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How Much Light Does Pothos Need | Plant Care & Light Needs

How Much Light Does Pothos tree Need

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Pothos plants love light, but it can’t be too strong. Anywhere between 12 to 14 hours of light at a medium level, and they will thrive. They can also withstand 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight, but this is not recommended. So, how much light does pothos need?

Contrary to other ivy’s that grow outdoors, pothos plants (the Devil’s Ivy) are much less partial to sunlight.

While it may be true that these stunners are tough cookies, having your plant suffer is also not an ideal situation.

Pothos plants are quite versatile, and they can adapt to our lifestyles if we give them ample time to do so.

If you want your pothos to thrive, you have to be attentive, take care of their needs, and give it lots of pampering (it loves a good pedicure). How fast your pothos grows is all up to you.

Your pothos will grow into a beautiful feature in your house, as long as you give it adequate watering, make sure it has enough soil and nutrients, and its light needs are met. Read on below for a guide to growing your pothos into a happy little plant.

Fun Fact: Pothos is also known as Golden pothos, or by its scientific name, Epipremnum aureum.

Pothos Light Needs

As strange as it may sound, your pothos plants have needs. While it might not need any socializing to prosper, it has other necessities that need to be met in order for it to flourish.

Light is the main factor for most plants, as they use it in the process known as Photosynthesis.

This is generally how plants get their nutrients: they need some sort of light in order to thrive.

Many plants have adapted to different lighting conditions and are also able to adapt to more harsh or intense light or dimmer light. Pothos are on the list of true low-light houseplants, as they don’t need strong light to survive.

Signs Your Pothos Is Not Getting Enough Light

Unfortunately, your pothos cannot communicate their needs verbally (although how cool would that be?).

Therefore, it is up to us as their caretakers to observe and notice if anything is amiss. There are a variety of signs that your ivy might not be getting enough light:

  • Leggy growth: Plants can often be seen “searching for light” via their stems. Elongated, leggy stems are a key sign when they do this, as their stems are literally trying to expand outward towards better conditions.

You will also notice their internodes (the distance between two leaves) are extended, creating a bit of a scraggly and unsightly appearance.

  • Leaning: If your plant is leaning in any specific direction or turning its leaves to face a certain way, it could be a sign of too little light. They orient themselves towards the nearest light source as a way to try and capture more light in their system.

It is a primary instinct in plants and can often be spotted out in the wild as well as indoors in our homes. You will also notice that the side leaning towards the light is much more vibrant, with more foliage compared to the other side.

  • Small leaves or zero new growing: If you notice your pothos is producing a lot of smaller, weaker leaves, low light can often be the cause. As mentioned, Photosynthesis is how they gather their nutrients to continue growing, and thus if that process is hampered, their growth is impeded as well.
  • Leaves changing color: Lastly, your plant is definitely signaling that something is wrong when its leaves take on a duller appearance or if they start turning brown. This is a clear sign of inadequate lighting conditions and should be a warning signal to change something in their environment.
How Much Light Does Pothos Plant Need

Pothos and Sunlight: Do They Mix?

Sunlight is, of course, the main source of light for plants. It is how they are able to grow and thrive in nature, away from human intervention. However, some plants (like the pothos) have grown accustomed to indoor conditions and struggle in direct sunlight.

They can easily get sunburned and suffer damage to their leaves and structures because of this over-exposure.

Thus, it is best to try and avoid harsh sunlight altogether for the pothos plants. Instead, they grow and flourish quite well in indirect light (indoors or in shadows if they are outdoors).

If your pothos needs to be in full sunlight at least for some parts of the day, try to keep it to a maximum of 3 to 4 hours.

This is to prevent any significant sunburning damage that can dry out the plant and cause lasting damage.

Tip: Remember, direct sunlight can also dry out their soil, causing the plant to struggle further. Try a shady spot outside, allowing plenty of light to reach them.

Artificial Pothos Light

Another way for your pothos to get their daily dose of light in is via artificial lighting. Depending on your surroundings and home environment, this is often necessary to ensure your plants get enough light.

While your home may have plenty of natural light coming in, it is good to substitute this with some additional lighting, just to be sure your plants are getting everything they need.

There are a variety of lights, lamps, and gizmos to look at, and we know how overwhelming it can be. If you are leaning towards setting up a space for your plants to thrive in, perhaps have a look at some full-spectrum LED grow lights.

They will ensure your plant gets the full spectrum of light it needs (white, blue, and red light), as it imitates sunlight. This way, your gorgeous greens will prosper and grow to their full extent.

Note: Artificial lighting is in no way bad for your plants, as long as they are full-spectrum grow lights. Your plants still get everything they need, without the added dangers of sunburn or bad weather.

Pothos Plant Care

Caring for your plants is relatively easy, as long as you watch them for signs of suffering. If you are wondering how to care for a pothos plant, it is even easier, as they are such resilient, hardy plants.

They can adapt to a new environment, given enough time, as well as learn to grow in water or soil.

Their soil and water conditions are another critical step to their survival and longevity in your home. If you get this right, along with lighting, you will have a perfectly splendid plant that will last a long time.

Pothos Soil vs. Water

Pothos can grow in either soil or water, which allows them the unique ability to adapt to your home. If your pothos is growing in soil or is used to growing in soil, then that is the best place to keep them.

Once they have grown used to their growing medium, changing things will cause them to suffer or struggle.

Both growing mediums have their benefits, so it is up to your living arrangements and the environment they will be in.

If there is room for your pothos to be in a pot with ideal lighting, then planting in soil is the answer.

If you are perhaps living in an apartment or with pets that can damage the plant, water might be your solution instead.

Planting it in water allows you quite a bit of freedom in where you place them. This also has the added benefit of not needing to water them on a schedule.

Pothos Watering

Pothos that grow in the soil is happy with any potting mix, with no need for complex mixtures and expensive fertilizers. Keeping up a regular watering schedule is, of course, key to their survival.

Even if they can survive for months without water, it doesn’t mean they should.

If your pothos is drooping, it can be a clear sign of either overwatering, as well as underwatering (yes, that can get a bit confusing!).

Another sign of overwatering in your pothos is root rot. Setting up a watering schedule, and keeping to it is a good way to prevent root rot and inspect your plant on a regular basis.

How Much Light Does Pothos Need

Pothos Plant: Uniquely Strange

Pothos are truly versatile flora, allowing you to fill your home with them in a variety of unique and interesting manners. As they are ranking plants, the pothos ivy can be a unique and cool addition to your home.

Hanging pothos in and around your house is a fantastic way to brighten up the place (as well as add some natural air purifiers to the mix).

That’s right, pothos plants are air purifiers, just one of the many cool things about them.

There is also a whole range of variegated pothos, each with unique and interesting coloring and pattern to their leaves. The most common is the classic Golden pothos, with its vibrant green leaves scattered with yellow.

You can also get the Marble Queen (similar to golden, except it has white instead of yellow), Glacier (green and white intermixed), Snow Queen (like the Marble, but with much bigger patches of white). This variegation makes them quite a stunner in the right environments.

Tip: Another way to identify low light conditions is when pothos lose their variegation. They revert back to a dull green, losing their beautiful colors.

Pothos Care: Letting In The Light

So there we have it: let the light shine on your pothos (but not too much). It is actually fascinating how big of an impact light can have on plants.

They can change their entire appearance, orientation, and physical shape just to adapt to better conditions.

Plants are a key factor in our survival, as they provide much-needed oxygen, as well as absorb carbon dioxide.

They care for us in a manner of speaking, without us even knowing it. Thus, it is up to us to return the favor and do what we can to ensure our plant’s survival.

Reviving a dying pothos plant is definitely one way we can give back to them. They don’t just provide us with something pretty to look at; they improve the general atmosphere in our homes. So when in doubt, buy a pothos, you won’t regret it!