How Much Light does a Snake Plant Require?

Snake Plants
Snake Plants grown (Source: Amazon)

Snake plants are easygoing and can handle a wide range of indoor lighting conditions.

The quantity of light it receives, on the other hand, can have a significant impact on how well your snake plant thrives.

If your snake plant is not getting enough light, its leaves will slowly turn limp and miserable. Again, if your snake plant is getting direct sunlight, it will dry out very quickly.

How much light does a snake plant require, though? So what is the best way to care for your snake plant? Let’s see what we can learn.

Generally, Snake plants need 8 to 10 hours of bright indirect sunlight daily for their proper growth. However, they are very adaptable and can handle highly lit and shady places with very low light. For optimal results, place them near east-facing windows or use grow lights. 

Healthy Snake Plant
Healthy Snake Plant (Source: Pixabay)

Today I will be helping you with the light requirements for the snake plant, which is one of the most important factors in its growth and proper development.

So please continue reading to get a better understanding of the snake plant’s light requirements.

Can Snake Plants Survive Without Sunlight?

As I mentioned earlier in the article, Snake plants are very adaptable, and thus the only answer to this question is yes, they can survive without sunlight.

Snake plants are one of those plants that require very low maintenance from their owner and can be placed anywhere, and they would still grow.

Yes, even without sunlight, snake plants will grow. But the thing is, it will hinder the well-being of its leaves.

And it will look far too miserable than how a normal snake plant would look.

If you plan to grow a snake plant without any hint of sunlight, then you need to be ready for the consequences as well.

Generally, they will grow at a very slow pace without sunlight, and as they grow, their leaves will eventually become droopy.

Snake Plant grown under low sunlight
Snake Plant grown under low sunlight (Source: Unsplash)

Read more about snake plant: What is the Best Way to Propagate Snake Plant in Water?

Can Snake Plant Survive Direct Sunlight?

Snake Plants are very easy to grow, and one of the pros of having them is that you do not need to take care of them more often.

So you can assume what I am getting up to here, right?

The answer to the above question is obviously yes; they can indeed survive even if provided with direct sunlight, but how long.

Snake plants generally prefer to be placed under indirect sunlight, but if you have no choice and need to place it under direct sunlight, you need to be careful.

Generally, Snake plants can survive under direct sunlight without problems for around 2-3 hours a day. However, anything more than that can cause the snake plant to suffer both internally and externally.

Would you please continue to read further below to discover what harmful effects placing a snake plant under direct sunlight does?

Snake plant grown under bright direct sunlight
Snake plant is grown under bright direct sunlight (Source: Pixabay)

Signs your Snake Plant Needs More or Less Light

Snake plants can grow fine without you taking care of them regularly.

Even if you ignore them for a few weeks, they will still be growing properly, but you need to check on them at one point.

So how do you distinguish what your snake plant needs? It’s easy because you can tell from the condition of its leaves what it requires.

Snake plants have various characteristics that may provide insight into the amount of light they are exposed to.

You can notice these signs in your snake plant that will tell you if it’s getting high or low light.

Signs your Snake Plant is Receiving Low Light

Various factors might point towards your snake plant not receiving enough light. The most common ones are:

1. Slow Growth

The most important thing that you will first notice if your snake plant isn’t getting enough light is that it will grow at an extremely slow rate.

As any plant requires the slightest bit of light for its development, the snake plant is similar in that too.

Just because it can grow in dark and shady places doesn’t mean that it will grow in perfect health in those conditions.

2. Decrease in the Size of Leaves and No New Leaves

The next thing you might notice is the drastic decrease in the size of the snake plant leaves.

Without a proper light source, they will eventually start producing small leaves than normal, and at some point, they will even completely stop producing new leaves.

As we all know, light is essential for photosynthesis, and without it, snake plants go through a process that slows down their growth, resulting in little, thin leaves.

3. Inclining Towards Light Sources

As the snake plants lack light, they will tend to incline towards any light source they can sense within the placed area.

Snake plants need red and blue light to achieve optimal photosynthesis. Therefore, it will drift toward light sources, such as windows, if sunlight does not.

This phenomenon is called Phototropism, and this is a natural response of a plant when it doesn’t have enough light to conduct photosynthesis.

Growing Snake Plant
Growing Snake plant

4. Changes in Leaves Color

After a certain while, the leaves of your snake plant will start turning brown and yellow.

The leaves’ color changes occur due to insufficient light provided to the plant, and this is another way for the plant to tell you that it is getting bad light.

Snake plants are often bought and placed inside the rooms for their aesthetic color of leaf that helps it showcase different shades of green in the plant.

But without proper light, those leaves will lose their color, turn brown or yellow, and collapse.

5. Drooping and Collapsing leaves

Last but not least, after the leaves of your snake plant turn pale, they will start drooping and collapsing as the result of no energy or nourishment left in the plant.

Usually, the lowest leaves will start falling first, then eventually, one by one. After that, it will shed its leaves to survive by getting rid of those leaves.

They’ll wilt and die when they become yellow. If the soil does not dry out quickly enough, leaf drooping may develop before falling off, leading to overwatering and root rot.

Keep an eye out for additional ailments that may cause snake plants to drop their leaves.

Snake Plant grown in soggy soil
Snake Plant is grown in soggy soil

Signs your Snake Plant is Getting Excessive Light

Here are a few signs that point to your snake plant getting too much light:

1. Curling of Leaves

One of the first symptoms of your snake plant getting too much light is its curling leaves.

Usually, Snake plant leaves are straight and stunning and stand tall.

But if the snake plant is placed under direct sunlight for a long period. It will start curling its leaves due to the loss of moisture in its leaves and tissue damage.

2. Wilting of Leaves

Snake plants never wilt their leaves if kept in healthy and optimum conditions. But if you provide the snake plant with too much light, it will start to wilt its leaves.

This happens due to the loss of moisture from the leaves.

Usually, the snake plant slowly nourishes the roots and transfers them to the leaf that keeps it healthy.

But due to the extreme light, they lose moisture from their leaves way quicker than they gain from the roots, which causes them to wilt their leaves.

Snake Plant grown under Bright Sunlight in a pot
Snake Plant has grown under Bright Sunlight in a pot

3. Brown Patches on Leaves

Next, you might also notice brown patches appearing on your leaves due to the snake plant getting sunburnt from extreme levels of light.

Snake plants prefer indirect light, and if you place them under direct light for too long. It will affect the tissues on the leaves and cause the brown patches to form.

4. Thick and Yellow leaves

After the snake plant has been kept in the direct sunlight and provided too much light for too long, it will start producing thick and yellow leaves as its newly grown leaves.

This happens due to the survival instincts of the plant, which help it produce thicker leaves to increase the chances of its survival without getting its tissues damaged heavily.

If this happens, the new leaves will also lose their color and appear bleached.

Here is more content for you on snake plant : How to Save Snake Plant from Fungus?

Snake Plant Light Requirement

Snake plants are fine with a wide range of lighting conditions, and they aren’t picky about it while growing.

But to ensure its proper growth, you need to provide it with proper lighting conditions.

To provide optimum light for your snake plant, you need to keep three things in mind, type of light, light duration, and intensity.

Depending on the intensity of the light and how long you keep your snake plant in that light. It will change how your snake plant grows.

1. Type of Light that Snake Plant Needs

Generally, Snake plants prefer being placed under indirect sunlight to enjoy the hint of sunlight but with a filter because direct light can be harmful.

Placing them in direct sunlight and with no sunlight will hinder their growth, but they thrive under bright indirect sunlight.

Despite the snake plant having sturdy and thick leaves that store water. They do not prefer being placed under direct sunlight because of various reasons that I mentioned above.

It can cause the plant to wilt its leaves, cause brown patches and even end up killing the plant if it’s placed under direct sunlight for an extensive period.

Your snake plant will thrive and look exotic if you place it under indirect light near the window facing east.

It helps the snake plant avoid losing its moisture and thrive under the indirect light of the sun.

Under indirect light, the snake plant will have perfect leaves facing upward with flat and sturdy leaves.

They will also have a hint of greyish shade in their leaves which makes them look beautiful.

Healthy Snake Plants
Healthy Snake Plants (Source: Amazon)

2. Light Duration

Generally, snake plants prefer 8 to 10 hours of indirect bright sunlight.

The snake plants can be kept under direct sunlight for a certain period without affecting their growth.

If you decide to place your snake plant under direct sunlight, 4-6 hours per day should be more than enough for its proper growth.

Even though it’s okay to place it under direct sunlight, I would suggest not to.

Snake plants are extremely resilient and can thrive in low-light environments. However, they will develop slowly if there is insufficient light.

3. Light Intensity

Light intensity often varies from the time of the day and also according to the weather. It means how intense the sunlight is on the place where your snake plant is placed.

Light intensity is generally measured in foot candles or lux per square meter.

  • Low – lux 500 to 2500
  • Medium – lux 2500 to 10000
  • High – lux 10000 to 20000

According to the research, snake plant falls under those plants which can flourish in Medium light intensity.

It is best to keep your snake plant in a place where the intensity of light is around 10,000-20,000 lux for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Snake Plants grown under indirect sunlight
Snake Plants grown under indirect sunlight (Source: Amazon)

How to Check if your Snake Plant is Getting Enough Sunlight?

There are two particular ways you can check if your snake plant is getting enough sunlight.

1. Hand Shadow Test

The hand shadow test is one of the most common methods to check the amount of sunlight your plant gets.

First, you need to get a white sheet of paper and put it on the spot where your snake plant was placed.

Then, you need to put your hand above the paper just around the height of your snake plant and spread your fingers to their extent.

Lastly, check the shadow that is cast on the white sheet of paper, and you can determine whether it is getting proper sunlight or not.

If the casted shadow is barely visible, it is getting less sunlight; if it has a visible but Hazy and blurred shadow, then it is getting medium-light; lastly, if the shadow is clear and well defined, it is getting high light.

Hand Shadow Test
Hand Shadow Test Hand Shadow Test (Source: Maxpixel)

2. Lux Meter

The next method is using a Lux meter, which you can buy online or at nearby stores.

The steps are quite simple as you need to get a Lux Meter, place it where the snake plant was placed, and then wait for a few minutes as it measures the light intensity.

If the meter reading is between 1 – 2500 lux, then it means your plant is getting low light.

If it’s between 2500 – 10000 lux, then it’s getting medium-light, and lastly, if the meter reading is between 10000 – 20000 lux, it’s getting high light.

Lux meter checking the light intensity
Lux meter checking the light intensity (Source: Amazon)

Best Location for Snake Plant

Snake plants enjoy filtered light since it aids in the maintenance of their glossy leaves.

They can thrive both indoors and outdoors, provided that they are kept under indirect light. You can grow them outside your house for most of the year.

It is better to keep them inside your room during the winter and keep it near the window so they can enjoy the indirect sunlight in winter.

Place your snake plant at least a few feet away from the window that receives too much direct light or is left open all day.

When you keep them away from the window, make sure they get adequate light.

For full daylight exposure, they prefer the east-facing window.

Snake plant placed near the window
Snake plant placed near the window (Source: Amazon)

Avoid placing the plant directly opposite the air conditioner, as the dry cold air may quickly injure and dehydrate the plant, resulting in dull and pale leaves.

Also, moving your plant from a low-light environment to direct sunlight too soon will stress it.

When moving plants from a darker to a lighter location, do it gradually over the course of a week.

Also, alter your watering practices accordingly; plants in warmer, brighter places will require more water.

You might be interested in reading about: Snake Plant Leaves Curling: Reasons, Solutions & Prevention

How to Grow Snake Plants With Artificial Light?

Snake plants are very adaptive, and they can even be grown under artificial lights with proper conditioning.

It won’t be as good as the sunlight, but even with artificial lights, they grow quite well.

It also depends on the type of artificial lights you are using to grow your snake plant.

You should use about  20 to 40 watts per square foot to have proper lighting and ensure the snake plant’s proper growth.

The amount of time you need to keep your snake plants under artificial lights is around 14-16 hours a day.

Different lights have different effects on the growth of plants, but the power usage and amount of time you need to keep them under it are the same.

Another thing you need to keep in mind while using artificial light is not to keep them under the lights for too long.

It might not cause harm in the short term, but it can affect its growth and size if you just let it be for a long period.

Grow light for snake plant
Grow light for snake plant (Source: Amazon)

1. Fluorescent Lights

Under fluorescent lights, the snake plants grow a bit similar to how they would in the sun due to the blue wavelengths of the light spectrum.

The blue spectrum helps the growth of the leaves in a standard way.

There are various fluorescent lights with various light spectrums that you can use to benefit various parts of the snake plant.

The red spectrum helps the roots of the snake plant with its warmth.

2. Incandescent Lights

Next, you can also use Incandescent lights to grow your snake plant. Like Fluorescent lights, Incandescent light provides a red spectrum of light which helps with the root stimulation.

You can even mix up the fluorescent and incandescent lights to get a better result in growing your snake plant.

I would suggest you use 1/3 of incandescent light and 2/3 of fluorescent light.

3. LED and Halogen Lights

Last but not least is the LED and Halogen lights which are more efficient than the previous lights.

LED lights are quite modern, and with them, you can produce both red and blue wavelengths that the snake plant requires to grow properly.

For the best leaf development and color of your snake plant, use LED grow lights for 12-14 hours each day. Increase the exposure time to 16+ hours if you want them to blossom.

On the other hand, Halogen lights are also full light spectrums that can produce all kinds of light spectrums for the snake plant to grow healthily.

Despite them being a bit expensive than other lights, they are pretty efficient for their work.

Blooming Snake Plants
Blooming Snake Plants (Source: Unsplash.com)

Conclusion

At last, we can say that snake plants are pretty good if you want a beautiful plant that you don’t need to take care of 24/7.

Depending on the light you provide your snake plant, it will thrive accordingly. It will also grow in artificial lights and even without sunlight.

But for a proper and healthy snake plant, you need to provide it with indirect bright light for approximately 8-10 hours a day.

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