Snake Plant Light Requirements: Everything You Need to Know
Contrary to what other sources on the internet may claim, snake plants DO NOT like low light conditions or dark rooms.
In order to thrive and show healthy growth indoors, a snake plants light requirements are:
- plenty of indirect sunlight,
- for 6-8 hours of the day.
- Brief periods of direct sunlight are tolerated, but too much may cause heat and water stress.
Snake plants are tough-as-nails, but that doesn’t mean you should treat them as such. Like all houseplants, they have a set of ideal conditions that will help them grow and stay healthy.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the type of lighting snake plants thrive under. We’ll also discuss ways to troubleshoot poor lighting conditions, and possible solutions, so you can give your stunning snake plant the lighting conditions they deserve.
So grab a coffee and put on your sunglasses, because it’s going to get bright in here!
Snake Plant Light Requirements: The Facts
So many resources claim snake plants are tough, hardy plants that can tolerate low light conditions.
However, this is not entirely true! Snake plants may be able to survive in low light conditions longer than other plants, but that doesn’t mean they will grow and thrive.
In fact, without proper lighting conditions, a snake plant will gradually weaken, due to the lack of energy produced via photosynthesis.
What are the Perfect Lighting Conditions for Snake Plants?
As we identified earlier, snake plants need an abundance of indirect light throughout the day.
Preferably 6-8 hours of sunlight would be sufficient. That said, we doubt they would complain if their light exposure extended a bit beyond the 8-hour upper limit.
We would not recommend anything less than 6 hours, as it will limit your snake plant’s ability to photosynthesize, and stunt its growth. More on signs that your snake plant is not receiving enough light in the next section – so stick around.
Signs Your Snake Plant Isn’t Receiving Enough Light
Wouldn’t it be great if snake plants could talk? They could tell us exactly where to place them for the perfect aspects of light. Unfortunately plants cannot talk, but they do send us signs and signals to tell us when they are not happy.
Here is a list of symptoms your snake plant will display when they don’t receive enough light:
- Lopsided Snake Plant – one of the biggest giveaways that your snake plant is not getting enough light is when it begins to grow to one side. Plants will exhibit these unusual growth patterns when they reach for the closest light source available. Take a step back and look in the direction that your snake plant is growing towards. It will usually be a window or open door.
- Leaves become thin and stretched – this is similar to the previous symptom. However, in situations where the leaves become stretched and thin, it generally means there is no available light source to reach for, and your snake plant is trying to grow taller to find more light.
- Leaves droopy or falling over – when your snake plant cannot produce enough energy (via photosynthesis) it becomes weak and loses the ability to hold their large sword-shaped leaves up.
- Dull coloration – another sign that your snake plant isn’t getting enough light is that they begin to lose their beautiful vibrant colors on the leaves. Chlorophyll is the substance that provides plants with their stunning green colors. Unfortunately, without light, plants are not able to produce chlorophyll and end up with dull leaves.
Signs Your Snake Plant is Receiving Too Much Light
Even though they are classified as succulents, your snake plant can also be exposed to too much light.
Direct sunlight can be intense and can be extremely damaging to indoor plants that are not conditioned for the extreme heat.
Here are symptoms of plants that are being exposed to too much light:
- Leaf burn – like our skin, the leaves of plants can be sunburned (or leaf burn in this case). It occurs when leaves are exposed to direct sunlight for long periods at a time. Or possibly when the sun is at its most intense at midday or early afternoon. The heat dehydrates the leaves, causing the moisture to evaporate, and the leaves turn brown and crispy on the edges (almost like it was cooked).
- Wrinkles Forming on the Leaves – Another indication your snake plant may be exposed to too much direct sunlight is if the leaves begin to form wrinkles. As the heat evaporates the water from the leaves, they lose their structure and meatiness. This results in the skin of the leaves sagging, developing wrinkles.
Snake Plant Behavior in Different Lighting Conditions
In this section we’ll discuss what to expect from your snake plant in different lighting conditions.
Low Light Conditions
Dimly lit or shaded parts of the house include bathrooms with no natural light, shaded corners with little light from windows or even hallways with only ambient light coming from other rooms.
Snake plants will survive in these conditions. However, if you expect a thriving and vibrant indoor plant, you may be disappointed. Snake plants growing in low light conditions will experience very minimal growth.
The leaves may also be stunted, and become dull looking. If you have no other option but to place your snake plants in low light areas of the house, we recommend giving them brief periods in well lit areas every now and again to stimulate the plant.
Indirect Light Conditions
If you have read this far, you may already realize that plenty of indirect sunlight is our preferred choice for meeting a snake plant light requirements.
It provides that perfect balance between stimulating the productive process in the plant (like photosynthesis), while not cooking our plant to the point of damaging them.
Examples of medium light conditions include next to a window that has sheer curtains filtering the sunlight. Or even under a skylight that allows natural daylight to fill a room or hallway. Placing a snake plant next to a window that doesn’t have any curtains is acceptable. As long as the sunlight light that hits your snake plant is for short periods in the early morning or late evening, when the light is less intense.
Direct Light Conditions
Indoor snake plants are not conditioned to growing in full sunlight for long periods of time. So exposing them to these conditions will result in leaf burn and heat and temperature stress.
Stress will ultimately weaken your plant to the point that it becomes vulnerable to pests and diseases, which can lead to fatal consequences.
Direct light conditions include balconies or windows that receive midday and afternoon sun. The sun not only drys the leaves of your snake plant, but it also bakes the soil, especially on hot summer afternoons. This deprives your plant of essential moisture to survive, and makes it extremely vulnerable.
Solutions for Low Light Areas in Your Home
If you don’t have the space or aspects in your home, does that mean you are destined to never become a snake plant owner?
Before you give up on your snake plant dreams, we have some practical solutions for you to realize your indoor plant goals – artificial lighting.
Indoor LED Lights
LED lights (light emitting diodes) are a great alternative to natural light for plant growth.
One of their primary advantages is that LED lighting is extremely energy efficient, particularly when compared to other forms of artificial lighting.
Natural light consists of many varying light wavelengths that plants use for their natural processes. The great thing about LED lights is that they can be customized to suit your plants needs. For example, you can target your plant’s growth light wave requirements (red and blue), without wasting energy on other non-useful light wavelengths.
Even though you may not realize at the time, you have likely experienced fluorescent lighting in office and commercial buildings. It is a form of artificial lighting that has a high concentration of blue wavelength light rays – which makes it appear extremely white.
They do not emit a lot of heat, which is perfect for placing near your plants in an enclosed space. However, they are not as energy efficient as LED lighting.
There are two different types of fluorescent lights available: cool (full spectrum) white or warm lighting. The full spectrum light has more blue wavelength lighting, which is ideal for the growth of foliage on your snake plants. While the warm lighting has more red wavelength light, which promotes root growth. Both are acceptable forms of artificial lighting for your snake plant.
Incandescent lights are rich in red wavelengths and help to encourage strong root growth. Unfortunately, they do not have a high concentration of blue wavelength light and therefore need to be complemented with another form of lighting that will provide the necessary blue light (like fluorescent or LED lights).
Like fluorescent lighting, incandescent lights require more energy to operate, so running them for the necessary hours per day does add up on your energy bills.
They also emit more heat than other forms of lighting, which can have negative consequences for snake plants in enclosed spaces.
The final form of artificial light that you can use is halogen lights.
The good news is halogen lights provide the full spectrum of light wavelength that snake plants need to grow. Plus they are relatively cheaper than other options.
The cons of using halogen lights is, like incandescent lighting, they can heat up quite a bit, increasing the temperature enough to be a concern.
They also require more energy to run when compared to LED and fluorescent lights, which will definitely be noticeable on the bank account.
Snake Plant Light Requirements – Common Questions
How many hours of sunlight do snake plants need?
Snake plants require a minimum of 6 hours of indirect sunlight a day. It is important to note, it is indirect sunlight, NOT direct sunlight. If you can find a position that has more hours of sunlight, we’re sure your snake plant will not object.
What if my room has no windows?
The best alternative to natural light is artificial lights, like LED, fluorescent, halogen or incandescent lights. Each have their pros and cons. However, the important factor to consider is that your lighting provides the necessary wavelengths to stimulate the proper growth in your snake plant.
Can Snake Plants Take Direct Sunlight?
Yes snake plants can tolerate direct sunlight. However, the sunlight should only be for short periods in the early morning or late evening, when the light is less intense. We recommend avoiding direct midday or early afternoon sunlight, which can be damaging to your snake plant.