Do All Plants Need Sunlight?

The short answer to this question is that yes all plants need sunlight, unless you have a plant that doesn’t have chlorophyll or one that can get by without it. Sunlight, along with water and nutrients from soil, is what gives plants the energy they need to grow and flourish.

The process of photosynthesis allows plants to use energy from light and carbon dioxide in the air to make glucose (a simple sugar) and oxygen. The energy is absorbed by the chloroplast, a part of the plant’s cells that is essentially a green pigment that absorbs light and then excites electrons. The reaction makes the sugar and oxygen that are needed by the plant to survive.

Photosynthesis is a complex process that takes place inside the plant’s leaves, stems and roots. It is a vital process to the life of every living thing on earth, and it’s also the key to making sure that your houseplants thrive.

It’s important to know the light requirements of each plant before you bring them home, so you can choose a plant with needs that match your space. Some need direct sunlight; others thrive in indirect light conditions. Some plants are tolerant of light that’s filtered or diffused, so you can move them around as needed to ensure they have the proper amount of exposure to the sun.

“Direct” sunlight is the kind of natural sunlight that hits a plant directly from the sun, usually through a window. This is often the best type of lighting for indoors, though it can be filtered and diffused with curtains or blinds, so you need to check each plant’s requirements before you buy them to be sure they’ll grow well in your space.

Indirect sunlight is the kind of sunlight that’s filtered and diffused through sheer curtains or other materials that partially cover the path from your window to your plant. Ferns, ZZ plants and aroids are typically tolerant of this indirect light.

Some plants can survive with less than perfect sunlight, but they won’t thrive as well or bloom as much. Some of these low-light indoor plants, including cacti and succulents, will need special light bulbs or other artificial lights to compensate for the lack of sunshine they’ll receive in your home.

This is not a substitute for natural sunlight, but it can be an added bonus if you can’t provide enough natural sunlight to your plants.

You can also purchase supplemental indoor lighting designed to give your plants the heat and ultraviolet rays they need for healthy growth and development. These specialized lights have different styles and sizes that can be used in any room to create a brighter atmosphere for your plants.

In addition to allowing your plants the sunlight they need, be sure to water them properly, which helps them absorb and utilize that sun’s energy. A good time to water your plants is during the day when they are most active. They’ll thank you in the long run for it.