Whether you have a gloomy hallway that needs brightening or just live in an area that doesn’t get much sunlight in the winter, you’re probably craving a little brightness in your life. You can get that brightness by planting and growing flowers that grow in the dark!
Well, technically, most of these plants grow in low light conditions. That means they do need a little bit of light if you want them to flower beautifully. Plants need sunlight to grow, so even flowers that grow in the “dark” need a little light.
Will they grow in a pitch-black cupboard? Nope. But they will grow in a shady corner of your garden or indoors in a dark room, even when tucked away in the corner furthest from the window. In fact, many of the plants on our list will start to deteriorate if you place them in direct sunlight.
14 Unusual Flowers That Grow in The Dark
Here we have 14 plants that produce flowers and grow in dark places – both indoors and outdoors!
1. Peace Lily (Indoors)
These indoor plants are utter classics. Peace lilies, Spathiphyllum wallisii, have glossy dark green foliage and elegant white blooms. If you have a minimalist home or like the clean white walls and light wood furniture style typical of Scandinavian designers, a peace lily will fit right in.
Peace lilies like warm, humid, and low-light areas. Your bathroom is the perfect place for the peace lily. It will need watering regularly, but if the leaves turn yellow it’s a sign that you’re overwatering it. If the leaves turn brown, that often means it’s getting too much sunlight.
2. Deadnettle (Outdoors)
While the peace lily is more often an indoor plant, deadnettle is much happier outside. In fact, some gardeners may even recognize this plant as a weed. Deadnettle, Lamium maculatum, is a perennial plant that looks great growing in a flower bed to fill gaps or create a “mat” coverage. Deadnettle has dark green foliage and very pretty flowers during the summer. They’re often white, pink, or purple in color.
Deadnettle grows best in heavily, deep shaded areas as it doesn’t like direct sunlight. It is a very hardy plant too, so it’s good for gardens with tough growing conditions.
3. Moth Orchid (Indoors)
The moth orchid, Phalaenopsis, is an unusual orchid. According to the UK’s RHS, this orchid needs to be moved away from bright light in the summer! During the dark months, place it near a window (even if you don’t get much light), but in the summer, move it to a darker spot in your room.
This orchid is a really nice choice if you want flowers all year around. The pretty white blooms can last for a full 3 months before new flower spikes develop. To keep this plant happy, make sure you keep your house thermostat just below 20°C at night, and just above 20°C during the day.
4. Lungwort (Outdoors)
Lungwort is another outdoor plant that likes shaded areas, although unlike deadnettle, it’s best not placed under a tree. Instead, lungwort is happiest when it’s placed in a shaded area away from large trees that compete for water and soil space. If you have a wall or a fence that creates a deeply shaded and sheltered area in your garden, lungwort will be right at home there.
Lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis, blooms with small pink flowers in the springtime that quickly turn purple blue in color. Their foliage remains all year round and gives the plant a bushy appearance. Bees love this flowering plant too!
5. Spider Plant (Indoors)
The spider plant is becoming incredibly popular as a house plant, but did you know that it can flower too? Usually, the spindly limbs of the spider plant are bare. Occasionally they can flower, however. Look closely at the ends of the stems and you may just see some delicate white flowers.
To encourage your spider plant to bloom, make sure your plant is kept in indirect light. The darker spots in your room, away from the bright light of the window, are ideal for encouraging the spider plant to flower according to Darcy Larum, a landscape designer.
6. Snowdrop (Outdoors)
Galanthus nivalis, better known as the snowdrop, is a beautiful springtime flower that is native to forestland in Europe and Asia but can be grown around the world. It only grows in full shade areas, deep in the woods and beneath the thick sun-blocking branches of trees. Snowdrops flower even in these dark conditions!
Snowdrops produce delicate flowers that are as white as snow and bloom downwards like a water droplet. This flower only blooms in early spring when it breaks through cold, frozen ground. The snowdrop is one of our favorite flowers that just loves to grow in dark and cold conditions ready for springtime.
7. Silver Vase Plant (Indoors)
The silver vase plant, Aechmea fasciata, is a wonderfully exotic plant to grow in your home. It’s native to rainforests and produces a single big and bright flower. Usually, the silver vase plant grows halfway up a larger tree in the rainforest, so it’s accustomed to partial shade and never seeing direct sunlight.
Keep this plant in a partially shaded or shady area, rather than right by the window or deep in the shadows. Furthermore, while the silver vase plant is beautiful, it only flowers once… and it takes several years for the plant to reach flowering stage. This makes it even more exotic and a little bit more expensive than you’d expect!
8. Bellflower Varieties (Outdoors)
There are numerous types of bellflowers but the one we’re focusing on is the milky bellflower, Campanula lactiflora. If you can’t find this variety, don’t panic – most bellflowers love growing in shaded conditions. They are good bedding plants to go against walls and fences. The plant flowers in the summer and autumn months with bell-shaped flowers – usually purple or blue in color.
If you already have the garden covered with snowdrops or other spring/summer flowering plants, then bellflower will provide some color at the end of summer instead. As a bonus, they’re also great for bees and butterflies!
9. Purple Shamrock (Indoors)
The purple shamrock plant is super pretty even when it isn’t flowering. With dark purple leaves and dainty white flowers, the Oxalis triangularis is a gorgeous houseplant that lives happily in low light conditions during the darker months. During the summer, it will enjoy a bright room… but never put it in direct sunlight! If your home is too dark, you’ll see the leaves start to become thin and spindly.
Another interesting thing about this flowering plant that grows in the dark, is the leaves and flowers close up at nighttime when there’s no light at all. When the light returns during the day, they open up once again.
10. Bleeding Heart Plant (Outdoors)
This herbaceous perennial plant is just as romantic as it sounds. The bleeding heart plant, Lamprocapnos spectabilis, is an outdoor plant that loves the shade. It grows well in full shade conditions, as it’s native to woodland in Asia. Furthermore, the bleeding heart plant will disappear if it’s exposed to excess sun or heat. It will only grow and continue to thrive if it’s left in a cool, dark spot.
We really love the pretty heart-shaped pink flowers. They are a bit unusual and will definitely turn some heads. We just wish they flowered all year instead of during the springtime.
11. Lipstick Plant (Indoors)
There are many varieties of the lipstick plant, but the one we are focusing on is the Aeschynanthus radicans. This is a trailing plant that will look great in hanging macrame plant pots in your house! It’s from a tropical climate but can grow well in low-light conditions.
If you want to get an abundance of lipstick plant flowers, then move it to a spot that gets indirect light. But even in a darker corner, you should still see blooms in the spring and summer time. The only problem is, although they are beautiful the flowers have an odd aroma that’s not too pleasant!
12. Dusky Cranesbill (Outdoors)
Of all the cranesbill geranium varieties, the dusky cranesbill is one of our favorites for shady gardens. The Geranium phaem creates a great coverage of foliage with dusky purple flowers that float gracefully at the ends of long stems in the spring and summer months. They thrive in shaded conditions, so they look great beneath trees or in flower beds besides walls and fences.
Make sure you choose a cultivar of geranium that works well in the shade, as many varieties prefer full sun exposure and won’t grow (let alone flower) in the shaded areas of your garden.
13. Eternal Flame Plant (Indoors)
This is a really good low-light plant for your bathroom. The eternal flame plant, Calathea crocata, has bright yellow and orange flowers with sharp-shaped petals that resemble flames – giving the plant its name. This is yet another tropical plant that grew natively beneath the thick canopy of rainforest trees that blocked the light.
As such, the eternal flame plant is happiest in the mottled, indirect light of a shaded room. It does love humidity and warmth, so the bathroom is the best place for this flower that grows in the dark.
14. Hardy Cyclamen (Outdoors)
These are beautiful little flowers for your garden. They look lovely surrounding the base of trees or hidden in a sparse lawn – wherever there is a shady patch, they will fit right in. Just make sure you opt for a hardy and shade-loving variety of Cyclamen coum. They usually bloom with white, pink or red flowers amongst dark green foliage.
This is a really small plant that flowers in the dark. It won’t be tall or prominent, so if you’re looking for a statement flower then look elsewhere.
Flowers That Grow in The Dark: FAQs
Which Flowers Grow in Darkness?
Plants that naturally grow in the dark, e.g. in rainforest or woodland areas where there’s a canopy of branches blocking out the light above, are usually the ones that can produce flowers in low light conditions. The peace lily is one of the most well-known examples.
Can Plants Grow in the Dark?
The majority of plants need light to grow, even if it’s only a little bit of light. Growing plants in complete darkness is tricky but possible. This video from famed chef Marco Pierre White shows how rhubarb can be grown in the dark. It’s great for creating tasty rhubarb, but as you can see, it prevents beautiful foliage from forming. That’s the major downside of growing plants in the dark – they aren’t visually appealing!
Which Flowers Grow at Night?
Most flowers develop slowly. Then they bloom during the day and close up at night. But there are some exceptions. The most well-known is night-blooming jasmine, Cestrum nocturnum, which only opens its pretty white flowers during the night.
What is the Best Indoor Plant for a Dark Room?
If we had to select just one indoor house plant that flowers in dark areas, it would have to be the peace lily. Of all the plants we’ve listed, they are one of the easiest to get your hands on and they can be maintained easily too.
How Do Plants Survive in the Dark?
Plants have adapted to grow in low-light and dark conditions. Typically, these plants have very wide and flat leaves with a waxy seal, so they can capture as much light as possible and retain as much water as possible. Other plants may have adapted by growing taller so they can break through a tree canopy to reach the sunlight, for example.