Arrowhead Plant Light Requirements
The light requirements of arrowhead plants are often misunderstood. They’re often (mis-)categorized as low light plants, despite their need for bright light conditions.
While it’s true that arrowheads will survive even in dim natural light, you can’t expect them to thrive in low light. And they won’t. These plants will thrive only in bright light conditions.
Bright light does not equal direct light, however. I will discuss the difference between different types of light exposure and the type of light arrowheads will benefit most.
Because adequate light exposure is one of the chief requirements of these aroids, I will dedicate a whole article to discussing these requirements.
I will also be discussing the signs of too much or too little light exposure along with some tips on where to position your arrowhead plant for best results.
What Type of Light Do Arrowhead Plants Need?
The light needs of arrowhead plants can be described as bright, indirect light. These are the light requirements of most aroid plants.
What does this mean? It means that even though arrowheads don’t need direct light exposure, they do need access to bright light.
How does this look in practice? Simply, keeping this plant in a room that’s bright and which gets light for most of the day.
Now, there’s also a distinction between natural light and artificial light. Normally, you’d have arrowheads growing in natural light.
But that’s not always possible. For example, a house that’s positioned in a way that it doesn’t get much or gets little natural light won’t offer your arrowhead as much light as it needs.
This is where artificial growth lights get into the scene.
Here’s a quick comparison of the different types of light and how they benefit your arrowhead plant:
Natural sunlight is essential for plant growth and development of healthy foliage. Arrowheads that are exposed to bright light will thrive.
Indirect light or filtered light works best for these plants. Direct light – especially strong direct light – should be avoided.
When the arrowhead plant is exposed to strong direct light, you’ll notice the leaves becoming scorched and the leaves becoming discolored.
Gentle morning direct light and gentle late afternoon light is tolerated, especially in winter when the sun isn’t that strong to begin with.
Other descriptions you’ll see of the light requirements of arrowhead plants are moderate or filtered light.
Stronger light that is filtered either by a tree outdoors or curtains for arrowheads grown indoors is also optimal for these plants.
– Artificial Light
Artificial lights are another type of light that can work for arrowheads, especially when natural light isn’t as abundant.
Arrowheads can benefit from fluorescent lights available in offices, for example, but artificial grow lights such as LED grow lights are even better.
LED grow lights can offer your indoor plants similar light intensity, light waves and the necessary amounts of blue and red light needed to stimulate vegetative growth.
You can easily find LED grow lamps or LED grow bulbs to supplement the lack of natural light available to your indoor plants.
Because LED grow lights have become quite advanced, there’s nothing stopping you anymore from growing different types of plants indoors, even those that need high-intensity light.
A benefit of LED grow lights compared to fluorescent ones is the fact that they don’t emit as much heat, so you can place them above your plant without the fear of burning the plant.
Signs of Too Much Light on Arrowhead Plants
If you’ve accidentally left your arrowhead out in the sun, or if you’ve placed it on the windowsill of a south-facing window, your arrowhead can suffer irreversible foliage damage as a result.
The signs of too much direct light include:
- Yellowing leaves or leaves turning yellow
- Crispy, scorched leaves
- Curled leaves with browning leaf margins
Unfortunately, once the leaves are damaged, they’ll not recover. You can remove damaged leaves by cutting them at their base with a clean, sanitized blade.
These leaves will eventually fall even if they’re not removed. Still, it’s better to remove them to allow the plant to divert energy and nutrients into developing new growth.
Strong direct light can also severely dehydrate the plant, making it extremely difficult for it to recover.
Because sun damage can be so detrimental to your arrowhead plant, I recommend carefully choosing the position of your arrowheads.
Further in the article, I’ll give you some tips on how to choose the best spot in your home for your arrowhead plant.
Signs of Lack of Light on Arrowhead Plants
The other extreme – lack of light – is also bad for arrowhead vines. It’s not that these plants can’t survive in lower light, it’s just that low light is not enough for them.
When plants that need ample amounts of light don’t receive enough of it, they develop something called etiolation.
This is the plant’s response to lack of light. Basically, the plant shoots out long vines in search of light.
These vines are thin, unable to sustain large leaf growth, so they make the plant look leggy and disheveled.
Sometimes, the plant stops growing altogether because it’s unable to sustain any growth.
Apart from these, there are often changes in the coloration of leaves as well. For example, variegated arrowhead plant leaves often lose their variegation. Sometimes, the leaves will look bleached or pale because of a lack of chlorophyll.
If you notice the following symptoms on your arrowhead vine, it’s almost certain that they’re caused by a lack of light:
- Long, thin vines with small leaves or no leaves at all
- Loss of leaf variegation
- Loss of leaf color – a bleached aspect
- Stunted growth
The only way to manage this problem is to move the plant to a different location. Offering the plant more light will help its development and growth.
Leaf variegation can return, the plant can put out stronger vines that will support large leaves and the plant will continue to grow.
Leggy vines can be pruned away to stimulate a bushier growth pattern. Because thin vines can’t become thicker or grow bigger leaves, there’s no point in keeping them.
It’s best to remove them and give way to new growth that’s healthy and strong.
Can Arrowhead Plants Grow in Low-Light Conditions?
Arrowhead plants can survive in low light and depending on how severely low the light is, they may also be able to grow. But don’t expect them to do their best growth in low light.
If the room in which you’re keeping your arrowhead gets some hours of bright light every day, and then it’s relatively low in light for other parts of the day, you may be able to get away with keeping your arrowheads in that room.
But if your room is simply not getting enough natural light either because of a small window, you need to think about moving your plant to a different location.
If your room does not get enough natural light because of the orientation of the room, you’ll need to move your plant elsewhere, otherwise you’re going to be facing possible etiolation, stunted growth and leaf discoloration problems.
It’s all relative and it also depends on the type of arrowhead plant. Variegated arrowhead plants are notoriously bad at adapting to low light.
They quickly lose their variegation if they don’t get the amount of light they need. But once they’re moved to a better location, their variegation can return.
Other arrowhead varieties can better adapt to dimmer light. But overall, most arrowheads thrive in bright, indirect light.
If the lack of natural light hitting your home is a problem, investing in LED grow lights or a simple LED grow lamp or bulb can offer tremendous help in helping your arrowhead plant.
Simply put, if you’re willing to invest in LED grow lights, not even a lack of natural sunlight can stop you from growing a thriving arrowhead plant indoors.
How Long Can Arrowhead Plant Survive Without Light?
As their primary source of energy, all plants, including arrowheads, need light to survive. Without it, they will not photosynthesize.
Without the energy needed to keep their normal processes going, arrowhead plants will die.
How long can an arrowhead survive without any light?
Not very long. While they might survive being delivered to your home in a couple of days, they will certainly not go on surviving long periods without light.
And even those couple of days can do a number on them if they’re also deprived of humidity and water, for example.
Simply put, don’t deprive your arrowhead plants of light.
Now that you know the signs of low light and what you can expect when you place these plants in direct light, you may be able to better gauge what the ideal light conditions would be for these plants.
Where to Place Your Arrowhead Plant?
If you’re still at a loss as to where to put your arrowhead plan, my tips below will offer some guidance:
- Avoid dark corners or rooms without windows unless you have an LED grow lamp or bulb as a substitute for natural light.
- Don’t place your arrowhead in a south-facing window. A south-facing room, however, is an ideal location if you can keep the plant 5-6 feet away from the window, but still in a bright location.
- You can place your arrowhead plant near an east or west-facing window, but make sure you assess if they’re in the range of any direct light during the hottest parts of the day. If the plant gets blasted directly by sunlight, consider using a filter or moving the plant farther away from the window.
In short, no dark spots and any window is fine unless the plant gets hit directly by direct light. If that’s the case, move the plant farther away from the window.
I avoid characterizing arrowheads as low light plants, specifically to avoid making people think that these plants will thrive no matter the type of light they receive.
This isn’t the case at all with arrowheads.
They’re fine with low light for short periods, but they will soon start showing symptoms. If their light conditions don’t improve, they’ll start to grow leggy or leaves lose their color.
As for the best spot for an arrowhead? I’d say it’s in a south-facing window not so close to a window so that the plant gets burned, but close enough that it’s still in a bright location, where it’s getting indirect or filtered light.