Can Pothos Grow Without Light? Exploring Plant Adaptations

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

As an adaptable and resilient plant, pothos can thrive in a range of light conditions. However, can they grow without light altogether? In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between pothos and light, what happens when they don’t get enough light, and whether or not pothos can survive in complete darkness.

Can Pothos Grow Without Light?

Basic Lighting Requirements

Pothos plants are known for their ability to adapt to various lighting conditions. They thrive in bright, indirect light but can also handle low-light situations. Pothos can survive without direct sunlight and may even experience leaf burn when exposed to it. Instead, it’s best to provide them with indirect bright light for optimal growth.

Possible Outcomes

Growing pothos in low-light environments, such as rooms with few windows or limited natural light, is possible. However, some consequences might appear depending on the type of pothos and the lighting condition:

  • Certain types of pothos are better suited for darker spaces and can adapt more quickly to low-light conditions.
  • Variegated pothos may lose their distinct colors and “revert” to a solid green appearance when not receiving enough light.
  • Pothos plants will adjust their growth rate to conserve energy in low-light areas, resulting in slower overall growth.

While pothos can survive and grow in low-light conditions, it’s essential to remember that “low light” does not mean “no light” at all. These plants still need some light exposure to thrive. If your pothos has access to some light, even if it’s minimal, the plant should continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace than it would in brighter conditions.

By understanding the basic lighting requirements for pothos and the possible outcomes of growing the plant in low-light environments, you can better ensure the health and appearance of your pothos, as well as provide suitable conditions for it to continue growing.

Alternative Light Sources

Artificial Lighting

Pothos plants can indeed grow without direct sunlight, as they have the ability to adapt to different light conditions. One way to ensure proper growth in areas without sunlight is by using artificial lighting. Fluorescent lights, such as cool white or full spectrum tubes, are a great option for providing enough light for pothos to thrive ( Alternatively, horticultural grow lights can be used, though they might not be as cost-effective as regular fluorescent tubes.

In office settings, pothos plants have been known to survive under fluorescent tube lights, maintaining their green color and a healthy appearance despite smaller leaves and slower growth (

Indirect Sunlight

Another alternative to direct sunlight is exposing the pothos plant to bright indirect light. This can be achieved by placing the plant near a south or west-facing window ( Although pothos are often labeled as low-light tolerant plants, they will be much healthier and show better growth in indirect sunlight rather than low-light conditions.

It is important to note that the variegation in some pothos varieties refers to the different color patterns found in their leaves. These variegated plants may revert to a solid green color if they do not receive enough light ( Therefore, it is crucial to provide adequate light from either artificial sources or indirect sunlight to maintain the variegation and overall health of the plant.

In summary, while pothos plants can adapt to low-light conditions, it is always better to provide them with artificial lighting or indirect sunlight to ensure a healthier and more vibrant growth.

Adapting to Low Light Conditions

Variegation Loss

Pothos plants, known for their hardiness and adaptability, can survive in low light environments such as rooms with few windows or insufficient natural light. However, some types of pothos with variegated leaves may revert to solid green under low light conditions as they try to maximize photosynthesis. The loss of variegation is a sign that the plant is adapting to lower light levels by increasing the amount of chlorophyll in its leaves, enabling it to better capture the limited light available.

Slower Growth

Although pothos plants can tolerate low light conditions, they will likely experience slower growth in such an environment. With less energy from light, the plant focuses on survival rather than rapid growth. It is important to provide at least a few hours of moderate light every day as artificial light for pothos works well in supporting their growth.

To optimize pothos growth in low light, consider placing it in a space that receives indirect sunlight or filtered light. Pothos plants are sensitive to direct midday sun that can cause their leaves to wilt and droop. The key is to find a balance between providing enough light for the plant to thrive without exposing it to high heat or excessive sun.

Some low light pothos varieties, such as the Hawaiian Pothos, are better suited for low light conditions, and can help maintain healthy growth even in darker spaces. By understanding and responding to the specific light requirements of your pothos plant, you can ensure its continued growth and upkeep in low light environments.

Caring for Pothos in Low Light

Pothos plants are versatile and adaptable, capable of growing in various lighting conditions. Although they prefer bright, indirect light, pothos can still survive and grow in low light settings. To ensure your pothos thrives in low light, it’s essential to make a few adjustments to its care routine, such as watering and fertilization.

Watering Adjustments

In low light conditions, pothos plants will typically experience slower growth, which means their water needs will also decrease. It is crucial to avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and other issues. To ensure optimal hydration, allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. A well-draining potting mix can also help prevent overwatering by promoting effective drainage of excess water.

Fertilization Needs

Pothos plants growing in low light environments will require less fertilization compared to those in brighter settings. This is because low light slows down the overall growth rate of the plant, which reduces its nutrient demands. To accommodate these reduced nutrient needs, you should reduce the frequency of your fertilization routine. It is recommended to use a well-balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer, with applications every two months.

Adapting your pothos plant’s care routine to low light conditions will help ensure its health and wellbeing. By making the necessary adjustments to watering and fertilization, you can successfully cultivate pothos even in areas with limited natural light. Keep in mind that artificial light for pothos also works well, making them a suitable choice for office environments and other low-light spaces.

Helpful Video