How Much Light Does a Snake Plant Need? Expert Tips For Lush Growth

By: Matt Slaymaker
November 24, 2023
How Much Light Does a Snake Plant Need
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Snake plants are fascinating and hardy indoor house plants. Often included on lists of plants for low-light conditions, these plants also thrive in sunny settings. So, how much light does a snake plant need?

First, identify your snake plant. Is it the yellow-bordered Variegated Laurentii Snake Plant or the sage-green Sansevieria Moonshine? Some varieties need more sunlight to maintain their beautiful markings, while others can survive in darker conditions.

Understanding the Sunlight Needs of Snake Plants

Understanding the Sunlight Needs of Snake Plants

 

Snake plants grow best when they receive sufficient sunlight.

What Is the Process of Photosynthesis in Snake Plants?

Snake plants are succulents native to many arid climate zones. To conserve water, these plants use the Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) process of photosynthesis, which means that they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen at night. They keep their stomata closed during the day to decrease water evaporation.

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How Does Sunlight Affect the Growth Rate of Snake Plants?

Snake plants need sufficient light to grow new leaves, and they grow much slower in low-light conditions. Therefore, Sansevieria's growth rate and the amount of light exposure, the plant receives, are interrelated.

Do Snake Plants Like Direct or Indirect Light?

Snake plants grow best in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is not recommended as it can scorch the leaves, which can cause unnecessary stress for the plant.  

Snake Plant: Sunlight Requirements

Snake plant sunlight requirements aren’t too strict, and they can even survive in low light.

Best Light Conditions for Indoor Snake Plants

The best light conditions for snake plants are indirect sunlight that enables them to develop new growth.

Snake Plant: Sunlight Needs & Seasonal Considerations

Snake plant sunlight needs vary according to your climate zone and time of year. For instance, your plant will need more sunlight if you live in a colder climate zone.

How Many Hours of Sunlight Do Snake Plants Need Daily?

On average, snake plants need a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight daily. Signs that your snake plant is receiving adequate sunlight include:

  • It looks robust and healthy
  • Its beautiful leaf patterns are vivid
  • It’s growing new leaves and could even produce some flowers (although they rarely bloom indoors)

 

Too Little Light: Can a Snake Plant Survive in Low Light?

Can a Snake Plant Survive in Low Light

 

One of the best things about Sansevierias is how easy plants to take care for they are. They can survive low light conditions like few other plants. But for it to thrive, it’s important to know how much light is too little for your plant.  

How Do I Know If My Snake Plant Needs More Sun?

Any area of your home where the plants don’t get at least 5 hours of indirect sunlight is probably too dark. You can compensate for the lack of sun by providing artificial lighting.

Too Much Light: Can Snake Plants Have Too Much Light?

Although snake plants are adaptable and will usually grow even in very sunny conditions, direct sunlight can cause burns and make it difficult for your plant to thrive.

How Much Sun Is Too Much for a Snake Plant?

Keeping your snake plant in direct sunlight, especially outdoors, can result in browning leaves and crumbly soil. It’s best to find a spot in indirect sunlight so that your snake plant stays out of the sun’s scorching rays.

Diagnosing Sunlight-Related Issues in Snake Plants

Understanding snake plant light requirements isn’t too difficult. Snake plants are highly adaptable and will tolerate less-than-perfect conditions, but it’s important to know how much sunlight is essential for their health.  

Signs of Sunburn in Snake Plants

If exposed to direct sunlight, your snake plant’s leaves may get sunburned. Here’s how to tell:

  • The leaves are discolored or bleached to nearly white color
  • There are faded or dry spots on the leaves  
  • The edges or tips of the leaves are dry and brown

How to Fix Snake Plants Overexposed to Sunlight

Here’s what to do if you notice sunburned leaves on your snake plant:

  • Move the plant out of direct sunlight
  • Water it sufficiently, but moderately 
  • Cut off the severely damaged leaves

Snake Plants: Symptoms of Low Light Exposure

Here are some signs that your snake plant isn’t getting enough light:

  • The leaves look drooping and lifeless
  • The pattern and bright colors of variegated snake plants, like the stunning La Rubia Snake Plant, may fade
  • It won’t form new leaves and will definitely not flower in low light  

Strategies to Manage Low Light Conditions

You could decide to move your plant to a sunnier place in your home, such as a well-lit living room, provide more light by keeping the curtains open during the day, or introduce artificial lighting to brighten a darker corner.

Snake Plant: Special Lighting Considerations

Special Lighting Requirements for Snake Plants
Source: Sansiled

 

Snake plants need more light when they are busy growing new leaves. In low light conditions, snake plants will still grow, but much slower.

Artificial Lighting Solutions for Snake Plants

Luckily, you can increase the amount of light your snake plants receive with artificial lighting. LED lights, halogen lights, and fluorescent lights are all options that can provide your plants with sufficient lighting.

Sunlight Needs for Variegated vs. Non-Variegated Varieties

Variegated snake plants are more photo-sensitive than the non-variegated types and can get sunburned quickly. However, the variegated varieties also need more light than the non-variegated ones. That’s why it’s best to keep your variegated snake plants in indirect light.

Snake Plant: Placement and Positioning

Finding the right spot for your snake plant is important. This will be your plant’s new home, and the right choice of place will promote growth and give your snake plant the opportunity to shine!

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Snake Plant?

East-facing windows are perfect for your snake plant lighting needs indoors. Southern windows can also work if you have sheer curtains or if you place the plant slightly away from the windows, in a corner on the floor, for instance.

Seasonal Considerations & Snake Plant Positioning

Always consider the seasonal light level changes when positioning your plants. You may need to move the snake plant away from direct sunlight in the summer or move it closer to the window in winter. You can also rotate your plant so that it receives enough light on all sides.

Sunlight and Watering of Snake Plants

Sunlight and Watering of Snake Plants

Normally, the more sunlight your snake plant receives, the more often you need to water it.

Adjusting Watering Schedules Based on Sunlight Exposure

How often you water your snake plants will also depend on their exposure to sunlight. Plants in darker corners may need less water, and plants in sunny areas of your home will need to be watered more frequently.

How Often Should I Water My Snake Plant in Direct Sunlight?

Even in direct sunlight, it’s important to remember that your snake plant’s soil has to dry out before you water the plant again. Watering once in two weeks is usually enough. Watch for signs of sunburn and move your plant to a cooler place with indirect sunlight if necessary.

Signs of Overwatering and Underwatering

An overwatered snake plant’s leaves are soft and drooping and will usually turn yellow.

Underwatering the plant can result in brown and brittle leaves, which sometimes curl inwards, and the soil in the pot will be dry. Always check both the soil and the leaves to be certain of your plant’s condition.

Snake Plant: Fertilization and Sunlight

Snake plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer. They are hardy plants that grow relatively slowly, so you can feed them with an organic fertilizer once a year (or even once in two years) during the growing season when the plants receive more sunlight – in spring or summer.

Why Is Sunlight Important for Plants?

Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, which is the process that plants use to convert light energy into chemical energy, producing food for themselves.

How Often Should I Fertilize My Snake Plant in the Summer?

Fertilize your snake plant in smaller doses throughout the growing season to prevent overfertilizing. If you’re using slow-release fertilizer, only use it once. 

Common Fertilizer Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to watch out for when fertilizing your snake plants:

  • Overfertilizing your snake plant 
  • Using incorrect fertilizers; snake plants aren’t fussy, and potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus are the only ingredients they really need
  • Overwatering before fertilizing 

Snake Plants Pruning for Better Light Indoors

Snake Plants Pruning for Better Light Indoors
Source: PositiveBloom

 

Sometimes you’ll need to prune your snake plant to make sure that all of it receives sufficient sunlight. Use clean pruning shears and cut the leaf at the bottom close to the soil. Start by cutting any damaged, dried, or toppled leaves. 

It’s best to prune in early spring or summer, so the plant can grow new leaves during its growing season.

Snake Plants: Seasonal Care

From late fall to winter, it’s important to provide your snake plant collection with enough light. Keep your Sansevierias at room temperature no lower than 50°F (10°C) and wipe their leaves occasionally with a clean, damp cloth to remove dust. 

Maximizing Sunlight Benefits in the Growing Season

Snake plants need sunlight to grow. Make the most of the growing season by moving your snake plants into sunnier areas of your home during the spring and summer months. 

Preparing Snake Plants for Winter

To prepare your snake plant for winter, start watering it less from late fall. As the temperatures drop, protect your snake plant from drafts and cool air from open windows. 

How Much Light Does a Snake Plant Need? FAQs

Q: What is the life cycle of a snake plant?

A: Snake plants can be grown either from seed (rarely) or from cuttings. The young plant grows and, upon reaching maturity, produces new plants that spring up from its roots at the base of the plant. Snake plants can live up to 20-25 years. 

Q: Do snake plants go dormant in winter?

A: Yes, snake plants go through a dormant phase in winter when they don’t grow and need less water. 

Q: Can I put my snake plant outside in the summer?

A: Yes, you can. Snake plants can benefit from the bright sunlight as long as it’s indirect and they have shelter from the rain (too much water can cause root rot). So, they can be the ideal porch plants in the warmer months of the year.

Q: Can a snake plant survive in fluorescent light?

A: Yes, snake plants can survive in fluorescent light, which makes them popular choices for offices. 

Conclusion

Snake plants are some of the most rewarding plants you can grow! They can survive in high to low-light conditions and are very easy to care for. They do best in indirect light, but you can also ensure that your snake plant thrives by using indoor grow lights or placing your snake plant where it gets several hours of indirect sunlight per day. Give them enough light and these tough beauties will enchant you with their patterned leaves and robust tropical vibes!