Hanging Plants That Don’t Need Sun


You love the look of hanging plants for your home or apartment, but you wish there was a way to grow them without sun. Is that even possible? We did a lot of digging to provide you the answer.

You can indeed grow the following indoor hanging plants without direct sunlight:

  • Maidenhair fern
  • Staghorn fern
  • Spider plant
  • Prayer plant
  • Pothos
  • Silver queen
  • Philodendron
  • Peperomia
  • Sword fern
  • Creeping fig
  • Asparagus fern
  • Fittonia
  • Anthurium
  • Rex begonia
  • Swiss cheese plant

In this article, we will talk a lot more about the plants listed above, giving you pointers on growing and hanging them and what kinds of lighting conditions they thrive in best. Keep reading, as you won’t want to miss it!


Hanging Indoor Plants That Grow Without Direct Sunlight

Maidenhair Fern

If you’re looking for an appealing indoor hanging plant that doesn’t require sunlight, start with ferns. The maidenhair fern also goes by the name the walking fern due to its impressive length when fully grown. Their fronds can extend more than seven inches if this plant is happy enough. It’s also known as Adiantum and belongs to the Pteridaceae family and the Vittariodeae subfamily, of which more than 250 fern species reside.

When growing maidenhair fern in your home or apartment, try to choose a hanging pot or container it will live in for quite a while. That’s because this indoor plant doesn’t like being repotted. You’ll also have to make sure you don’t hang it near any vents where air conditioning or heating comes out of, since the fern doesn’t grow well in dry air or low humidity. Instead, get it a pebble tray with water or mist it to keep its humidity levels up.

Minimal light works best for the maidenhair fern, but if you see the fronds have yellowed or aren’t growing, then give this houseplant more light.

Staghorn Fern

Speaking of ferns, let’s continue with another great pick for an indoor hanging plant. It’s the staghorn fern. Also referred to as the Platycerium, the staghorn fern belongs to the Polypodiaceae family, which includes 18 other ferns. The fronds grow long and curl out, and it’s for that reason this houseplant got its nickname. Some people call it the elkhorn fern as well.

You can give your hanging staghorn fern light, but move it out of direct sunlight. In fact, if you can place this plant beneath a tree or another plant that provides a canopy, that should give it enough light shade to grow optimally. Just make sure the fern isn’t too close to a window that gets hot; keep it at least 10 feet from these windows.

Some people hang staghorn ferns by chaining their root ball, adding S-hooks, and then attaching this to another chain. This works, but your plant might not grow optimally. Instead, it’s much better to use a galvanized metal basket when the plant is still small. Make sure the container you choose has eyelets you can attach chains to.

Spider Plant

We’ve discussed the spider plant on this blog before, but its versatility has led to it appearing on this list as well. The Chlorophytum comosum, as you may recall, has such other monikers as the ribbon plant, the spider ivy, St. Bernard’s lily, and the airplane plant. Don’t be misled; the spider plant isn’t an ivy. People just call it that because it has spiderettes, or little vine-like appendages that hang down. That’s one reason why growing the spider plant in a hanging basket is so satisfying.

Another reason you’ll love the spider plant? It’s super, duper versatile. Besides hanging it, you can also grow this indoor plant in a pot or basket. You can also use artificial light on the spider plant and it should be just fine. Dim, low light conditions also won’t affect it, and of course, it doesn’t require direct sunlight. Have fun with this one, as it certainly spruces up any home or apartment.

Prayer Plant

The prayer plant hails from the tropical forests of Brazil. It’s part of the Marantaceae family, which includes other flowering plants like it. The scientific name for the prayer plant is the Maranta leuconeura. Of course, since it’s on this list, you can grow the prayer plant inside your living room in a hanging basket.  

Keep that humidity up for the prayer plant. It also needs soil that drains well and stays moist. Avoid waterlogging the soil, as this can harm the indoor plant. When you do water the prayer plant, make sure you use warm water for the job. Once spring arrives, and until the fall, you have to get on a fertilization schedule, doing this on a two-week basis. An all-purpose fertilizer will work just fine.

Prayer plants like indirect bright light, although they can survive in low light. If you’ve noticed your prayer plants have spindly stems, that’s actually not a good thing. It’s a sign to put them in somewhat brighter conditions. A healthy prayer plant should have bright, vivid leaves and green stems.

Pothos

From devil’s ivy to golden pothos, the pothos plant is another favorite of this blog. That’s because the Epipremnum aureum is such a great plant to grow indoors. It looks awesome in a hanging planter, its vines stretching down from the ceiling. Given that in tropical jungles, the pothos can get as long as 40 feet, in the right conditions, you can see some serious growth as well.

You’ll find pothos really easy to grow, another part of their appeal. You can put a pothos in a water vase or leave the soil dry and it will do well either way. You don’t even necessarily have to use soil enriched with nutrients, but you should always try to, of course. To make it on this list, the pothos doesn’t need bright light. It can handle it (indirect sunlight only, please), but it also does okay in low light.  

Silver Queen

The beautiful silver queen or Aglaonema plant will win you over with its looks. Referred to as the painted drop tongue as well, this evergreen perennial has long, oval-shaped leaves with silver and dark green markings. In some cases, it can reach heights of 24 inches, so it certainly has a lot of growth potential. That makes it a beloved houseplant. The silver queen looks just as good growing in a pot as it does hanging from your home’s ceiling.

One reason the silver queen caught on is because growing it won’t prove too challenging. Even those with a fresh green thumb should find it easier than anticipated to manage this houseplant. It can withstand low light without dying, and you can feel free to move it to mid-light or even indirect bright light and face no negative consequences either.

Philodendron

Are you surprised to see the philodendron on this list? You shouldn’t be. A plant in the large Araceae family (you might remember it has nearly 500 species, so it’s quite a sizable family) philodendrons often sit in the corner of an office or apartment, brightening up the space. They can also grow in a hanging basket, breathing new life into any room.  

Not only do philodendrons tolerate low light growing conditions, but they prefer them. You’ll see the most growth by keeping your philodendron plant away from direct sun. You want to make sure you maintain the quality of the soil as well, preventing it from getting too dry or waterlogged. Instead, it should be moist throughout.

You may find yourself amazed by the hardiness of the philodendron, as many describe it as low-maintenance. If you want a stunning indoor plant that will make a big impact on friends and family, hang some philodendrons ASAP.

Peperomia

Peperomia is part of the Piperaceae or peppercorn family. They also go by the name radiator plants, which okay, maybe isn’t the best nickname ever. Their family has more than a thousand species of plants though, making it quite large. As its other moniker may have told you, it’s common to peperomia at home. It also happens to look great in a hanging basket.

When going to water your peperomia, make sure you feel the soil first. If it’s dry, then the plant needs water. If you can still feel some moisture, then you’re good. Peperomia also likes low light. When out in nature, these plants will find a tree canopy to grow under so they don’t get too much sun. Try to replicate similar conditions for your plant.

If you’re looking for a more interesting type of peperomia to grow, why not plant the watermelon peperomia? This lovely plant has light green and dark green stripes on the teardrop-shaped leaves that look very much like the exterior of a watermelon.

Sword Fern

We’re not quite done with ferns yet. Next, we’ve got the sword fern or Nephrolepis exaltata. This evergreen perennial plant is part of the Lomariopsidaceae family. On the lower end, the sword fern grows to about 16 inches tall, and in some instances, even up to more than 35 inches. Some of the longest sword ferns on record were 4.92 feet, which is amazing!

When growing a sword fern then, make sure the fronds have lots of room to grow. A hanging basket works especially well for these purposes. You will also have to gently turn the plant so all sides can grow evenly. Otherwise, don’t touch it. Also, like some of the other houseplants on this list, the sword fern prefers a lot of humidity. You should water it with soft tepid water, too.

Medium light won’t hurt a sword fern, but make sure you limit exposure to no more than five weeks at a time. Then it needs bright light, but keep it away from the sun’s direct rays. An artificial light should suffice in this case.

Creeping Fig

The climbing or creeping fig is indigenous to the United States (in its south-central and southeastern regions) and East Asia. Also known as the Ficus pumila, the creeping fig begins with leaves that are dark green in color. They’re also small with a leathery texture. As you tend to this houseplant, the leaves become thicker and bigger.

You will have to get into the habit of pruning, focusing your attention on trimming away the foliage that’s already matured. This provides room for the juvenile vines to sprout up. The creeping fig also favors moist soil that doesn’t get too wet. Otherwise, this houseplant can begin dying from root rot.

You can position your creeping fig in a corner of the room that doesn’t get much light, but give it at least a bit of bright light from time to time (not necessarily from the sun). You’ll know your creeping fig needs more light if you notice the leaves begin falling off. The plant will also stop its growing progress, inching along bit by bit.

Asparagus Fern

Sprenger’s asparagus or the asparagus fern is the last fern on this list that looks great in a hanging basket and doesn’t need sunlight. The Asparagus aethiopicus comes from South Africa’s Northern Provinces and Cape Provinces. While some people liken it to a weed, the asparagus fern is a pretty plant you can grow outdoors in a pot (or the ground) or indoors in a hanging basket. If you keep other plants in your home (which we’re sure you do), then give the asparagus fern a width of three feet and a height of four feet of its own space. This way, it doesn’t take over your other plants.

Keep the temperature of your living room or office at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for asparagus fern growth. While it will survive if temps get as low as 55 degrees, that’s not preferable for the long-term health of this plant. Speaking of its health, let’s get into the light conditions, shall we?

The asparagus plant likes dappled shade. This means you should let a bit of light in through holes and gaps, but not direct light and especially not bright sunlight.

Fittonia

Another great pick for an indoor plant you can hang is the fittonia. Part of the Acanthaceae family, the flowering plant calls Peru and other parts of the South American rainforest its home. This evergreen may have green leaves, but sometimes they also grow yellow, pink, dark red, and light purple. For that reason, many people favor it for use in a bottle garden or a terrarium.

Fittonia thrives in a more acidic soil with a pH between 3.0 and 5.0. The soil should also drain well. When caring for this houseplant, retain its soil moisture but don’t let it get too soaked. Indirect light suits the fittonia best, but make sure it’s bright. If you keep the plant in an environment that’s too dark, the color will drain from its veins and it will look sad and dull.

Smaller fittonia can grow between three and six inches while the bigger ones vary from 12 to 18 inches and sometimes even bigger! With some love and attention then, you can have a large, vibrant fittonia that’s a staple of your indoor garden.

Anthurium

If you do like color, then we think the anthurium will suit you well. Also known as the laceleaf, this genus has roughly a thousand different species, and all the plants flower. They belong to the Araceae family. The anthurium has stunning bright red flowers with long yellow growths. It’s no wonder people also call this plant the flamingo flower!

A hanging anthurium will get all your friends and family talking when they come over to your house. To care for this plant, make sure you use soil that drains. Otherwise, you might notice the foliage begins drooping. The tips of the leaves will also turn brown. The soil shouldn’t be moist too often, as the anthurium doesn’t prefer that.

Give this bright houseplant a good source of indirect light. Too little light will slow down the growth. Not only that, but the anthurium won’t sprout as many flowers, which is just heartbreaking.

Rex Begonia

For yet more houseplant color, we present to you the rex begonia or painted-leaf begonia. Others like to call this plant the fancy-leaf begonia, and it only takes one look at it to understand why. These green plants have purplish-red outlines as well as a large, eye-catching colorful patch in the center.

Your rex begonia needs quarter-strength liquid fertilizer each week and then half-strength fertilizer every other week. Like many of the other houseplants on this list, this one requires soil with good drainage. A humid environment will set up the rex begonia to grow. The colder it gets, the worse off this plant is, so watch the temperatures.

Don’t mist the rex begonia; just water when necessary. As for its lighting conditions, they’re good with indirect yet bright light like fluorescents. That’s not true of all begonias, though, so watch which one you choose!

Monstera A.K.A. Swiss Cheese Plant

Finally, we’ve got the Swiss cheese plant or Monstera deliciosa. This plant resembles a philodendron in more ways than one. Not only does it have the tropical-looking leaves, but you can also hang your swiss cheese plant at home. This flowering plant, which comes from southern Mexico, also grows in the Society Islands, Ascension Island, Seychelles, and Hawaii.

Okay, so why call it the swiss cheese plant? Well, that’s because the leaves have holes in them. This is perfectly normal, so don’t worry. Just make sure the leaves don’t get too dusty, and if they do, use a damp cloth to clean them. If you can feel dry soil about an inch deep, maybe two inches, then it’s time to water your Monstera. The soil should never become completely dry to the touch, but you shouldn’t overwater, either. In fact, this houseplant can live through mild drought conditions.

Low light won’t bother the swiss cheese plant much. That said, the more light you can shine on it, the faster its growth will become. Just make sure your light source isn’t direct sunlight, as that will most likely scorch those holey leaves.

Related Questions

Can you use a humidifier on a plant?

Lots of the plants on this list thrive in humidity. As we’ve discussed on this blog before, unless you want to sit around at home all day misting your plant, that’s not an effective means of providing humidity.

Can you use a humidifier for this purpose? Absolutely! Just make sure you’re controlling the humidity so it doesn’t get too hot. You may also want to keep a dehumidifier around if you overdo it on the heat.

How do you hang plants from the ceiling?

If you want to hang your houseplant from the ceiling, follow these steps:

  • Start by drilling a hole for your hook. If you live in an apartment, you can still do this, but be sure to patch over the hole before you move out!
  • Attach your hook to the hole you made. Many gardeners use swag hooks for this. These have a hook and a hinged clip. Push your hinged clip into the hole, pinching it so it connects to your threaded rod.
  • Test the hook by giving it a good pull. If it stays in place, then hang your plant on the hook side. You’re all done!

Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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