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How Much Light does a Spider Plant Require?

Spider ivy or ribbon plant, commonly known as spider plants, is an evergreen flowering plant.

Spider plants require simple planting and gardening care to sustain a long and healthy life.

One of those essential plant tips is the quantity of light that the spider plant receives.

How much light do Spider Plants require, then? And how can you maintain your spider plant’s growth by providing adequate light? Let’s find out.

Generally, spider plants require indirect sunlight for at least 8-10 hours. Exposure to indirect sunlight of medium to high-intensity lighting conditions is highly suitable for proper growth. 

A spider plant
Spider Plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Changes in lighting conditions can affect the growth of your spider plant. This article will help you find out the spider plant’s light requirements.

Please continue reading to determine whether your spider plant is getting adequate light or too little of how you could ensure that it gets the optimum amount of sunlight.

Can Spider Plants Survive without Sunlight?

Spider plants, although can survive and tolerate low light, thrive best at medium to high light intensity conditions.

Generally, spider plants require around 8-10 hours of indirect sunlight. It sums up the point that it needs sunlight for a whole lot of time to sustain a healthy life.

And can get Sunburnt when placed in the full afternoon Sun.

They can aggressively grow and spread in 10-11 Zones.

Without sunlight, the condition of spider plants can worsen with adverse effects such as disease infestation and nutrient deficiencies as sunlight is one of its primary nutrient sources.

They experienced a prolonged growth process when placed at a dark spot.

Regular watering and fertilizing will not save the plant if it is not exposed to sunlight.

Certain factors determine whether a plant will grow or survive. One of those is lighting.

Spider plant grown under improper sunlight condition
Spider plant grown under improper sunlight conditions

Signs your Spider Plant needs More or Less Light

Spider plants are easy to care plants, and they are very adaptable to different conditions.

They are one of the very few plants that are tolerant of numerous light levels. 

The varying characteristics of a spider plant can provide us with a knowledge of whether the plant has an inadequate or over-supply of light.

Let’s have a look at those characteristics.

Signs your Spider Plant is Light Deprived

Here are a few signs you may notice that point towards your spider plant not receiving an adequate amount of light.

  1. Leaves Leaning towards the Source of Light

    It’s no surprise that, like any other plant, spider plants need light as a factor to photosynthesize and grow.

    It is why the spider plant’s leaves lean towards the source of light if it is not getting an adequate amount of light.

  2. Rotting Smell from the Soil

    Light plays a significant role in drying the potting soil of a plant. Thus, this is a no-brainer.

    On exposure to low light, the soil does not dry for weeks.

    The potting soil dries out quickly when the plant receives adequate sunlight as light would speed up the loss of moisture from the soil.

    Lack of sufficient light would mean that the soil would have a rotting odor. In general cases, the soil of the spider plant has a pleasant earthy musk.

    If the soil is dug deep, then you can see that the roots would have turned rusty brown or black indicating root rot.

    Spider plant going under root rot
    Spider plant going under root rot (Source: Unsplash)
  3. Changes in the Leaves Color and Discoloration

    When your spider plant does not receive an ample amount of light, it is likely to get undernourished.

    The grasslike leaves turn yellow. The tender leaves turn yellow at first. The change follows in the color of all other plant leaves.

    Besides the change in the color of the leaves into yellow, it also turns as if the leaves had been washed out.

    It happens because the leaves gradually lose their chlorophyll due to a lack of exposure to light.

  4. Absence of New Growth

    Although spider plants are highly adaptable and can tolerate low light intensity conditions, they wouldn’t show any form of additional growth.

    The spider plant would stay dormant for as long as it does not receive exposure to natural sunlight.

  5. Wilting

    In light-deprived conditions, Spider plants will struggle to make food from the obtained nutrients and water they are getting.

    As a result, they won’t take it as vitamins and begin to wilt.

    Limp and Droopy Spider Plant
    Limp and Droopy Spider Plant

Signs of Light Saturated Spider Plant

The following characteristics of a spider plant point towards your spider plant receiving more than the required amount of light.

  1. Stripes on the leaves turned excessively bright and striking

    When a spider plant is exposed to too much light, the primary sign is that its stripes on the leaves become overly striking.

    In simpler terms, the white or yellow color on the stripes becomes bright under exposure to too much lighting.

  2. Leaves starting to curl

    A healthy spider plant has arched leaves. However, if exposed to too much light, the heat produced causes very high moisture loss in the spider plant.

    If the spider plant loses more moisture than it is getting from its roots, it can lose the pressure exerted by water.

    Causing the leaves of the plant to curl inwards and show signs such as dry and drooping leaves.

    Underwatering your Spider plant when they are exposed to high intensity of sunlight leads to tissue damage.

    Scorched Spider Plant Leaves
    Scorched Spider Plant Leaves
  3. Tips of the leaves turned brown

    As mentioned above, excessive light exposure is the cause of heat produced that leads to moisture loss in the spider plant.

    It manifests in the form of the tips of leaves of the spider plant turning brown.

    If the spider plant continues to be exposed to excessive light, the entire plant will have its leaves turned dry and brown due to sunburn.

    Brown Tip on Spider Plant Leaves
    Brown Tip on Spider Plant Leaves

    If your Spider is showing any of these signs it is best to relocate it to a shadier place.

Spider Plant Light Requirements

Spider plants are highly adaptable to light conditions. They are, therefore, okay with an extensive range of lighting conditions.

To ensure the proper growth of a spider plant, you need to provide your spider plant with medium to high light intensity conditions.

They do not thrive that well in low-level light intensity conditions.

However, Spider plants should never be exposed to direct sunlight.

Exposure to sunlight for half an hour to an hour in the morning is not harmful, but too much sunlight in the afternoon can be detrimental to the health of spider plants.

Type of Light, Spider Plant Needs 

Placing spider plants under indirect sunlight of medium to bright intensity will help grow the plant.

Generally, Spider plants prefer exposure to bright and indirect sunlight for around 8-10 hours.

A spider plant exposed to bright sunlight
Spider Plant exposed to bright sunlight (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Though the plant can survive in a temperature as low as 35°F but for a thriving Spider plant make sure that it is around 55-85°F.

Placing the spider plant in bright or high intense sunlight directly without any shade for an entire day could cause the above-listed signs.

However, if the spider plant is not provided with bright lighting or medium lighting, it will stay dormant for a long time.

How to Ensure Optimum Light for Spider Plant?

Here is what you need to know to ensure that your spider plant gets optimum light.

  1. Light Intensity

    Although there isn’t an exact intensity rate for the spider plant to receive optimum light, it is preferable to say that the light intensity should be in the 100-1000 foot candles range.

    The range between 100-1000 covers both medium and high light intensity conditions for your spider plant.

    In this range, the spider plant would propel its growth.

    Lets’s see the categorization for light intensity.

    • Low light: 25-100 foot-candles; 250-1000 lux
    • Medium-light: 100-500 foot-candles; 1000-5000 lux
    • High bright light: 500-1000 foot-candles; 5000-10,000 lux
    • Direct sunlight: A reading above 1000 foot candles; >10,000 lux

    You should not, therefore, plant your spider plant in a spot with a light reading below 25-foot candles.

    For artificial lighting, the range of 500 to 1000 foot candles is ideal.

  2. Light Duration 

    As mentioned earlier in the article, you should ensure that your spider plant receives around 8-10 hours of medium to bright indirect sunlight each day.

    For most of the time in a day, you can put your spider plant under the exposure of sunlight, but be careful as too much light saturation can cause tissue damage.

    The measure of the number of hours of light a plant required each day can be classified as:

    • Short day –6-8 hours.
    • Long day –8-14 hours.
    • Day-neutral –Plants insensitive to different day length.

    Spider plant fall in the category of plant a long-day plant.

    Artificial lighting can undoubtedly help in cases of the absence of natural light.

    But providing 8 or 9 hours of artificial lighting would do no good to the plant. Your spider plant would require at least 12 hours of supplemental lighting.

  3. Plant Location

    Location matters while ensuring the light requirement of your plant.

    No matter if it is indoor or outdoor, just make sure they are in a place receiving at least faint but bright sunlight.

    Because spider plants require lighting, especially indirectly, placing your spider plant indoors in front of an east-facing window is ideal.

    If you plan to grow your spider plant near a south-facing window, you should ensure that your spider plant receives some shade during the day.

    During the summer, you can get enough light by placing it near a window, but in the winter, light in the same place may not be enough, so relocating Spider plant is a must.

    When natural light is not available due to bad weather or other reasons, artificial light may be sufficient to replace it for a certain period of time.

    Spider Plant Yellow and Green Blades
    Spider Plant Yellow and Green Blades
    (Source: Pixahive)

Methods to Check if your Spider Plant is Getting Enough Sunlight

Below are some standard methods used to determine if your spider plant is getting enough sunlight.

1. The Hand Shadow Test

The Hand Shadow Test is an easy test to use the strength of the shadow cast by your hand to determine the intensity of light hitting a specific area.

  • When the Sun is shining the brightest, put a white sheet of paper in front of your spider plant. Or position your hand about 12 inches(30 cm) directly above the spider plant.
  • Put your hand just above the paper aligned to the height of your spider plant. And fully spread your fingers.
  • Check the shadow cast on the white paper.
  • If the shadow is barely visible, it points towards your spider plant, getting less sunlight.
  • If the shadow is hazy, it points towards your spider plant getting medium light.
  • And if the shadow is clear, crisp, high-contrast, and well-defined, it points towards your spider plant getting high light.

The hand-shadow test is, however, the least precise method.

Hand Shadow Test (Source: Unsplash)

2. Using a lux meter

Using a lux meter can provide a precise measurement of how much light your spider plant is getting.

  • Place a lux meter in front of where you have panted your spider plant.
  • Wait until the lux meter measures the intensity of light.
  • If the value in meter reading is anything above 1075 lux, then it means your spider plant is getting adequate light.

Below are a few conversions you should keep in mind while using a lux meter.

  • 1 lux = .0929 foot-candle (FC)
  • 1 lux = 1 lumen per sqm
Lux meter checking the light intensity
Lux meter checking the light intensity (Source: Amazon)

Can Spider Plant Grow in Low Light?

An easy to grow plant, the Spider plant prefers to be in shade.

It can easily tolerate low indirect light but experience a prolonged growth process when placed at a dark spot

When your spider plant does not receive an ample amount of light for a longer period, it is likely to get undernourished.

As a result, it fails to produce those beautiful Foliage.

It happens because the leaves gradually lose their chlorophyll due to a lack of exposure to light.

If you are unable in providing the optimum indirect sunlight, artificial lights can do wonders for your plant.

Can you Grow Spider Plants with Artificial Light? 

It must have been clear by now that spider plants are incredibly adaptable. They grow well in almost all lighting conditions except for a long exposure to direct sunlight.

However, it isn’t easy to supply enough natural sunlight indoors. Even a spider plant, an easy-to-care plant, has some basic and needs to be fulfilled lighting requirements when planted indoors.

Artificial lighting is used to make up for the absence or lack of natural light exposures and sunlight.

With technological advancements, we have Grow lights. They are the most commonly used form of artificial lighting.

Artificial lighting such as fluorescent light bulbs, LEDs, and grow lights help photosynthesize the spider plants in the absence or lack of adequate natural light.

Below listed are some factors you should consider while using artificial light sources.

  1. Right Light Temperature

    Light bulbs with varying temperatures are required for growing a plant.

    Light Temperature Scale
    Light Temperature Scale (Source: Wikimedia)

    However, with Spider Plant white light or daylight bulb of 6000k-6500k provide full-spectrum lightening.

  2. Right Grow Light

    Few recommendations for Artificial Grow lights is given in the table below:

    Nothing beats Natural Sunlight; it is the best form of lighting for your Spider Plant.

    Light BulbSpecificationImage
    VIVOSUN T5 Grow Light BulbsCool and balanced T5 lamps emit a flat blue and violet spectrum at 6500K.
    Hydrofarm Agrobrite FLC32DProduces 1800 lumens and 6400K temp. that will last an average of 10,000 hours
    2-Pack T5 HO Grow LightEach bulb produces 2500 lumens in a cool white shade perfect for indoor gardens.
  3. Watering Schedule

    Be careful on limiting the water intake for your plant when kept under artificial light.

    Watering your Spider once a week would be enough under controlled environment

    Moreover, no need for water cuttings during winter since your plant will be growing actively.

    watering with Long Spout on Mini Watering Can
    Watering Plant (Source: Amazon)
  4.  Light Quality and Distance

    Maintaining an appropriate distance between the light source and the plant will ensure the balanced growth of the plant.

    Keeping the spider plant close to the light source can cause the plant to dry out quickly.

    Make sure there is a minimum distance of 12-24 inches between the Spider plant and a more than 15 watt grow light.

    If the spider plant is young, place it at least 6-12 inches closer to the light source.

    The spectrum of light used by plants is called photosynthetically active radiation and consists of red and blue light.

    Plants that do not flower, such as Spider, may need blue light or mixed light to obtain green leaves.

  5. Direction of the Provided Light

    In most plants, grow lights must be focused entirely on the plant as supplemental lighting doesn’t provide much light like the Sun.

    But in the case of spider plants, the grow light should be focused near the plant and not on the plant.

    Spider plants prefer reflected light over direct light, so it is provided with indirect light even when exposed to natural sunlight.

    Providing such a condition would help your spider plant grow well, even in indoor environments. 

    In case if you only have the space to focus your supplemental lighting directly to your spider plant, you could limit the exposure of the grow lights for just 5 to 6 hours.

    However, this would not help your spider plant have optimum use of the light provided.

    Nor would your spider plant thrive properly. But it will indeed survive the condition until you transfer your spider plant to its preferred requirements.

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The Bottom Line

The spider plant is among the easiest to care for and adaptable plants you can grow in your house.

It is also known for its air-purifying characteristics, which means that it is an excellent addition to creating a healthy atmosphere at your home.

The life and growth of your spider plant depend on the amount of light you provide to your plant.

Provide proper exposure to sunlight for a thriving Spider Plant.

Is your Spider Plant still going through Problems? Here is what you need: 12 Spider Plant Problems and Their Solutions.

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