Can Pothos Grow in Low Light? Indoor Plant Tips Revealed

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Pothos is a versatile houseplant that can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions. However, one question that often comes up is whether or not pothos can grow in low light. In this article, we’ll reveal some indoor plant tips and explore the truth about pothos and low light, including the best low light conditions for your plant, how to prevent leggy growth, and how to provide the right lighting conditions for optimal growth.

Pothos Plant Overview

Pothos plants, commonly known as Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos, are popular indoor plants due to their low maintenance requirements and ability to adapt to various living conditions. They are known for their beautiful trailing vines and vibrant, heart-shaped leaves.

Origin and Characteristics

Pothos is native to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. They are able to grow in a wide range of environmental conditions, making them easy to care for and suitable for beginners. Pothos plants are famous for their air-purifying abilities, removing toxins from the air and improving indoor air quality.

They can climb, trail, or hang, depending on how they are displayed, and their rapid growth allows them to quickly fill out and cover any desired area. Pothos leaves are known for their beautiful variegation, which presents in different patterns and shades of green, yellow, and white.

Common Types of Pothos

There are several types of pothos plants available, and they can each have slightly different appearances:

  • Golden Pothos: Characterized by its green leaves with yellow variegation, Golden Pothos is the most common variety found in households.
  • Marble Queen Pothos: This variety has green and white variegated leaves with a marbled pattern.
  • Neon Pothos: This pothos has bright, lime-green leaves and is aptly named for its vibrant color.
  • Hawaiian Pothos: Similar to the Golden Pothos, Hawaiian Pothos has green leaves with yellow variegation, but the yellow is more prominent and appears in a speckled pattern.

Overall, pothos plants are a versatile and attractive addition to any indoor space. With their flexibility to grow in various light conditions, they can be an excellent choice for adding greenery to areas with or without natural light.

Low Light Conditions

Pothos, a popular houseplant, is known for its ability to survive in low light conditions. However, it’s essential to understand what constitutes low light for these plants and the importance of providing them with the appropriate lighting to thrive.

Defining Low Light

Low light conditions typically involve situations where the plant receives limited natural light or is exposed only to indirect sunlight. For instance, an east-facing window that offers a few hours of indirect sunlight per day can be considered a low light area for pothos.

It’s important to note that although pothos can tolerate low light, they will grow at a much slower pace compared to when they receive adequate lighting. However, certain pothos varieties, such as Golden Pothos, can adapt better to low light conditions.

Importance of Proper Lighting

Proper lighting plays a crucial role in the growth and well-being of your pothos plant. Pothos thrive when they get at least 10 to 12 hours of bright, indirect light each day. While they can withstand low light conditions, their growth may become stunted or slow.

On the other hand, excessive direct sunlight can also cause harm to your pothos plants, resulting in burnt leaves. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance between providing sufficient light while avoiding direct sun exposure.

Moreover, if your indoor space lacks windows or natural light, supplementing your pothos with artificial light can be a practical solution. Many pothos plants can thrive under artificial light, making them excellent choices for offices or rooms with limited access to natural light.

Pothos Growth in Low Light


Pothos plants are known for their versatility and ability to adapt to various lighting conditions. They can grow well in bright, indirect light, as well as in low light situations. However, it’s important to note that they won’t thrive in complete darkness. Low light can cause the variegated patterns on their leaves to become more solid green, but the plant will still continue to live and grow at a slower pace1.

Growth Rate

When pothos plants are exposed to low light conditions, their growth rate tends to slow down. They may still exhibit some growth, but it will likely be stunted and slower than if they were placed in a brighter, indirect light environment2. Pothos require at least 10-12 hours of good lighting per day to thrive, so a low light setup may lead to a less vigorous growth pattern2.


In optimal lighting conditions, pothos plants exhibit a vibrant pattern of variegated leaves. However, as mentioned earlier, when placed in low light environments, their leaves may lose some of this variegation and revert to a more solid green color1. This is a coping mechanism for the plant, as the chlorophyll within the leaves helps it to better absorb the limited light available. While this may diminish the pattern on the leaves, the plant can still survive and grow, albeit at a slower pace.

Caring for Pothos in Low Light Environments

Pothos plants are known for their ability to adapt to various lighting conditions, making them ideal for low light environments. However, proper care is essential to ensure the plant continues to grow and thrive.

Watering Requirements

While growing pothos in low light conditions, it is crucial to maintain a consistent watering schedule. Pothos plants prefer their soil to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, so it is essential to monitor the moisture level in the soil. In the absence of bright light, the plant will require less frequent watering, as water evaporation will be slower. Pay close attention to your plant’s needs and adjust the watering frequency accordingly.


Providing proper nutrition is essential for pothos plants in low light environments. As the plant will grow more slowly in limited light, its need for nutrients will be reduced. However, it is still necessary to fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer, diluted to half strength. Apply the fertilizer once every two to three months to support healthy growth and maintain the plant’s overall health.

Pruning and Maintenance

Regular pruning and maintenance are essential for ensuring the pothos plant’s health and appearance, particularly in low light conditions. Prune any yellow or brown leaves and trim back long, leggy growth to encourage bushier, more compact growth habits. This will help keep the plant looking lush and full despite the limited light exposure. Additionally, cleaning the leaves with a damp cloth can remove dust and debris, allowing the plant to absorb more of the available light for photosynthesis.

In summary, caring for pothos plants in low light environments requires a combination of proper watering, fertilization, and maintenance. By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow healthy and vibrant pothos plants in areas with limited light exposure.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Pest Issues

Pothos plants can occasionally encounter pest issues, with common culprits such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. To prevent and treat these infestations, start by routinely examining your plant for any signs of pests. If you notice an infestation, try gently washing the leaves with water and mild soapy solution, paying particular attention to leaf undersides. For stubborn pests, you can use a neem oil spray as a natural insecticide.

Disease Issues

Root rot is a common disease issue faced by pothos plants, often caused by over-watering or poor drainage. To prevent root rot, ensure that your pothos is planted in well-draining soil and avoid over-watering. To check if the plant is ready for water, insert a finger about an inch into the soil; if the top inch is dry, it’s time to water.

If you notice yellowing leaves, mushy stems, or a foul smell, your plant may be dealing with root rot. To address this issue, remove the affected plant from its pot and trim away any rotten roots. Repot the plant in fresh soil and a clean pot, ensuring proper drainage. Water adequately after repotting, as this will encourage new root growth.

Other potential diseases include leaf spot and bacterial wilt, which cause leaf discoloration and wilting, respectively. To manage these diseases, remove affected leaves, maintain a clean growing environment, and avoid over-watering. Proper airflow around the plant can also help reduce the risk of disease.

Alternative Low Light Plants

If you are looking for other houseplants that can thrive in low light conditions besides pothos, there are several options that you can explore. These plants can adapt well to artificial or low light conditions, making them perfect for indoor spaces with limited access to sunlight.

One of the top choices is the philodendron, which is known for its attractive foliage and ability to survive in low light conditions. Similar to pothos, this plant is often valued for its air-purifying capabilities and maintaining general indoor air quality.

Another great alternative is the dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), which is a robust plant that can survive in partial shade or indirect light. Although they would prefer access to indirect light, they can still thrive in shaded areas and grow at a slower pace.

For those who want a unique addition to their low-light indoor spaces, the snake plant (Sansevieria) is a popular choice. This drought-tolerant plant can survive even if you forget to water it occasionally and is well-suited for low light conditions.

Besides these, some more low-light-friendly plants include:

  • Spider plants
  • Ivy
  • ZZ plants
  • Cast iron plants
  • Aglaonemas
  • Peace lilies
  • Maidenhair ferns
  • Parlor palms

Each of these plants has its unique characteristics, but they all share the ability to adapt and grow in low light environments. With these options, you can create a vibrant indoor space despite having limited natural light.

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