Pothos plants are commonly seen in homes around North America. These tropical plants are lush, green, and very pretty overall.
Many people like to keep them outdoors as well, but you need to live in a warm climate to own them. Unless you live in USDA hardiness zones nine through twelve, you won’t be able to keep them outside.
For these plants to grow strong they also need a certain amount of sunlight. How much sunlight do pothos plants need to thrive?
Continue reading to learn about pothos plants and their lighting needs. This guide will help you to get the best results so your pothos plant can look as beautiful as possible.
Do Pothos Need Light?
Yes, a pothos plant does need light to be able to grow properly. If you put a pothos plant in an environment with no light at all the plant isn’t going to remain healthy.
These plants aren’t easy to kill, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need sunlight. Light needs to be present or the plant won’t be able to photosynthesize.
You want to make sure that your pothos plant has some access to light. These plants can tolerate low light, but they might not be as healthy as they should be.
It’s not unusual for people to keep these plants in office environments. You’ll learn a bit more about this later.
For now, focus on the fact that pothos plants do need sunlight. If you want the plant to look healthy, it’s important to give it enough sun.
Do They Need Sunlight?
Technically, pothos plants can survive without sunlight. However, the plant does need some type of light source.
You can grow these plants indoors without exposing them to sunlight if you use LED grow lights. These are artificial light sources that can help plants to grow.
It’s popular for people to use lights like this in places where proper sunlight exposure won’t be possible. For example, you could use LED lights in an office cubicle to keep houseplants alive.
Pothos plants can thrive when exposed to the correct amount of LED light. You can also use certain types of fluorescent lights to grow these plants.
For some, this is going to be the most practical way to give the plants enough light indoors. If your home doesn’t have sunny windows that you can use, it might be good to look into buying some LED lights for the plants.
These lights are easy to find and they don’t cost too much money overall. It’ll be worthwhile for people who love keeping houseplants indoors to look into buying some lights when necessary.
How Much Light Do Pothos Need?
If you want your pothos to grow optimally, it’s best to expose the plant to bright sunlight. Sunlight is going to be the best thing for the plant, but you do need to make sure that you protect it.
If you put the plant in direct sunlight it might deal with issues such as scorching. Filtered sunlight or indirect sunlight will be perfect for these plants.
Do your best to give the pothos plant access to twelve hours of bright sunlight per day. Most experts say that twelve to fourteen hours of bright sunlight is ideal for pothos plants.
However, it should be noted that giving the plant less sun than this won’t be a big problem. It’s not unusual for these plants to thrive when exposed to as little as four hours of bright sunlight per day.
The more bright sunlight the plant gets the better. If possible, expose the plant to many hours of bright sunlight so it can grow strong.
It can still grow fine when exposed to fewer hours of bright sunlight. So long as the plant is getting enough light everything is going to be just fine.
Does Pothos Like Direct Sun?
Direct sunlight is a bit too harsh for pothos plants. These plants are grown in tropical settings so you might be surprised to hear this.
You shouldn’t be, though. This is because wild pothos plants grow underneath tree canopies.
They’re protected from the harshness of the sun by the trees. The sunlight is filtered through the tree canopy and it becomes less harsh as a result.
So it makes sense that these plants wouldn’t do well in direct sunlight. If you put a pothos plant in direct sunlight it’ll likely experience scorching issues.
The leaves will turn brown and the plant will generally look unhealthy. To prevent this, do your best to put the plant in a spot where it can receive indirect sunlight.
You can filter the sunlight using sheer curtains or you can position the plant a little bit away from a bright and sunny window. Either way, do your best to protect the plant from sunlight that is too harsh.
How to Tell When They’ve Gotten Too Much Sun
It’ll be pretty easy to tell when your pothos plant is getting too much sun. When looking at the plant you should be able to see that the leaves are scorched.
Scorching causes portions of the leaves to turn brown. They might even look a little bit brittle if the scorching is particularly bad.
When leaves get scorched it’ll cause damage and the leaves won’t go back to looking normal. If you see leaves that have been damaged and scorched, it’s best to simply prune them away.
It’s most common for the sunburn to appear on the variegated portions of the leaves. Generally, sunburns won’t heal and you’ll want to trim the plant.
Trimming the plant to promote new growth is the appropriate action to take. It’s also wise to take steps to keep the plant from getting too much sun in the future.
You might need to alter the position of the plant to keep it in a safer spot. Otherwise, you can take steps to filter the sunlight so that it will be easier for the plant to deal with.
Can Pothos Survive in Low Light?
Pothos plants can survive in low light, but they do need some light to continue to thrive. There are some pothos plants that are known to be better in low-light settings than others.
Typically, people like to put jade pothos plants in low-light environments. These plants seem to do well enough in such settings and you don’t have to worry about them as much as other pothos plants.
Since these plants are so hardy they can thrive even without bright light. They just might not grow as much or look as pretty without the bright sunlight.
So it isn’t the best situation for these plants, but it can be okay to put them in an area with low light. If you want to give the plant a better experience, it’s worth looking into buying artificial lights to help the plant grow.
You can still give the plant light even if the sunlight won’t reach your office. It doesn’t matter whether you’re keeping plants in a cubicle or if you have a traditional office environment.
Using LED lights to help grow your plants won’t take a lot of effort. You can buy what you need at department stores, garden centers, and online.
Can They Grow Without Sunlight?
Yes, a pothos plant can grow without sunlight. However, it won’t grow as much as it can if exposed to sunlight.
These plants are popular in offices because they can survive in environments with relatively little light. As mentioned earlier, some pothos varieties such as the jade pothos have a reputation for being particularly good in such settings.
Other pothos plants might lose their color if placed in environments with little to no sunlight. So you might want to pick out which pothos plant you want to buy based on how much sunlight exposure the plant will have.
Remember that you can grow pothos plants using artificial lighting, too. So there’s always the option of using LED lights if you want the pothos to grow stronger.
Signs of Not Enough Light
There are a number of different issues that can occur when pothos plants don’t get enough sunlight. It’s true that these plants can grow and live without much sunlight.
However, the plants might not look the best when they’re put in such environments. If you want your pothos to look the best that it can, it’s best to expose it to bright indirect sunlight.
When the plant isn’t getting much sunlight you might notice that it will look a bit strange. Often, pothos plants that aren’t getting enough light will show signs of leggy growth.
This is a term that means that the plant is growing to be tall and lanky. It’s reaching out to try to find sunlight and it isn’t going to look as bushy or as full as it should.
In some cases, the plant will look a bit weak. You’ll see that the leaves will be rather sparse and they won’t be bunched together.
Elongated stems will look a little bit strange on the plant. You might even see internodes that are extended.
If your plant is receiving sunlight you still might see some signs of it not getting enough light. For example, you might see that the plant is leaning in one direction.
When you don’t turn the plant it’ll start leaning in one direction. To avoid this issue, make sure to rotate the plant so that each side gets enough sunlight exposure.
Will They Die Without Light
It is indeed possible that a pothos plant will die if it’s kept in a dark room with absolutely no light. There’s a difference between being kept in a low-light setting and being kept in a room with no light whatsoever.
Many people have had pothos plants die on them due to being kept in rooms with no light for prolonged periods. If you want to keep pothos plants in good health, it’s not wise to expose them to these conditions.
Plants need light to be able to do what they need to do. Pothos plants can grow without much sunlight, but they will experience stunted growth or slow growth when they don’t get a lot of light.
The absence of light can lead to the eventual death of the plant. Do your best to give the pothos some type of light source so it can avoid such a fate.
Other Pothos Tips
Keeping a pothos plant healthy is about more than just giving it enough sunlight. You also need to make sure that it’s receiving enough water.
Remember that these plants can be harmed by receiving too much water and too little water. You need to monitor the condition of the soil to ensure that the plant is getting the right amount of water.
It’s common for pothos plants to need to be watered every one or two weeks. This largely depends on the weather and how fast the soil is drying out, though.
So you must check the soil condition with your fingers to see what’s going on. This will allow you to see that the soil has dried out so you can go ahead and water the plant.
Remember that pothos plants do best when potted in well-draining soil. You want the soil to do a good job of drying out between watering sessions.
Touch the soil with your fingers to see if the top two inches are dry. When the soil is dry, it’ll be time to give the plant a bit of water.
Remember this and your pothos plant will have a far easier time growing strong. This combined with giving the pothos plant enough sunlight will make a huge difference.
Now you know that pothos plants do best when exposed to bright sunlight. Direct sunlight is too harsh for these plants, though, and you need to give them filtered sunlight or indirect sunlight to keep them safe.
These plants can survive in environments with little light, but they might not grow as much. Also, it’s common for them to experience leggy growth.
The complete absence of light can kill a pothos plant over time. Do your best to give the plant ideal sunlight conditions or use artificial lighting to help the plants grow.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.