How Much Light Does A Snake Plant Need?

Snake plants are virtually indestructible, hardy plants that tolerate almost all types of light, including low-lit corners of your home. In addition to their striking beauty, snake plants are also one of the best ways to purify the air in your home at night, making them a perfect addition to bedrooms. However, what are the preferable light requirements for a snake plant to thrive?

Snake plants tolerate various lighting conditions; however, the growth varies depending on the intensity of light it receives. Snake plants thrive in bright indirect light for 8 to 10 hours daily but tolerate 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. The ideal location is 10 feet from a west or south window.

Despite their tolerance to all types of light, what ideal amount of light do snake plants need to thrive instead of only survive? Let’s take a look.

What Are The Light Requirements For A Snake Plant To Thrive?

Snake plant on the floor

Snake plants grow in any level of light, from high to low. However, snake plants grow quicker in bright light, but you need to be cautious when placing the plant in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight tends to burn the plant’s leaves. Therefore, an ideal spot to park snake plant pots is roughly 10 feet away from a west-or-south facing window (hgtv.com).

Snake plants prefer 8 to 10 hours of bright, indirect light daily; however, they can also tolerate approximately 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight.

In addition, snake plants thrive in hot and dry climates. So, consider placing potted snake plants outside in the bright shade during the summertime.

Why Is Light Important For Snake Plants?

Like all other plants, snake plants require light as a source of energy. Without adequate amounts of light, the plants cannot photosynthesize, which is a crucial process in which plants convert light, oxygen, and water into energy for the plants to grow.

A shortage of light causes many problems, including stunted growth, floppy foliage, wilting, and even death.

However, it’s important to note that grow lights are practical solutions to grow snake plants in place of sunlight or as additional support.

What Type Of Light Do Snake Plants Prefer?

Snake plant in the sun

There are two primary kinds of light: unfiltered, direct sunlight and indirect light. Distinguishing the difference between unfiltered, direct sunlight and indirect light is essential as direct and indirect sunlight negatively affect a snake plant when in excess.

So, direct sunlight is, as the name says, direct and unfiltered, whereas indirect light is where the sunlight doesn’t directly fall onto the plant’s foliage.

Now, to answer your question, snake plants thrive best in bright indirect sunlight.

Snake plants originate from rocky and arid habitats in tropical Africa. Due to their dry environments, the snake plant stores water for an extended period in its tick fleshy leaves.

Despite the snake plant’s sturdy leaf, it is poorly tolerant of direct sunlight. Too much bright, unfiltered sunlight can scorch the leaves of the snake plant. At the same time, inadequate low light levels can lead to stunted growth and various other conditions. Therefore, bright indirect sunlight is best.

Read more: Why Is My Snake Plant Dying?

Indications That Snake Plants Require More Light

Knowing if you’ve placed the snake plant in the perfect can be tricky. Fortunately, several signs indicate if a snake plant doesn’t receive enough light.

  1. Leggy growth: The snake plant will naturally try to “reach” towards the light. You will be able to notice a significant increase in the foliage spacing. These longer leaves or internodes; are a tell-tale sign that a snake plant needs lighter.
  2. Leaning towards light sources: Like leggy growth, the snake plant will gravitate towards light sources or windows (known as phototropism). Although rotating the plant is a short-term fix, it’s best to consider relocating the snake plant to a brighter spot.
  3. Foliage concerns: thin and small leaves, abnormal colored leaves (yellow or brown), dropping leaves, and no new foliage or root growth are also indications that a snake plant isn’t getting enough light.
  4. No new growth: All plants need light to photosynthesize. So, if a snake plant is a location where there is no light exposure (a room without windows), the snake plant won’t be able to produce new foliage, roots, or flowers,

However, note that snake plants are relatively dormant during winter, making “no new growth” only applicable in the growing season.

Indication That Snake Plants Requires Less Light

Snake plants thrive in well-lit conditions; however, too much sunlight can cause just as much harm as too little light exposure. These are the signs to keep an eye out for:

Browning of Snake plant
  1. Wilting: Too much light can cause the leaves of the snake plant to lose large amounts of moisture and wilt. Wilting often occurs during the early-to-late afternoon when the sun is at its hottest. If you notice that the snake plant’s leaves are limp and floppy, consider moving the snake plant to a shaded or filtered sunlight area during these hours.
  2. Curling leaves: Excessive light can cause the snake plant’s leaves to curl inwards due to stress and moisture loss.
  3. Yellow and thick new growth: If the snake plant’s newly emerging foliage is yellowed and relatively thicker than usual, it may indicate that it is receiving too much sunlight. The thickness of the new foliage is the plant’s way of ensuring that it loses less moisture, increasing its chances of survival.
  4. Brown tips or spots on leaves: Again, excessive light can cause the ends of the leaves to brown due to moisture loss; in addition, the brown spots indicate sunburn and tissue damage. Consider pruning the brown leaves and moving the plant to a window with sheer curtains or drapes to filter the direct light.
  5. Compacted and stunted growth: Like low light conditions, too much light will hinder the plant’s growth due to shock and stress. It’s best to reconsider moving your plant to a different area.

However, keep in mind that snake plants are dormant during winter, making it perfectly normal for stunted growth during these periods. Therefore, compacted and stunted growth only applies during the snake plant’s growing seasons.

Users Also Read: Snake Plant Turning Yellow

How To Provide Enough Light For Snake Plants

If you notice any signs that indicate that the snake plant has a light shortage, consider relocating the plant closer to a light source. Similarly, if you note that the snake plant is suffering from too much bright sunlight, consider placing it in a location with filtered light to prevent the sun from scorching its leaves.

The ideal spot for a snake plant indoors is near an east-facing window (approximately 10 feet). The plant will enjoy the bright morning sun and avoid the harsh afternoon sun. Whereas west-facing windows provide copious afternoon light; therefore, curtains or drapes are helpful to filter the light from the hot mid-day sun. 

If you prefer a north-facing window, ensure that the snake plant is as close as possible to the window to maximize light exposure.

However, if you prefer not to relocate the snake plant, consider using artificial LED lights to provide red and blue rays from the light spectrum. In addition, use the LED lights for 12 to 14 hours for maximum growth.

Lastly, if you don’t have LED lights, use a combo of incandescent and fluorescent grow lights in a 1:2 ratio. Using growth lights is especially effective for bedrooms without windows or dark corners needing lush green foliage to spruce them up.

Conclusion

Snake plants are forgiving plants that tolerate almost all kinds of light.

However, the type and duration of light exposure will influence the snake plant’s ability to thrive and growth rate.

Too much light is likely to scorch the snake plant’s leaves and cause stunted growth, while too little sun will result in leggy growth and foliage concerns.

Therefore, the ideal spot for a snake plant is in a location where it can receive at least 8 to 10 hours of filtered or bright indirect light. Alternatively, use a growth light for 12 to 14 hours if you cannot provide the perfect location.

Resources

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/houseplants/2019/how-often-water-snake-plant

https://www.thespruce.com/snake-plant-care-overview-1902772