some other light-dependent types include ficus species, Yucca, and Norfolk Island pine.

Do flowering plants need direct sunlight?

The flowering plants need direct exposure to sunlight to bloom and have a good tolerance to survive on hot days.

Snapdragon and coneflower love to bloom under sunny spots and attract butterflies and bees due to their pleasant smell.

In addition, Euphorbia and geranium love the sunlight and prefer to expose themselves for 6 to 8 hours a day. The shady environment makes the stems of these sun-loving plants thin and leggy.

Therefore, they cannot bloom to their fullest when you do not provide them required sources.

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