How Much Light Does Pothos Need? Less Or More Is Better?

Gardening can be tricky, and knowing each plant’s sunlight needs is key to success.

Different plants desire different levels of exposure; some love basking in the sun all day, while others prefer more tranquil shadows for their growth. Knowing how much light your greenery requires will keep it healthy and blooming.

How much light does pothos need? Here is what I can tell you about the pothos plant and the ideal amount of sunlight for it.

How Much Light Is Ideal For Pothos?

A plant’s life is heavily dependent on the presence of light. It supplies them with a vital source of energy for growth, enabling them to bloom and reproduce.

Photosynthesis allows plants to convert incoming rays into carbohydrates (energy), which fuels their very existence; without this crucial process, they would quickly perish in darkness.

With its eye-catching leaves and long trailing vines, pothos is the perfect plant to add a splash of life to any room.

But while this hardy species can still survive quite happily in low light conditions, careful control over how much pothos light your beloved foliage receives could be key for it to flourish truly.

Pothos plants thrive best when allowed to bask in the gentle, golden rays of a sunrise or sunset.

Position them near an east-facing window for around 12-14 hours daily and protect them from the strong midday sun – unless you want your leaves turning a crispy shade of bleach.

If basking in the sun’s rays is more their speed, opt for a cozy spot near an east-facing window or door with limited time outdoors—no longer than 3-4 hours daily. Too much direct light will cause leaves to bleach and burn out over time.

How Are Pothos Affected By Light?

Too little or too much light can cause stress, resulting in wilting and discoloration.

But how will you know if your beloved plant companion isn’t getting the perfect amount of illumination?

Check out an issue with lighting levels – plus some simple hints to ensure that those lush green leaves stay healthy.

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Getting Too Much Light


Your pothos may be suffering from too much bright sunlight during the hottest part of the day, which can cause its leaves to become weak and wilted. Keep an eye out for symptoms in your plant between noon and 4 pm!

Pothos Leaves Curling

When the sun shines brightly, your pothos leaves bask in its glory, flat and open toward its magical warmth.

However, if you notice them stretching or curling away from the light source – this is a sure sign of overexposure!

Too much light can cause pothos to droop

Brown Leaf Edges or Tips

Pothos plants are vulnerable to a range of maladies, with excessive light being one of the possible causes behind brown tips and edges.

Other potential culprits include root rot, salt accumulation in the soil, low temperatures or dry conditions caused by inadequate watering regimes as well as an overabundance of fertilizer.

Brown Spots

Too much bright light can cause your pothos’ leaves to develop unwanted brown spots.

At first, these blemishes may appear small and pale in color but eventually, grow into large blotches if left untreated.

Brown spots on Pothos leaves caused by too much illumination

Yellowing and Thickening of New Growth

Wilting leaves, brown spots, and bleached-out foliage; are all symptoms of a common problem – yellowing.

This typically occurs when the plant is exposed to extreme heat, which can cause it to burn or scorch. On the other hand, new growth may become thicker as an effect of this issue.

Excessively Compact and Stunted Growth

If your pothos plant gets too much exposure to the sun, it may experience shock and be unable to photosynthesize — leading to stunted growth and a compact appearance.

Isn’t Getting Enough Light

Extended Internodes or Leggy Growth

When your pothos isn’t receiving enough natural light, its foliage may be sparse and its growth lanky, as if it’s desperately “reaching” for additional sunlight.

Stems will extend further apart with longer internodes, leading to an overall scruffy appearance rather than the lush look you expect from this popular houseplant.

Lacking light causes leggy growth of pothos vines 

Leaning towards Light Sources

Your pothos plant will show its intelligence by turning towards the brightest light source in your home – like a beacon of hope for thriving! Its leaves become little solar panels, trapping as much energy from the sun or artificial lighting as it can to survive.

This leads to a visual effect – one side remains vibrant with lush foliage while the other begins fading away into wilting leaves with no sign of life.

Producing Small Leaves

Your pothos needs light to stay healthy and vigorous! Photosynthesis and transpiration – these processes make up a plant’s lifeblood.

Without adequate lighting, your green friend won’t be able to produce ample foliage, so you’ll end up with stunted leaves rather than the lusciously full ones it deserves.

On top of that? Its internodes will become longer as if stretching for more light from the sun!

Producing Small Leaves of Pothos is a sign of lacking light

No New Growth

While pothos plants can live in very low light, they will not thrive unless given the right amount of sunlight.

If your plant isn’t getting enough sun, you may find it languishing for days or weeks – so if a lush and vibrant garden is what you’re after, don’t forget to give your plants just the right blend of natural daylight.

Abnormal Leaf Color

Pothos’ showy foliage runs the risk of becoming discolored when exposed to low light. Variegated patterns in hues of white, gold, or pink may fade and could give way to yellow spots and watery brown blotches.

Browning Leaves & Tips

When exposed to inadequate light, pothos can start exhibiting browning tips or leaves with a yellow halo around the patches – an unfortunate side-effect of its lack of illumination.

Leaves Dropping

Pothos plants, just like us humans, can become stressed when not receiving enough love and attention.

When feeling overwhelmed by too little light conditions, a Pothos will sacrifice some of its foliage to conserve energy for the rest – reducing its overall “load” so it may thrive with fewer resources.

How To Improve Lighting Conditions For Pothos? 

Pothos can thrive when bathed in a mix of natural, medium light, and artificial light, making it possible for even those with shady spaces to have lush green plants.

Put Them Closer to a Window or Door

If you want your pothos to flourish, positioning it in the most optimum spot will be key.

An east-facing window is best for a direct morning light that’s gentle yet still provides plenty of brightness and indirect sunlight throughout the day – perfect conditions for this plant. 

Your plant also gets cozy with south-facing windows. Situate them a few feet away to give just the right amount of light for healthy plant growth.

Give it a home in the hub of your living space is also an ideal location. It will benefit from plenty of bright indirect light and be able to share its beauty throughout every room.

Get a Grow Light

Setting Up Artificial Lights for Indoor Plants is a plus 

Provide an artificial lifeline if your home doesn’t get enough natural sunshine. Opt for some high-quality lighting to ensure that all of your pothos plants are getting their daily dose and staying strong.

Keep your pothos plants luminous and healthy by giving them the perfect amount of sunshine – 12-14 hours a day.

Set up an automatic timer to make sure they are getting their recommended dose for optimal growth. With this 24/7 illumination from grow lights, you’ll be able to give your green friends all that they need for successful transplantation.

For optimal results, position your grow lights around 6-12 inches above and increase the exposure time to between 16-18 hours. This will help encourage stunning flowers throughout this foliage plant’s vibrant leaves.

A perfect imitation of the sun’s rays, these full-spectrum LED grow lights provide plants with much-needed white, blue, and red light.

With artificial lighting, plants can thrive without the risks of sunburn or unpredictable weather. Full-spectrum grow lights provide all that your green friends need to flourish safely indoors.

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Can pothos survive in low light?

Pothos plants can survive in low light, but they require the delicate balance of sunlight to truly flourish. Without enough sun, your indoor oasis won’t reach its full potential.

How much sunlight is too much for pothos?

While this plant is capable of tolerating a few hours of direct sunlight per day, it’s best to avoid overexposure since too much sun could cause burning or damage. Only 2-3 hours of direct sunlight per day is recommended for optimal health.

How long can pothos withstand direct sunlight before dying? 

Pothos can withstand direct sunlight for about two weeks before dying. Before that, the leaves will begin to yellow and curl, eventually falling off.