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Philodendron Light Requirements: All Queries Covered!

The large aesthetic leaves of the Philodendron plant get more pronounced when you meet their light requirements just right.

Philodendron needs medium or bright indirect sunlight for 4-6 hours daily. Also, it thrives in light intensity of 2,500 – 10,000 lux or 250–1,000 foot candles (FC) in the west or southeast window.

Thus, continue reading till the end, so your Philodendron never goes lanky by failing its light requirements.

Overview of Philodendron

Philodendron is a tropical aroid popularly grown for its large green foliage of the Araceae plant family.

There are more than 500 Philodendron varieties, and they all share similar light requirements.

USDA Zone9-11
Sub-family Aroideae
Native AreaTropical Americas and the West Indies
Plant TypePerennial
Life Span20 years or more
Growth Size1–20 ft in height 1–6 ft. in width
FoliageGreen heart-shaped leaves with a white, cream or lime-colored strip down the middle of the leaf
Flower White or Yellowish white
Blooming PeriodMay-July
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets

How much light does Philodendron Need?

Philodendrons seamlessly proliferate in 4 to 6 hours of filtered or indirect sunlight, whether it is growing indoors or outdoors. 

In addition, they do not mind growing under artificial grow lights for 8 to 10 hours in winter.

They can tolerate no light for anywhere between 4 to 20 days. Similarly, some varieties can survive for 12 to 20 days in low light.

That said, Philodendron species with high light requirements can only sustain their stature for about 4 to 10 days.

After that, they die due to chlorosis, i.e., yellowing leaves due to loss of chlorophyll.

Similarly, the amount of light required by Philodendrons varies depending on their leaf color.

Philodendron and other houseplants kept indoors in a pot
Avoid keeping your Philodendrons in utter darkness for too long, even if they’ve low light needs.

Philodendrons like Birkin, Brasil, and Heartleaf have solid green leaves and can thrive even in low light.

However, almost all Philodendrons can not stand the direct sun. They easily get sunburned if exposed for too long.

How to Ensure Optimum Light for Philodendron?

As in their natural habitat, Philodendrons shelter under canopies and avoid strong sunlight.

Thus, for optimal growth, you can mimic their natural habitat-like condition while keeping an eye on the following factors.

1. Light Intensity

Philodendrons thrive best when provided with medium bright indirect sunlight.

Aim for the bright light of intensity 2,500 to 10,000 lux (or 250–1,000 foot candles) for your Philodendron.

To measure the light intensity, you can use a light meter and use drapes to adjust the intensity.

Some Philodendron species, like Heart leaf and Brasil, require a light intensity of 200 FC. They will tolerate low light down to 50 FC but will survive barely.

However, Moonlight, Imperial Red and Pink Princess Philodendron need 400 FC and not less than 200 FC for ideal growth.

2. Light Duration

Philodendron requires dappled sunlight for 4-5 hours to thrive indoors. But can survive under 1-2 hours of direct sunlight.

That said, the light duration may vary depending on Philodendron varieties.

For example, Philodendron Birkin needs 12 hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily. Meanwhile, Split Leaf Philodendron requires 5 to 6 hours only.

Aim for incandescent lamps to meet the light needs of indoor Philodendrons in winter.

Also, the morning sun can do wonders. Thus, strategically place the plant so direct morning sunlight shines on them.

3. Light Quality

Natural sunlight, white light, consists of all color spectrums.

So, it would be wise use to grow light of the full spectrum to mimic natural lighting conditions.

Generally, red and blue light encourages optimal plant growth, seed germination and root development.

Furthermore, red light especially boosts plants flowering, while violet enhances foliage color. 

Combine blue and red wavelengths (400–700 nm) and trace amounts of green, yellow, and infrared wavelengths to aid photosynthesis.

4. Location for Philodendrons

East or south windows to facilitate your Philodendron with optimal light requirements.

But to avoid direct sunburn, place the plant 3 to 5 feet away from the window. Otherwise, you can use sheer drapes or curtains to reduce light intensity.

Below is the table showing where you need to place your plant.

Low250-1,000 luxNorth facing window
Medium1,000- 5,000 luxEast-West facing window
Bright5,000-10,000 luxSouth facing window
Direct Indoor above 10,000 lux4-6 hours of direct sunlight

Signs Your Philodendron Requires Less or More Sunlight

Although Philodendrons can tolerate a wide range of light, too poor lighting can push them over the edge.

Philodendrons begin to show tell-tale signs whenever they are not getting proper light.

Sun scald of leaf of Philodendron
Yellowing leaves often result from direct sunburn, overwatering and root rot.

So, let me walk you through those signs Philodendron exhibit under improper or harsh lighting.

Signs your Philodendron is Light Deprived

In general, lack of sunlight results in loss of green pigment, chlorophyll, in the leaves leading to discoloration. In other words, yellowing leaves.

Severe discoloration without prompt treatment can eventually kill the Philodendron.

Thus, here are some of the signs of a light-deprived Philodendron so you can take action before anything happens.

Leggy Stem

Inadequate light increases internodal distance, making the Philodendron appear lanky with fewer weak leaves.

This will cause the Philodendron to become thin and sparse.

Similarly, stems are relatively weak, often wilting and droopy. They will break even with minimal effort.

Slow or Stunted Growth

Due to restricted photosynthesis, Philodendrons barely have any energy to unfurl new leaves.

Thus, the plant does not grow or produce full-fledged leaves. If they do, new leaves will be small and weak.

In winter, slow growth is normal for Philodendrons due to dormancy. However, stunted growth, even in spring or summer, could be due to light deprivation.

Leaning Stems

The Philodendron plant will begin to lean toward any bright light source in search of light.

While doing so, the plant’s shape becomes irregular and will look weird.

Moreover, the part facing opposite or away from the light source turns pale.

Signs of Light Saturated Philodendron

Direct sunlight can scorch the Philodendron leaves. Here are a few signs of excess light exposure in Philodendron.

Yellow Leaves

Despite proper watering, if your Philodendron has yellow leaves, it is most likely due to excess sunlight.

In addition to yellowing, the Philodendron leaves tend to have crispy, dry tips.

Similarly, yellowing one or two leaves could be because of age. However, if multiple leaves are turning yellow at once could be due to light saturation.

Curling Leaves

When Philodendron is exposed to direct sun for too long, the leaves eventually curl inwards to reduce the leaf area.

They do so to lower the increased transpiration rate, causing them to dehydrate faster.

The situation worsens when they do not receive water, resulting in permanent tissue damage.

Similarly, the stems will pull them away from the light source due to negative phototropism.

Brown Spots

Under prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, brown spots can occur in the large green leaves of Philodendrons.

The brown spots are usually small at first but can cover the whole leaf if left for sunburn.

Additionally, leaves are light and dry, which can easily crumble on hand.

Tips to Maintain the Proper Light Condition

If you notice such symptoms in your Philodendron, immediately relocate them somewhere safe.

Generally, leaves that have gone completely yellow or brown can not be reverted.

Thus, you shall prune them off and proceed with proper lighting.

Here are some easy tips for maintaining Philodendron plants’ ideal light requirements.

  • Keep your plant behind window sheers to avoid sunburn.
  • Clean both sides of your windows, as dirty windows can block up to 50% of the sunlight.
  • Rotate the Philodendron pots ¼ turn every few weeks so plants can grow evenly.
  • Withdraw the plants if the windows deposit ice.
  • Avoid exposing the plant to the light directly close to the window.

Does Philodendron Grow in Artificial Light?

If there is not enough light, like in winter, you can fulfill the light requirement of Philodendron by using an artificial grow light.

Indoor plants such as Philodendrons prefer the light of wavelength 400nm-700nm, and 12 to 14 hours of artificial light can be enough for them.

Though artificial lights can not replicate every color of natural sunlight, they can play a great role in mimicking the natural environment during winter and in dark places.

Right Light Temperature

The temperature of artificial grow light varies with the plant.

Most indoor plants need a cold white or daylight shade to flourish, particularly in the 6000–6500K range.

In contrast, a warm white shade, between 2700–3500K, can encourage fruits and flowers.

Since Philodendrons rarely flower, they need cool white or daylight bulbs (6000k-6500k) to provide full-spectrum light.

Right Grow Light

Choosing the right to grow light is also a factor to influence a plant’s growth. So, you can assign your Philodendron plants at least 12 hours of artificial light a day. 

Grow lights for philodendron
Place your Philodendron under the grow light to compensate lack of sunlight in winter.

Here is a list of artificial grow bulbs that can be used for indoor plants.

Phlizon Pro 2000W LEDOffers extremely large grow area and immable full spectrum
Lavish Home5 feet tall light with adjustable neck floor lamp
Abonnylv 60W Led Tri LightContains that warm white light(3000k) leds + day light(5000k) leds + red light(660nm) leds + Ir light(730nm) led
SPIDER FARMER SF2000 LED Includes high efficiency, full Spectrum and new diode layout
Led Grow LightProvides full spectrum with good cooling performance

Proper Location for Grow Light

To ensure healthy growth, you might need to maintain a distance between the grow light and plants. You can your Philodendron plants at 10-12 inches from the light source.

Here is a table describing the distance between the plant and the artificial light source.

Grow LightsDistance
HID Grow Lights (400W)12”-19” away from the plant
HID Grow Lights (600W)14”-25” away from the plant
LED Grow Lights (240-400W)16”-30” away from the plant
LED Grow Lights (450-550W)20”-30” away from the plant
CFL (200W)6”-10” away from the plant

Final Thought

Philodendron makes a great first-time house plant and gift for any plant parents, and the good news is that it needs lower light requirements. 

If you live in a shady environment or your house can not store more light, you can use artificial light for Philodendrons.

Happy Gardening!

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