How Much Light Does a Snake Plant Need?

Snake plants are tolerant of most indoor lighting conditions, compared to other species of succulent.

But the amount of light it gets can be a major factor in the extent to which your snake plant is thriving.

Snake plants require at minimum 8-10 hours of bright indirect light per day However, they can take as long as 5-6 hours in direct sun. Place them near windows facing east or grow lights for the best results. Small leaves, leggy growth and a change in leaf color suggest a lack of light.

This article will explain precisely the amount of light you need and also how to identify and correct common light problems.

Do Snake Plants Need Sunlight?

While snake plants are robust, they require sunlight to boost growth and produce healthier leaves.

In addition, they require sunlight to photosynthesis. This is an essential process that allows plants to transform water, oxygen, as well as light, into energy, in the form of carbohydrates.

Although snake plants can be tolerant of dim indoor lighting, they can turn sloppy and leggy. They can also become sickly. In certain instances, they can appear sluggish, die and then die.

It is important to remember the fact that lights for growing can be successfully utilized to cultivate snake plants to supplement or instead of sunlight.

snake plant near window

How Many Hours of Light Do Snake Plants Need?

Plant parents love the mother-in-law’s tongue since they are tolerant of plants. They can tolerate a variety of lighting conditions, such as partial shade, sun, as well as low-light.

The recommended amount of hours of exposure will differ according to how intense the sunlight. The ideal situation is that your snake plants need daily 8-10 hours of direct, bright sunlight (source: University of Florida).

It is important to note that snake plants can withstand as long as 5-6 hours in direct sunlight. If it’s too hot, the sun can scorch the leaves and cause the leaves turning brown and wilting. and edges.

How to Check How Much Light My Snake Plant Is Getting

[1] The Hand Shadow Test

If you’re looking to determine the amount of light the plant’s spider is receiving hand shadow tests is a no-cost but effective method. For the test you could make use of any object such as sticks instead of your hands.

  1. Place a large, white piece of paper over the area the plant is located.
  2. Place your hands approximately 12 inches (30 centimeters) just above the area the plant will be placed. Do this test at noon to get the most precise results.
  3. Make sure your fingers are evenly distributed and spread wide
  4. Examine the shadow that is created on the paper with your fingers. What do you notice?

The more clear or defined the hand shadow you cast with your hands the stronger (or more bright) the light that hits the area. Here’s how you can read the test of shadows cast by your hand:

  • Low light – If you can’t see a discernible shadow or no shadow whatsoever, the area is in low light. It is not a good idea to have your snake plant to be in this dark area.
  • Medium-light – A space that receives moderate light creates hand shadows that are blurred, hazy, or even fuzzy. Yet, it’s still identifiable.
  • Light that is bright – A place which is illuminated by bright light creates an unmistakable, clear shadow. It is easy to easily discern your fingers. If the light source is indirect or filtered the snake plant will be at right at home in this area.

In general, windows facing south let in the most light, then east and west-facing windows. They are in this order.

North exposure is typically the darkest. It is important to remember that the brightness of light decreases dramatically as you move away from the source or window of light.

[2] Using a Lux Meter

There are two important indicators that will tell you how the amount of light the snake plant is receiving. The first is amount of light that is produced, the second one is the intensity of light.

A Lux meter is a device that measures the intensity of light, that is, in essence, how intense or strong the light source is. Lux is the equivalent one lumen for each square meters.

Since snake plant species thrive in light-filled environments and require a meter reading of between Lux 10,000 to 20,000 is ideal. However, they are able to survive in moderate-light conditions in the Lux between 2,500 and 10,000.

Pro suggestion to consider investing in a mid-range Lux meters is a smart investment, and more when you own several plants in your home.

It is advisable to purchase a multi-function model which can read additional parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, and so on.

Signs That Your Snake Plant Isn’t Getting Enough Light

[1] Leggy Growth

If it’s not getting enough sunlight, your snake plant will naturally react to stay healthy and healthy and alive. It’ll expand as if “reaching” towards wherever there’s sunlight.

There could be a significant increase in the distance between the leaves and the plant, which makes it appear unattractive.

The spaces between leaves are referred to as internodes. If they’re more than usual, it’s an indication that your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight.

Leggy, thin and floppy growth is another sign of a lack of light. It is typically observed in taller varieties of snake plants.

[2] Leaning Towards Light Sources

Snake plants rely on red and blue light to achieve optimal photosynthesis. Therefore, it tends to be drawn to lighting sources or conduits such as windows when it’s not getting enough of these radiations.

Phototropism is the natural reaction that causes plants to tilt towards light.

Despite their toughness and tough, the leaves with thick streaks can lean as much as they can towards the light.

This is an obvious sign of the lack of light reaching these leaves.

It is possible to correct this issue temporarily by turning your plant. This allows the foliage on the opposite side to absorb the necessary sunlight radiations.

If not, you’ll need to move the snake plant in a more dimly lit, indirect area.

[3] Producing Small Leaves

Small and thin leafs on snake plant could also indicate a lack of light. Light plays an important part in the growth of your plant and health through photosynthesis.

If you don’t have enough energy or food Your snake plant won’t be able to take care of its roots, leaves, or the new growth.

Small leaves typically go with other signs such as long internodes. Actually, these drab leaves tend to be washed and somewhat loose.

New leaves that are far from the light source available are the most difficult to kill. They’re not just small, but appear pale, sluggish and often dead.

[4] No New Growth

As we’ve mentioned before photosynthesis is the primary factor to development. Therefore, the inability to get light can halt the development of new leaves as well as roots and flowers.

There won’t be any growth when your snake plant doesn’t get enough sunlight for weeks or even months.

It is important to recognize snake plants have slow growth or dormancy in the winter months.

If your plant is not active during the spring and summer months, it’s an alarming sign. It must be moved to a spot in which it can get plenty of light.

[5] Abnormal Leaf Color

If the conditions are favorable when the conditions are right, the snake plant has healthy, robust upright leaves that have silver-colored streaks of grey, which is why they get the name “snake.

The leaves show stunning shades of green that tells you they’re brimming with chlorophyll.

However, the any loss of color or unusual leaf color indicates an issue with low light. Certain leaves can be washed out, while others may begin to pale.

In certain instances, the snake plant loses its gorgeous streaks or edges that are creamed.

The yellowed or browned leaves are another obvious sign of a serious shortage of light.

If the situation continues the entire leaf may become yellow, shrink and then collapse.

[6] Browning Leaves & Tips

The snake plant is much better in bright sunlight. While it will adapt to dim light levels, its growth rate will decrease.

If the area is too much, the plant will devote the majority of its energy to keeping alive, which means that extremes such as leaf tips and edges are prone to being damaged.

The older leaf and the lower ones will begin to turn yellow and then develop brown margins on the leaves. Be aware the snake plant can grow brown tips and leaves when exposed to excessive sunlight, and also.

Consider moving your snake plant to an east-facing window. Utilize a lux meter to eliminate the guesswork of the procedure.

[7] Leaves Dropping/Collapsing

Like you, your snake plant doesn’t like change. Although they’re drought-resistant they shed leaves when faced with stressors like lack of light.

This is a natural method to reduce its “burden to ensure there are fewer leaves to keep

The oldest and lower leaves tend to be the first ones to die. They’ll change color, turn yellow, die and fall off.

The leaf may droop before falling off if the soil does not dry enough quickly which can lead to excessive watering and root decay.

Pay attention to any other diseases which could trigger snake plant shed their leaves. It is important to eliminate the possibility of overwatering, cold drafts conditions, and humidity.

[8] Soil Not Drying Out for Weeks

Light speeds the process of removing water in the soil. If your snake plant is located in an area with a lot of light it will not dry out for long periods of time. If this is not addressed, it can cause the roots to become suffocated and lead to root decay.

Put your finger in the soil. If the soil is sloppy or damp the snake plant could be in trouble.

If the plant has been buried in wet soil for a few weeks it could be covered in dark brown or black, soft roots that have been that are affected by root rot.

How to Provide More Light

[1] Best Location for Snake Plants

When your plant’s snake is acting up because of a lack of light, it is important to bring it closer to the source of light. The plant prefers an area that is warm and brightly lit area with temperatures that are above fifty degrees Fahrenheit (10degC).

The ideal location is one with plenty of direct, bright light. In the majority of areas it is near an east-facing door, window, or skylight.

The snake plant takes advantage of the soft but bright sun in the morning, and will avoid harsher sunrays later during the day.

Windows that face north aren’t bad also. However, you should make sure that the plant is closest to the window in order to take full benefit of the sun’s rays.

The same applies to the light that is filtered from west-facing and south-facing windows. It is possible to make use of curtains or drapes to block the hot sunlight.

After all is done and dusted it is recommended to make use of a lux meter. This will eliminate the uncertainty and make sure that your vehicle is in an area that is receiving optimal lighting conditions.

[2] Get a Grow Light & Put Plants Wherever You Like!

It’s good news! Snake plants are quite adaptable in terms of lighting, and you can use the grow light to bid goodbye to the scorching sun.

In addition, you could make use of these LED light sources when the sun’s exposure is low during the shorter winter days.

LED lights light up your plants with blue and red rays of the spectrum of light. They’re durable, energy efficient and stylish. However, they can be exorbitantly costly.

Be sure to use the LED lights to grow your plants for 12-14 hours every day to ensure maximum development and the best color. If you wish to see them flower, increase the light intensity to more than 16 hours.

Alternately, you can make use of an assortment of incandescent and fluorescent grow lights with a proportion of 1:2. You’re lucky, because your snake plants are able to be placed anywhere with grow lights.

Signs That Your Snake Plant Is Getting Too Much Light

[1] Wilting During the Hottest Hours of the Day

In ideal conditions, those leaves must be healthy, perked, and straight.

But, too much light can cause leaves to lose water at a more than being absorbed by the roots.

The leaves begin to dry and then begin to begin to wilt. The wilting can be particularly aggressive in the summer months between 12 noon and 4 pm.

This is the time when loss of moisture is at its highest. Make sure to relocate the snake to an area that is shaded spot during these times.

[2] Snake Plant Leaves Curling

Leaves of a well-cared for snake plant are flat and point upwards.

But, if they are exposed to light for too long the heat can cause tissue damage, as well as too many moisture loss and cause the leaves to curled downwards.

The leaves of some snake plants may be able to curl upwards due to heat or light stress. This can be particularly noticeable in the event that air conditions are cold or dry.

Snake plants are a type of succulents. They prefer temperatures between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32degC).

A lot of light won’t just dehydrate your plant however, the snake plant can react to heat stress by curving or wrinkles.

[3] Brown Leaf Edges or Tips

Also, too much light accelerates the loss of moisture in the leaf. The leaf edges (tips as well as edges) to burn and become brown.

In certain instances it could be a sign that your plant is in need of water, particularly if the leaves appear dry and crisp to the feel.

But don’t be too quick to eliminate other possible causes for brown leaf edges and tips.

Sunburn from fertilizer, underwatering temperatures, sunburn, and root rot are all possible causes of similar.

[4] Brown Spots on the Leaves

If you see brown spots scattered across the leaves on your plant, it’s a sign of sunburn caused by excessive direct sunlight. The spots could also appear translucent or pale.

Snake plants love bright, well-filtered or indirect light to flourish. But direct sunlight can result in tissue injury and can cause brown spots to appear.

They are clearly visible on the leaves that are exposed to west or south-facing windows.

[5] Yellowing and Thickening of New Growth

When you observe that your new growth is more yellow and thicker than usual the snake plant could be getting too much sun.

It is common to see the leaves turning brown, yellowing as well as drooping and wilting.

This occurs when the radiation is intense enough that it burns or scorches leaves.

New growth is likely to react by thickening, increasing the chance of the chance of survival. The new leaves could appear pale, washed-out, or even bleached.

[6] Excessively Compact and Stunted Growth

Too much or too little light can shock you snake plants to the point that they slow its growth.

If your plant is small and doesn’t show signs of a robust growth rate It’s time to reconsider the conditions under which it is growing.

Remove it from the area in which the light is too bright. The leaves with brown and sunburned spots are unlikely to be revived So, trim them off.

How to Ensure Optimum Light for Snake Plant

[1] Light Duration

The duration of light will determine how much light your snake plant will get.

As I’ve said that your plant will perform very well if it gets 8-10 hours of indirect, bright sunlight. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you expose to up to 4-6 hours a day.

[2] Light Intensity

Light intensity is a measure of the strength of light. Snake plants thrive in areas that are surrounded by intense light, but they can also be happy with light that is medium bright.

Snake plants store water in their leaves to release some heat. But, it is important to be careful not to expose yourself to direct sunlight particularly during the hot time between midday and 4 pm.

To reduce the loss of water make sure to place your plant in indirect, bright sunlight. This can be achieved by placing it in an east-facing window.

When you’re growing with grow light ensure that your plants receive the brightness of 10,000 to 20,000 Lux for 12-14 hours a day.

Last Words

The amount of light the snake plant gets will affect how it flourishes. Insufficient light can make your plants get sunburned or wilt and then get soiled.

Insufficient light can result in a floppy, leggy growth. The leaves can be yellow or wilt and then fall off.

The most effective method of maintenance is to supply the snake with eight to ten hours light indirect or filtered light. It is also possible to use grow lights for 12-14 hours so that you don’t need to worry about the place to plant it.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)