Pothos Light Needs – The Correct Lighting for Epipremnum Aureum

Want to find out more about your pothos light needs? Maybe you noticed that your plant has become discoloured or is looking ‘leggy’. These could be signs that you need to change the quality of light that your plant is receiving.

Lighting can be a tricky thing to get right with your pothos plant. So, in this article, we will dive into everything you need to know about providing the right lighting for your Pothos.
General Pothos light needs

Pothos plants (Epipremnum aureum) grow best in bright, indirect light for 12-14 hours every day. They do not like direct sunlight and are able to withstand a maximum of 3-4 hours every day. Any more than this could result in wilting, discolouration, and sunburn of your plant.

Some people may be surprised to hear that pothos prefer bright light. This is because they have a reputation for being suitable for low light environments. Whilst they can survive in shady rooms, they will not grow as quickly. If you want to see your plant at its best, especially if you have a variegated variety, it will be best to put it in a lighter position.

Signs of too much light


When your pothos is overly exposed to light, the leaves are nearly always the first to suffer. They’ll start to droop and seem frail. This is especially visible between midday and 4 p.m. when the temperature is at its highest.
Closer examination may reveal that the leaves have become limp, droopy, and have begun to develop dry brown blotches.

Your plant will be scorched if it receives too much sunshine, causing the leaves to bleach and sunburn.


You know when your pothos plant is in the correct growing conditions because the leaves are flat and normally face the direction of the light source. However, if the leaves stretch out or curl away from the light source, this is a sign of too much light.

Pothos thrives in temperatures ranging from 59-75°F (15-24°C). Your pothos will suffer from stress if it is exposed to high temperatures associated with being in a sunny window. Leaf curling, wrinkling, and drooping are common symptoms of this condition.

Brown edges or spots

When it comes to Pothos issues, one of the most common reasons for brown leaf edges or spots is too much light, resulting from prolonged exposure to light. These spots usually start out as small tan, pale, or clear specks that develop into brown blotches.

Yellowing and thickening

Wilting, drooping, or dark leaf patches are sometimes accompanied by yellowing. They can be seen when it is too hot, causing the leaves to burn or scorch. It’s possible that the new growth may thicken, and the leaves will get bleached.

Signs of a lack of light

When placed in poor lighting conditions your Pothos plant will start to suffer, and the results can be seen in its appearance.

Leggy appearance

Elongated stems, extended internodes (the space between the leaves), and ‘lanky’ growth are all signs of insufficient light. When your Pothos light needs aren’t met, it will extend its foliage and stems to “reach” for it.
The appearance of a sun-starved plant is often described as ‘leggy’. The stems will be longer, and the leaves will be sparse and lack a vibrant appearance.

Lost variegation

If you have a variegated variety of Pothos, you may notice that the leaves become greener, and the variegation is lost. This is because the plant is producing more chlorophyll which is needed in the process of photosynthesis.

How to increase light to your Pothos

To provide more light, simply move your Pothos closer to a source of light. Placing it closer to a sunny door, window, or skylight is usually the best option.

Alternatively, you could use a grow light, which mimics the wavelength of natural sunlight. This could be an option if your plant is in an ideal position from an interior design perspective, but the lighting is not sufficient.

Choosing the ideal window for your Pothos

The amount of light that reaches your Pothos is determined by the direction your window faces.

North-facing windows don’t get a lot of light. Therefore, you can place your Pothos on or very close to these windows, without the risk of burning the plant.

An ideal location for your pothos is close to an east-facing window. In the morning, your plant will receive direct sunshine, which is usually gentle. For the rest of the day, your pothos receives bright, indirect sunlight.

South-facing windows provide constant sunshine. Direct sunlight will do more harm than good if you place your Pothos too close to the window. For steady bright, indirect light, place your plant a few feet from the window. Using a sheer curtain or voile can also help protect your plant.

In the afternoon, the sun shines brightest through west-facing windows. As a result, they’re not the best choice for your Pothos. Of course, you can place your pothos away from windows that face west.

Can a Pothos survive in a shady room?

Pothos plants are well-known for being able to survive in low light conditions and even in shady rooms. However, these are not ideal conditions and their growth rate may be slower.

A common room that people place their pothos plant is in a bathroom. These often have small, frosted windows so lighting can be an issue. Although the humidity in a bathroom will suit a pothos, you should carefully monitor your plant to ensure it is not feeling the effects of light deprivation.

Regularly check that your plant is not becoming leggy and if you have a variegated variety, check the cream-coloured variegation is not being lost. If you do notice any of these signs, it would indicate that you need to move your plant to a sunnier place in your home.

Offices are another low-light environment which are commonly used for these plants. Indeed, they are often chosen because they do not need as much light as some other popular plants. If your plant is suffering and your desk is far away from the windows, you could always consider a grow light, which is used for part of the day or night.

Final thoughts on Pothos light needs

The Pothos is a great plant that can tolerate a lot before it is even close to dying. It can withstand a wide range of circumstances and neglect; its popular name, devil’s ivy, is said to come from its ability to grow in low light levels and its resilient nature.

Most homes will have a place where your Pothos will be happy growing. It may just take a little while for you to try different areas and ensure that your Pothos light needs are met.

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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