Snake plants, botanically known as Sansevieria, are one of the hardiest plants to grow at home. They require practically nothing to thrive, which is the reason they are so easy to care for. Apart from being low maintenance, they look beautiful too, with erect, bright green leaves. But there are a few things you must keep in mind while growing a snake plant, one of these being snake plant light requirements. In today’s article, we will discuss how much light a snake plant needs in a day along with ideal light conditions.
Snake plants are capable of growing in all kinds of light, be it low light or indirect bright light. And the kind of light they receive determines the growth of the plants. If you’ve kept your snake plant in low light, it will grow slow. But if you’ve put them at the place where it receives bright, indirect light, it will grow swiftly. Just ensure you don’t subject it to harsh, direct sunlight. Also, both too much and too light of light can harm them. So the aim should be to find the perfect balance.
What Is The Difference Between Direct Light And Indirect Light?
Before moving ahead, we would like to discuss the difference between direct and indirect light for houseplants. When you’re growing a houseplant, you must know the difference between direct and indirect light for the proper growth and development of your plant.
Direct light, as the name implies, is the unfiltered light that the plant receives. The easiest way to identify direct light is by noticing the clear shadow that it forms.
When the light does not fall on the foliage, it’s called indirect sunlight. Even natural light that is filtered through curtains or is reflected through floors and windows is indirect light. It might not sound enough to you, but it can be really helpful for the well-being of a plant.
What Type Of Light Do Snake Plants Need?
Some people may assume that since snake plants originate from arid regions, they can tolerate strong, direct sunlight. That’s a wrong assumption, to say the least. Snake plants are indeed sturdy with thick leaves that store water, but they cannot take direct light. Excess heat or sunlight can burn their leaves or distort the shape of the plant.
On the other hand, low light can stunt the growth of the plant and can even give rise to a host of other problems such as droopy leaves.
What Are The Light Requirements Of Snake Plants?
Snake plants are indeed low-maintenance plants, but that doesn’t mean you can take them for granted or keep them in a closet. You should aim to provide them with the ideal environment for their growth. Indirect medium natural light daily is perfect for its optimum growth. You can even try growing snake plants under artificial light, but the growth won’t be prominent enough.
Ideal Light Conditions For A Snake Plant:
Snake plants are highly durable houseplants and grow in a wide variety of light conditions, be it low or high. But the perfect lightning condition for a snake plant would be medium bright light.
What Is The Best Spot For Snake Plants For Receiving Light?
The best thing about snake plants is that you can place them anywhere you want and they will survive. But we don’t want your plant to just survive. We want it to thrive so you must place it somewhere where it can receive a steady flow of indirect light. The best spot would be 4 to 6 feet away from the window sill. Please, do not keep them directly on the window sill as the harsh rays of the afternoon sun will scorch its leaves.
You can even try the rotating method for your snake plant. For instance, keep your snake plant on the office desk for three weeks. Then move it to your living room for around two weeks so that it can make the most of natural light. You can try this method for your other plants as well.
How Much Light Does A Snake Plant Need In A Day?
Just 8 to 10 hours of indirect natural light would be more than enough for your snake plant. Apart from the light, you need to make sure that the other conditions, such as ideal soil mix and water requirements are met.
Growing Snake Plants With Artificial Light
If you get little to no sunshine or any outdoor source of energy in the house, you might think about investing in grow lights to make up for the lost light. It’s not that snake plants won’t grow in artificial lights, but the growth won’t be as fast as you would get when they are exposed to sunlight. Nevertheless, below mentioned are a few artificial light sources for your snake plant.
LED lights or light-emitting diode lights are a popular artificial source of lights for houseplants. These lights last a long time and can produce both red and blue wavelengths, which are required for the proper growth of the plants. They might be a bit more expensive than the other artificial lights, but they are totally worth it in the long run.
Fluorescent light, as most of you must be knowing, emits blue wavelengths. But what you might not know is that these blue wavelengths contribute to the growth of the foliage. For best results, combine fluorescent lights with lights bulbs or warm lights to create the perfect balance of red and blue wavelengths because both are equally important for plants. If blue wavelengths help in foliage growth, red wavelength stimulates the formation of roots.
Fluorescent lights are not very hot, so you can place them nearer to your houseplants without worrying about the heat scorching the plants. But its best placement is a couple of feet away from the foliage.
Incandescent lights emit red wavelengths that stimulate root formation, making them one of the best artificial lights for houseplants. Experts believe that incandescent lights work best for houseplants when they are combined with fluorescent lights. The best combination would be one-third incandescent light and two-thirds fluorescent light in terms of wattage. In case you’re wondering, incandescent lights generate more heat, so it’s best to use less of it for houseplants. And place your plants a bit further from the light for best results.
Halogen lights are highly preferred for greenhouses as they provide a strong and full light spectrum. But the major problem with them is that they are not energy efficient and generate too much heat. If you’re thinking of going with halogen lights for your snake plant, we would suggest you keep it at some distance from the plant.
Signs Your Snake Plant Isn’t Receiving Enough Light:
Droopy Snake Plant:
If your snake plant has started drooping or leaning with saggy leaves, it’s a cue that it needs more light. The leaves at the lower portion of the part are first to get affected. Slowly and steadily, they move upwards.
When the plant doesn’t get enough light, its soil will remain soggy. Soggy soil can be detrimental to the well-being of your plant as they give rise to a fungus called root rot which has the potential to kill a plant.
If you’re noticing the stunted growth of your snake plant, it’s time for you to give attention to its lighting requirements. When the snake plant doesn’t get its required amount of light, it starts conserving energy for survival, which affects the growth of the plant.
As mentioned above, wet or soggy soil paves way for root rot, a condition that can destroy your plant. So if the foliage or any part of the plant is turning yellow or brown, or if the plant is emitting a rotten smell, it could be because of root rot. In this case, you need to act as soon as possible.
The leaves of the snake plant turn soggy when it doesn’t receive a sufficient amount of light.
The solution for all the above problems is one- showing a sufficient amount of light to your snake plant. Please note that you must never place your snake plant in an area where it is subjected to harsh, direct sunlight. It will do your plant worse than any good. Indirect sunlight filtered by a curtain is best for snake plants. Just ensure to move it away to slightly darker places when the sunlight isn’t extremely harsh.
Signs Your Snake Plant Is Receiving Too Much Light
Not just too little, but even too much light can affect the health of your snake plant. Below mentioned are some signs your snake plant is receiving too much light.
Thin, Black Or Brown, Scorched Leaves:
If the leaves of your snake plant have become too thin over time or it has started turning dark brown or black in color, it means that it’s getting too much light.
Weirdly so, droopy leaves are also a sign of excessive light. The only way to differentiate here is by checking the leaves of the plant. If the leaves look thin, burnt, and crispy, it’s probably due to an excessive amount of light.
Dry, Cracked Soil:
If you’re seeing dry and cracked soil despite regular watering of plants, it could be due to excess light. Excess light and heat absorb moisture from the soil, leaving it dry and parched.
There’s nothing much to do here, except moving your plant away from the light source to a dim corner. When the snake plant starts recovering, you can give it some indirect, filtered light. Also, clip or trim the yellow or brown leaves to stimulate new growth.
FAQs About Snake Plant Light Requirements
Q. Can snake plants grow in low light conditions?
A. Snake plants are highly versatile and can grow in low light and shady corners as well, which isn’t the case with most plants. But do not expect them to grow at a fast rate if you’ve placed them in dim areas. Yes, it won’t die because of it, but neither would it be as healthy and colorful compared to another snake plant grown in medium, indirect light. So we would suggest you not place your snake plant in areas where there are no doors or windows.
Q. Can snake plants tolerate high light conditions?
A. If you’re growing your snake plant outdoors, you can keep it outside and it will grow quite well. But if you’re growing your snake plant indoor, then avoid showing it full, direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves, making your plant droopy.
Q. What kind of light is best for snake plants?
A. The best kind of lighting condition for snake plans is definitely indirect sunlight. Snake plants perform best in natural light, but not scorching, direct sunlight. Hence, indirect sunlight is best for growing your snake plant.
Q. Can snake plants survive without light?
A. Each and every plant need light for photosynthesis. So if you’re a plant parent, it’s your duty to provide light to your plant, either natural or artificial. Since snake plants are low maintenance plants, they will do well in medium light well. However, even in low light conditions, they will survive, provided the other growing conditions are met.
Q. Can I grow snake plants under artificial lights?
A. As mentioned above, you can definitely grow snake plants under artificial lights, but do not expect the result to be the same as you get with natural light.
Q. Can I grow a snake plant without windows?
A. Yes, you can, but you’ll need to take the help of grow lights to make up for the lost light. I personally prefer this grow light by GE Lighting. Just fit the bulb in any standard holder anywhere in your house, and keep the plant under it for 6 to 8 hours. You’ll see your plant growing slowly, but steadily.
We hope our article answered all your queries on the lighting requirements of snake plants. Snake plants are beautiful and versatile and very easy to care for, even if you are not very attentive towards them. Just place them at a spot where they can forever receive indirect sunlight, and you’re sorted. And of course, provide them the ideal growing conditions such as the right temperature, soil, and water and they will thrive happily.
Aiza Siddiqui is one of the content providers in Gardener’s Toolbox. From a very young age, Aiza has been passionate about gardening, which explains her choice of major in studies. She holds a BSc Degree in Botany from the University of Calcutta. Aiza is a green thumb through and through and owns more than 100 different types of plants. Every article that she contributes to Gardener’s Toolbox is written by doing extensive research and from her own experience with planting and gardening. Hoping that you will find her articles on different houseplants helpful.