Pothos Light Needs: A Guide to Perfect Lighting

In this article, we’ll explore the types of light that pothos thrive in, as well as how to create the ideal lighting environment for your indoor pothos.

Plus, we’ll discuss the signs that indicate your photos aren’t getting enough light or are receiving too much. So, let’s get started and shed some light on this topic!

Understanding The Types of Light for Houseplant

Ideal Lighting For Pothos - Pothos Light Needs

Light is like food for plants, playing a crucial role in photosynthesis, the process by which they convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into energy.

Just like humans have dietary needs, different houseplants thrive under different lighting conditions. Understanding these variations is key to keeping your leafy friends happy and healthy.

During photosynthesis, light energy excites chlorophyll molecules within the plant’s leaves. This triggers a series of chemical reactions that ultimately produce glucose (sugar), the plant’s primary energy source.

Pros: Some plants, such as snake plants, cacti and succulents, thrive in full sun and need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Direct sunlight provides the highest intensity of light, promoting robust growth and vibrant colors in these sun-loving plants.

Cons: However, many houseplants cannot tolerate direct sunlight and may scorch if exposed to it for too long. It’s important to know the specific light requirements of your plants to avoid damaging them.

Pros: Bright indirect light is sunlight that’s filtered or reflected before reaching your plant, creating a softer glow. This type of light is ideal for a wide range of houseplants, as it provides the right balance of brightness without the risk of scorching.

Cons: While bright indirect light is suitable for most houseplants, some may still require more or less light depending on their individual needs. It’s important to monitor your plants’ response to ensure they are thriving in this lighting condition.

Pros: Medium indirect light is sunlight that’s further diffused, creating a milder brightness for your plants. This type of light is great for plants that prefer lower light levels or for areas in your home that receive less direct sunlight.

Cons: While medium indirect light is suitable for many houseplants, some may still require brighter or dimmer conditions. It’s important to consider the specific light requirements of each plant to ensure their optimal growth.

Pros: Low light is the least amount of light. Plants that require low light can survive in conditions with very little light, such as a north-facing window. These plants are perfect for areas in your home that receive minimal natural light.

Cons: While low-light plants can survive in low-light conditions, they may not thrive or grow as vigorously as plants in brighter light. It’s important to choose the right low-light plants and provide them with occasional indirect sunlight to support their growth.

Remember, when it comes to measuring light intensity, the unit used is lux. Lux is a measure of illuminance, or the amount of light that falls on a surface. Here is a general guideline for the lux levels associated with different light conditions:

Light TypeLux Range
Direct light10,000 lux or more
Bright indirect light5,000 – 10,000 lux
Medium indirect light1,000 – 5,000 lux
Low lightLess than 1,000 lux

It is important to identify the light requirements of your houseplants and to provide them with the right amount of light. If you are unsure about the light requirements of a particular plant, you can ask your local nursery or do some research online.

Ideal Lighting For Pothos

 If you’re wondering how to give your Pothos the best lighting conditions for thriving growth, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the ideal aspects of light intensity and duration to keep your Pothos happy and healthy!

Bright Indirect Light is the Way to Go!

What is Bright Indirect Light - Epichouseplants

Pothos plants absolutely adore bright indirect light. Picture a room with north-facing windows or a spot that receives filtered sunlight through sheer curtains. It’s like the perfect lighting for reading a book without straining your eyes. That’s the kind of light your Pothos craves!

While direct sunlight near a window might be a bit too intense, moving your Pothos a little further away will provide that filtered light it needs. And if you place your Pothos underneath sheer curtains, it’ll create a cozy and indirect light environment that your plant will absolutely adore.

Duration of Light Exposure

Now, let’s talk about how long your Pothos should bask in that lovely light. The ideal duration of light exposure can vary depending on factors like the season, plant maturity, and variety.

During active growth periods

Aim for 8-12 hours of bright indirect light. This mimics the long daylight hours in their natural tropical environment. As fall and winter roll in and daylight hours shorten, 6-8 hours of bright indirect light will still do the trick.

But if natural light is limited, don’t worry! You can always supplement with grow lights to keep your Pothos foliage vibrant and prevent any stretching.

Younger Pothos plants

Need a bit more light, around 10-12 hours, to ensure optimal growth and leaf development. On the other hand, older plants can tolerate slightly lower light levels, around 8-10 hours, without any major issues.

Author Note:

If you have a Pothos variety with stunning variegation, like the Golden Pothos, it’ll need a bit more light, around 8-10 hours, to maintain those gorgeous leaf patterns. But if you have a Pothos with solid green leaves, like the Jade Pothos, it can handle slightly less light, around 6-8 hours.

Signs Pothos Doesn’t Get Enough Light

If your pothos isn’t getting enough light, it might start showing some signs that it’s feeling a bit down. Keep an eye out for these clues:

Stretching outThe stems might get longer, and the leaves might spread out more as the plant reaches for more light.
Smaller leavesNew leaves might be smaller than the older ones.
Slow growthYour pothos might not be growing as quickly as usual, or it might even seem like it’s stopped growing altogether.
Fading colorThe leaves might lose their vibrant green color and start looking a bit pale or dull.
Loss of variegationIf you have a variegated pothos, the white or yellow parts of the leaves might start to fade or become less noticeable.
Yellowing and droopingThe lower leaves might turn yellow and droop down.

If you suspect your pothos needs more light, try these friendly tips:

  • Find a brighter spot: Look for a place with bright indirect light, like near a north-facing window or under sheer curtains.
  • Give it a spin: Rotate your plant regularly so that all sides get an even amount of light.
  • Consider grow lights: If natural light is limited, especially during the winter, grow lights can be a big help.
  • Feed it well: During the growing season, a balanced fertilizer can give your pothos the boost it needs, even in lower light conditions.

Signs Pothos Gets Too Much Light

On the other hand, if your pothos is getting too much light, it might start to show some signs of stress. Here’s what to look out for:

Brown patches and crispy edgesIf the leaves start developing dry, brown patches, it might be getting too much direct sunlight.
Yellowing and bleachingLeaves, especially near the veins, might turn yellow or lose their vibrant color due to sunburn.
Curling leavesThe leaves might start curling inwards or downwards to protect themselves from intense light.
Slower growthYour pothos might not be growing as quickly, or it might even seem like it’s stopped growing altogether due to stress from too much light.
Leaf dropThe plant might start shedding more leaves than usual, especially the damaged ones.
DrynessDespite regular watering, the leaves might appear dry and brittle due to increased water loss caused by too much sunlight.

If you think your pothos is getting too much light, here are some friendly suggestions:

  • Find a new spot: Move your plant to a place with bright indirect light instead of direct sunlight, like near east or west-facing windows filtered by sheer curtains.
  • Take it slow: If your plant has been in direct sunlight for a while, try to gradually get it used to lower light levels to avoid stressing it out further.
  • Keep an eye on it: Watch how your pothos responds to the changes and adjust its position if needed.

Choosing Best Spot with The Best Light For Pothos

So, you want to find the perfect spot with the best light for your lovely pothos plant? No worries, I’ve got you covered with some easy steps to help you out!

Step 1: Check Out Potential Locations

Step by Step To Train Pothos to Climb a Moss Pole - Pothos Climbing
  1. North-facing Window: This is a great option for your pothos as it provides consistent, bright indirect light all day long.
  2. East or west-facing Window: These are good choices too, just keep an eye on the afternoon sun, it can get a bit intense. You can use sheer curtains to filter the light if needed.
  3. South-facing Window: Try to avoid direct sunlight, especially during the peak hours. You can place your pothos a bit further away from the window or use something to filter the light significantly.

Step 2: Consider Other Spots

  1. Under sheer curtains: This can create a nice, diffused light that your pothos will love.
  2. A few feet away from a south-facing wall: Depending on your location, your pothos can receive some filtered afternoon light here.
  3. Sheltered outdoor areas: If you have a patio with shade from trees or filtered morning/late afternoon sun, that can work too.

Step 3: Keep an Eye Out and Make Adjustments

  1. Watch out for signs of too little or too much light (we’ve mentioned these in the previous responses).
  2. A north-facing window with bright indirect light is usually a safe bet.
  3. If you notice any signs of light stress, just move your plant to a different spot or use some grow lights to give it a little extra boost.
  4. Make sure to adjust the placement as needed to keep that consistent light exposure all year round.

Extra Tips:

  • Give your pothos a little spin every now and then to make sure it gets even light and grows nice and evenly.
  • During the winter months or in low-light situations, you can use some grow lights to keep your pothos happy.
  • Pothos are pretty adaptable, but giving them the best light possible will really make them shine and keep them healthy and beautiful.

Artificial Light For Growing Pothos Indoor

Artificial Light For Growing Pothos Indoor - Pothos Light Needs

When it comes to providing artificial light for your indoor pothos plants, there are a few options to consider:

1. Fluorescent Tubes

These are a budget-friendly choice and come in cool white or full spectrum options. For the best results, go for the cool white or full spectrum tubes. If you want higher efficiency, you can opt for T5 or T8 tubes.

2. LED Grow Lights

These lights are energy-efficient and provide specific spectrums that cater to your plant’s growth needs. Blue and red wavelengths are particularly important for photosynthesis. While LED grow lights may be a bit pricier than fluorescent tubes, they are a worthwhile investment.

Now that you know the types of artificial light available, let’s dive into choosing the right light for your pothos plants:

Pothos VarietyIf you have variegated varieties, they might need slightly more light to maintain their vibrant colors.
Light IntensityAim for a light intensity of around 5,000-10,000 lux, similar to bright indirect sunlight. You can use a light meter to measure it accurately if you’re unsure.
Light SpectrumFor overall plant health, choose full spectrum lights or a combination of blue and red LEDs.
Distance from PlantFollow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the distance between the light and your pothos plant to prevent leaf burn. Start further away and make adjustments if necessary.

Here are a few extra tips to help you make the most of your artificial lighting:

  • Try to mix artificial light with any natural light you have during the day for the best results.
  • Use artificial light to boost the brightness in darker areas.
  • It’s best not to depend only on artificial light for long periods, so try to get some natural light whenever you can.
  • Keep your light fixtures clean to make sure they give off the best light possible. 


In wrapping up our exploration of pothos light requirements, it’s clear that finding the perfect balance is the secret to unlocking the full potential of this resilient houseplant.

Pothos is a champ at adapting and can thrive in both well-lit areas and cozy nooks with limited sunlight. With this insight, plant lovers can create spaces that promote growth, lush foliage, and turn their homes into vibrant green havens.


Pudji haryanto Author Note Epic Houseplants

Pudji Haryanto

Pudji Haryanto is a writer and urban farmer with a passion for cultivating plants. He has over 15 years of experience in agriculture and currently manages a 65,000 square foot rice-field and yard filled with various plants, including vegetables, spices, flowers, and garden plants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *