Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight: Everything You Need To Know

Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight: Everything You Need To Know

It can be very tempting to fill your home with numerous houseplants for their air-purifying benefits and aesthetics, especially with all the fascinating and lovely plants that are readily available today.

However, light can be a problem for both indoor and outdoor plants, and if your plants don’t get enough sunlight, you’ll soon run into problems.

To photosynthesize, which a plant needs in order to produce the energy it needs to survive, sunlight is needed. Without sunlight, a plant cannot grow because it cannot photosynthesize. Your plant’s exposure to sunlight may be the cause of any stress symptoms it displays.

If your plants aren’t doing well, check how much light they are getting and experiment with increasing or decreasing the amount of sunlight depending on the type of plant you are growing. No need to be concerned; we’ll walk you through it below.

Why Plants Need Sunlight

When it comes to growing happy, healthy houseplants, light is by far the most crucial factor. Although we often think of plants using fertilizer or nutrients from the soil as “food,” this isn’t the whole picture. Light is the main source of energy for plants.

They consume nutrients from the soil, but they also require food that can only be produced by sunlight. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert carbon dioxide from the air into organic compounds. Here is a reminder that you may recall from elementary school.

Chloroplasts are specialized cells that take in light during photosynthesis and transform it into energy in plant leaves. More chloroplasts are found in the thickly layered leaves of plants that prefer high light. Low-light-loving plants have thinner layers of fewer chloroplasts.

What Happens to Plants Without Sunlight?

Plants are unable to produce the food they need for energy without sunlight. The sugar, starch, or complex carbohydrates they have stored in their tissues allow them to survive for a while. But eventually, these supplies run out, and the plant perishes.

The amount of energy a plant has stored determines how long it can survive without sunlight. We can’t possibly measure this as indoor plant growers. However, most plants will starve to death within a few weeks of being light-starved, some even much sooner.

Do Plants Need Sunlight Or Just Light?

Due to its wide spectrum of light, sunlight is necessary for plants. Only the light spectrums that humans can see are typically produced by standard light bulbs.

Despite the fact that these appear to produce light that can grow plants, photosynthesis cannot take place without UV rays and other colors of the spectrum.

Special light bulbs that cover the entire light spectrum can be used to simulate sunlight (see below for the best options).

How to Create Sunlight Indoors for Plants

Although sunlight is necessary for a plant’s growth, it isn’t always possible for us to get sunlight indoors or in the fall and winter. In this situation, lights for indoor gardening may be used.

When extra lighting is required, full-spectrum LEDs are most frequently used today. Many compact indoor grow-light kits are user-friendly and designed for use at home.

Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight: Everything You Need To Know

How Much Sunlight Do Plants Need?

The variety of plants will determine how much light it requires. A minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sunlight are required for vegetables and other outdoor varieties. While plants can grow in less light, they typically don’t display the same traits as a plant grown in the necessary sunlight.

Some plants can grow with as little as 4-6 hours of sunlight per day if they don’t need more to produce energy.

How Long Can Plants Survive Without Sunlight?

There is a time limit on how long plants can go without sunlight. Without sunlight, a plant’s health will deteriorate over time in an exponential fashion.

After three or four days, a plant will typically start to exhibit symptoms of lack of sunlight. The health of the plant will deteriorate faster the longer it is exposed to darkness. A plant typically won’t survive more than a week or two without sunlight.

Do Seeds Need Light to Germinate?

While seeds may not be able to absorb sunlight, they can still feel its warmth. A seed may sprout in the absence of sunlight if the surrounding temperature is warm enough, but it won’t last very long.

A seed contains all of the needed “tools” to allow a seedling to begin its life. The plant’s cotyledons are its first leaves, which will start to take up sunlight and generate energy for the plant to grow.

A seed might sprout in the absence of light, but the seedling will perish once the cotyledons cannot find any.


Photosynthesis, which powers growth, depends on sunlight. A key factor in a plant’s success is making sure it gets enough sunlight and can photosynthesize efficiently.

You can make sure your plant gets what it needs to grow by knowing the variety you are growing, as well as its natural habitat and climate.