Pothos Plant Lighting Guide: Finding the Right Light for Your Indoor Jungle

Understanding Pothos Plant Lighting Needs

Pothos plants, also known as Epipremnum aureum, are among the most popular houseplants due to their low-maintenance nature and ability to thrive in a variety of lighting conditions. Native to the understory of tropical forests, they’ve adapted to flourish in lower light levels but can also prosper with more exposure. One of the key factors to their health and growth, however, is finding the right balance of light.

Low Light Conditions

While pothos can survive in low light, it is important to recognize that ‘low light’ does not mean ‘no light’. They still require some ambient light to conduct photosynthesis. In a low-light environment, growth may slow down, and the variegation on the leaves may become less pronounced. If you only have low light available, choose a variety such as the ‘Jade Pothos’ that is naturally more tolerant of these conditions.

Medium Light Conditions

Medium light is the ideal sweet spot for pothos plants. Naturally bright rooms that are well-lit for most of the day without direct sunlight falling directly on the plants are ideal. In medium light, your pothos will thrive, with steady growth and pronounced variegation on the leaves if it’s a variegated type such as the ‘Golden Pothos’ or ‘Marble Queen’.

Bright, Indirect Light Conditions

Pothos can also excel in bright, indirect light. Rooms with eastern or western exposure that receive bright sunlight during mornings or late afternoons are beneficial. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so it’s crucial to filter the light with sheer curtains or place the plant a few feet away from the window. Under these conditions, you might notice faster growth and more vibrant foliage.

Adjusting for Seasonal Changes in Light

As seasons change, so does the quality and duration of natural light your pothos receives. It’s beneficial to adjust the plant’s position periodically to ensure it has the optimal lighting throughout the year. During the shorter days of winter, for instance, you may need to move your pothos closer to the best available light source.

Artificial Lighting Options for Pothos

If your living space lacks natural lighting, consider using artificial lights. Fluorescent tubes, LED grow lights, or even standard LED office lights can provide your pothos with the necessary wavelengths for photosynthesis. An average of 12 to 14 hours of artificial light per day should suffice, but ensure that the light is not too intense to avoid leaf burn.

Signs Your Pothos Needs Better Lighting

Pothos will often tell you if they’re not getting enough light. Common signs include leggy stems, with large gaps between leaves, or leaves that are smaller than usual. Conversely, if your pothos is getting too much light, the leaves may become pale or show signs of scorching, such as brown spots or edges. Adjusting its position gradually until you find a spot where the plant seems to be happy is key to finding the balance.


In conclusion, proper lighting is crucial for the vitality of a pothos plant. By understanding and adapting to the light requirements of your pothos, you can ensure that it remains a thriving component of your indoor jungle. Keep an eye on your plant’s response to lighting, be prepared to make adjustments when needed, and your pothos will reward you with robust health and dynamic growth.

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