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How Much Light do Philodendrons Need?

Light conditions indoors are not always optimal for growing plants, let alone sun-loving ones, but although the philodendron plant enjoys bright light, it can adapt to low light conditions too.

It has been said about the philodendron that they’re plants that are harder to kill than to keep alive, and there seems to be a lot of truth to that.

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That’s because philodendrons are highly adaptable, making them not only a beginner-friendly plant, but also the ultimate houseplant.

If you’re worried that too much or too little light may kill your philodendron, I’m here to shed some light on what type of light and how much of it do philodendrons need.

Do Philodendrons Need Direct Sunlight?

One good news for anyone who is growing philodendrons indoors is that philodendrons neither need, nor enjoy direct sunlight.

Quite the contrary — philodendron leaves can wilt if they get too much direct sun exposure. The reason for this is how these plants received light in their natural habitat.

With the rainforests as their natural habitat, philodendrons received indirect and filtered light at best under the thick canopy of trees.

Therefore, all you need to do to satisfy your philodendron’s light requirements is to ensure that your philodendron is in a bright spot in your home, but that the rays of the sun aren’t directly touching on the leaves.

In bright light, your philodendron plant will grow healthy foliage and stems, and the growth rate of the plant will not be hindered by the lack of sufficient light.

Can Philodendrons Live Without Sunlight?

You may see philodendrons mentioned in several articles as being plants that ‘grow without sunlight’, but that’s only somewhat true.

Philodendrons can grow without sunlight, if that sunlight is replaced with artificial light such as LED grow lights or fluorescent lights, for example.

While some philodendron varieties will adapt to light conditions that aren’t optimal, they will certainly not grow without any light around.

Therefore, if your home has smaller windows or doesn’t seem to be getting much light, your philodendron will probably be fine in those conditions, but it certainly will not thrive.

To thrive, produce healthy foliage and have a steady growth, your philodendron needs bright light. No light is simply not going to cut it for this plant.

Do Philodendrons Need Sunlight to Bloom?

Yes, philodendrons need sunlight to bloom. But they only need indirect, bright light, so not any direct light exposure. But even with plenty of bright light, philodendrons rarely bloom indoors.

In fact, it’s quite unusual for a philodendron plant to bloom indoors, especially without any specialized care.

But they may bloom in greenhouses and conservatories, where light conditions, temperature and humidity are much closer to the conditions in their natural habitat.

Even so, it can take a lot of time to get a philodendron blooming. It can take as long as 15-16 years to get a philodendron blooming.

Therefore, don’t worry if your philodendron isn’t blooming. It’s not something that happens often indoors anyway.

Enjoy the beautiful foliage of your philodendron plants, which will be healthier and larger when the plant is kept in optimal light conditions.

Can Philodendrons Grow in Low Light?

Yes, philodendrons are one of those adaptable houseplants that can grow even in low light or even under fluorescent light, which is often the primary source of light in offices.

It’s no wonder then that philodendrons can often be found in offices and cubicles. And seem to be doing just fine.

Now just because your philodendron can grow in low light, it doesn’t mean it’s happy about it. Philodendrons without access to enough light will have certain issues.

For starters, they may grow leggy, a phenomenon called etiolation, where stems grow leggy in trying to reach more light.

When stems grow leggy, leaves usually become smaller, and their green colors fade, leaving the leaves yellow and pale.

Therefore, when a philodendron plant is getting way too little light, it will not produce the lush green foliage it’s known after.

But as I mentioned before, the problem of lack of enough light indoors can be easily countered with the use of artificial lights that will supplement the plant’s light requirements.

Where Should You Place Philodendron Indoors?

I usually place my philodendrons near a bright window, but not so near that the rays of the sunshine directly onto the plant.

If you have an otherwise bright room with multiple windows or a room with large windows that let in a lot of light, you can place your philodendron virtually anywhere in the room as long as it’s not exposed to direct sunlight.

It’s also wise to protect your philodendron from cold drafts such as those near a door or to place the plant under the direct action of an AC. These are also important to consider when picking out a spot for your plant.

Is Your Philodendron Getting Enough Light?

The good thing about having potted plants like philodendrons is your ability to move them around and change their environment when they don’t seem to take a liking to a certain location.

If your philodendron isn’t getting the light exposure it needs, a few things will happen:

  • The stems of your philodendron will grow leggy in search of light
  • With the plant investing more energy in its stems, it will no longer invest energy in leaf growth, so the leaves will be smaller and not as densely packed
  • And lastly, the dark green color of the leaves will fade, or leaves will turn yellow without adequate amounts of light.

When your plant is not getting enough light, any of the above things can happen. When they do, you should find a different location for your philodendron.

Sometimes the growth of a philodendron will be lopsided because one side is getting more light than the other, which is barely getting enough.

Therefore, it’s also wise to rotate the plant periodically so that all sides develop equally.

Conclusion

Philodendrons may not need direct sunlight, but they do need light to thrive. When natural light is scarce, you can supplement it with artificial grow lights and achieve great results.

Because philodendrons are so adaptable, you can test different locations in your home and see which works best for your plant.

Posted in Philodendrons - Updated: October 14, 2021

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