Philodendron Light Requirements: What You Need Know

There’s something about philodendrons that just makes any space feel alive. Their sprawling green leaves can make even the dullest corner seem inviting. But for all the beauty they bring to our homes, ensuring they get the right amount of sunlight can be a bit tricky. Dive into the world of philodendron light requirements with us, and let’s shed some light on how to keep your plant happy!

What are Philodendron Light Requirements?

Growing in the wild under the dappled light of taller trees, philodendrons are accustomed to having a light that’s bright yet diffused. This means that direct sunlight is a no-go for them. Imagine wearing a thick sweater on a summer day – that’s what direct sunlight feels like for a philodendron!

Bright, indirect light is their happy zone. Think of placing them where they can enjoy the sunshine but not get sunburnt. An ideal spot could be a few feet away from a window. If your living area is blessed with rays streaming in, considering using sheer curtains to filter the light can be a game changer. And remember, as the season changes, especially in summer, it might be time to give them a slight change of scenery to avoid those harsh beams.

Philodendron Light Requirements

How Much Light Your Philodendrons Need?

I’ll chat about the different ways you can tell if your plant’s getting too much or too little sun soon. But, it’s super important to know how much sun your Philodendron really needs to do its thing and grow every day.

Like a bunch of houseplants, Philodendrons come from tropical forests and rainforests, where big trees usually keep the ground in the shade. Heartleaf philodendrons are usually found hanging out in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America,

This is kind of why Philodendrons rock as houseplants. Unless you shove them right next to a window, most indoor plants avoid direct sun.

At the very least, you’ll probably have to give your plant around 4 hours of this kind of light. Most of the time, that’ll be enough for your Philodendron to keep on growing, even if it’s a bit slow.

If you can swing 6 or 8 hours of this light for your plant, that’s when it’s really gonna thrive.

Signs of too much light for philodendrons

Now, while they don’t really dig sunbathing, keeping them in the pitch black isn’t cool either. If your philodendron could talk, here’s what it might say if it’s not getting enough light:

  • Leaves going yellow or brown: If your philodendron’s leaves are changing to yellow or brown, it might be catching too much sun.
  • Leaves falling off: If the leaves of your philodendron are starting to drop, it is a sign that the plant is stressed. Maybe it’s getting too much sunlight, not enough water, or there are some pesky bugs bothering it.
  • Not growing right: If your philodendron is not growing as quickly as it should, it could be a sign that it is not getting enough light. These plants love bright, but not direct, sunlight.
  • Droopy leaves: Droopy leaves mean your plant’s thirsty. But be careful, because droopy leaves can also mean too much sun. If you see this, maybe give your philodendron a bit more shade and water.

Too much light for Philodendron

If you spot any of these issues, move your plant somewhere shadier. Or try using some light curtains or blinds to block out some sun. Once it’s used to its new spot, the leaves should get better.

And hey, here’s some extra advice to stop your philodendron from frying in the sun:

  • Put your philodendron where it’ll get bright, but not harsh, sunlight.
  • Don’t put your plant right in the sun, especially when it’s super hot outside.
  • If you live in a sunny climate, you may need to move your philodendron to a shadier spot during the summer months.
  • If it’s getting too much light, light curtains or blinds can help.
  • Keep an eye on your plant, and if it looks stressed, move it somewhere with a bit more shade.

Signs of too little light for philodendrons

Now, while they don’t really dig sunbathing, keeping them in the pitch black isn’t cool either. If your philodendron could talk, here’s what it might say if it’s not getting enough light:

  • Pale or yellow leaves: Don’t mix this up with sunburn. These leaves just don’t have that bright green vibe they usually sport. When they’re missing out on light, they can’t make enough of that green stuff called chlorophyll. So, they end up looking kind of pale or yellow.
  • Spindly growth: If your philodendron looks like it’s stretching out, trying to grab something. When it’s starved for light, it won’t get as big or as bushy. The leaves might also get all spindly and weak-looking.
  • Slow or stunted growth: Too much light’s a bummer, but too little is no good either. When they’re not bathing in enough light, they kind of take their time growing because they can’t do their sun-food-making thing (photosynthesis) as well.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s a shoutout to move your philodendron somewhere brighter. The best way to do this is to experiment. Place your philodendron in a different spot in your home every few weeks and see how it responds. The ideal spot? Somewhere with bright, but not direct, light for most of the day.

And, just a heads up, not all philodendrons are the same. Some varieties are more tolerant of low light than others. Like, the philodendron heartleaf (Philodendron Hederaceum) is a good choice for low-light conditions, while the philodendron monstera (Philodendron Bipinnatifidum) needs more light.

If you’re scratching your head thinking about how much light your philodendron needs, it is always best to err on the side of caution and provide it with more light than less. This will help to ensure that your plant stays healthy and thrives.

Related: Philodendron Leaves Curling: What You Should Know

How to find the perfect spot for your philodendron

Finding the perfect spot is kind of like playing musical chairs, just without the tunes. And hey, it’s cool if you don’t get it right the first time.

When you first bring your philodendron home, you gotta make sure you put it somewhere with bright, but not direct, light. Think light that’s coming through a thin curtain or blinds. You don’t want to put it straight in the sun ’cause that can burn its leaves. So, a window that gets direct sun all day? Probably not the best idea.

After you’ve found a nice, bright spot that’s not too direct, you can start moving it around a bit. Try different spots every couple of weeks and see how your plant feels about it. The best spot will be somewhere it gets just the right amount of light, but not too much.

Here are some things to keep in mind when experimenting with different locations for your philodendron:

  • Which way is your window facing: South windows get the most sunshine. So, don’t put your philodendron right there unless you’ve got some light curtains or blinds. East and west windows get morning and afternoon light, respectively. North windows? Not so much light.
  • How close to the window: The nearer your philodendron is, the more sunshine it’ll soak up. But don’t stick it right up against the window, you don’t want fried leaves. A cool rule? Keep it about 2-3 feet from the window.

 your philodendron near window

  • The time of day: Sunlight’s kind of different throughout the day. Morning and afternoon sun can be pretty direct, so maybe find a shadier spot then.
  • What season: The amount of sunlight that your philodendron needs will also vary depending on the season. Think more light in spring and summer and less when it’s fall and winter.

With a little experimentation, you will be able to find the perfect spot for your philodendron. With proper care, your philodendron will thrive for many years to come.

Here are some additional tips for finding the perfect spot for your philodendron:

  • Consider the size of your plant. Larger plants need more light than smaller plants.
  • Think about the type of philodendron you have. Some varieties are more tolerant of low light than others.
  • Pay attention to the condition of your plant’s leaves. If the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it is a sign that the plant is not getting enough light.
  • Be patient. It may take some time to find the perfect spot for your philodendron.

Other factors that affect philodendron light requirements

Light isn’t the whole deal. There’s other stuff that can change how much light your philodendron really wants.

  • Type of philodendron: There are loads of different philodendrons out there. Even though the general care tips are pretty much the same, some are chiller about low light than others. Always check the specifics for your variety.

Some varieties of philodendrons are more tolerant of low light than others. For example: the heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) and the philodendron selloum (Philodendron selloum) can tolerate low light conditions, while the philodendron xanadu (Philodendron xanadu) and the philodendron bipinnatifidum (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) need more bright, indirect light.

Philodendron xanadu

  • Size of the plant: It’s kind of like how we humans eat – as we grow, our appetites change. A baby philodendron might be content with less light, but as it spreads its leaves, as it gets all leafy, it’s gonna want more of that indirect sun. Bigger plants just want more light. That’s ’cause their big ol’ leaves need more energy to do their plant thing. If a large philodendron is not getting enough light, it may start to grow leggy and produce fewer leaves.
  • The season: Kinda like how we ditch our heavy jackets for cool shirts, philodendrons adjust their light preferences. During the growing seasons of spring and summer, they’re hungrier for light. Come autumn and winter, they’re more content with a bit less.

Besides what you already know, the light of your philodendron is affected by the following:

  • How much sunshine your place gets: If you’re in a sunny spot with loads of daylight, your philodendron might handle more light than if you’re in a darker place.
  • Which way does your window face: East windows catch the morning sun, which is kind of gentle. West windows get the afternoon rays, which can be a bit much for philodendrons. South windows get the most sunshine, so you might wanna move your philodendron somewhere cooler during the hot months.
  • Other plants being around: If you’ve got other plants in the same space as your philodendron, they might be hogging the light. If your philodendron seems like it’s missing out, maybe move it somewhere so it won’t be overshadowed by the others.

Philodendrons and Artificial Light

Philodendrons can be grown under artificial light, but it is important to use the right type of light and to provide enough light. The best type of light for philodendrons is a full-spectrum fluorescent light or a LED grow light. These lights will provide the full spectrum of light that philodendrons need to photosynthesize.

As a general rule, philodendrons need about 12-14 hours of light per day. If you are using fluorescent lights, you will need to place the lights about 6-12 inches away from the plant. If you are using LED grow lights, you can place the lights closer to the plant, about 3-6 inches away.

Here are some additional tips for growing philodendrons under artificial light:

  • Use a timer to turn the lights on and off at the same time each day.
  • Give your lights a clean every now and then. Nobody likes dusty lights.
  • If your plant’s leaves start throwing shade (going yellow or brown), scoot it closer to the light.
  • But if they start looking scorched, back ’em off a bit.

By following these tips, you can successfully grow philodendrons under artificial light.

Here are some specific types of artificial lights that are good for philodendrons:

  • Fluorescent lights: Fluorescent lights are a good option for philodendrons because they are affordable and easy to find. They come in a variety of wattages and light spectrums, so you can choose the right type of light for your plant.

Fluorescent lights for philodendrons

  • LED grow lights: LED grow lights are becoming increasingly popular for growing plants indoors. They are more efficient than fluorescent lights and they produce less heat.

LED grow lights for philodendrons

  • Metal halide lights: Metal halide lights are a good option for philodendrons that need a lot of light. They produce a lot of light, but they can also be expensive.

Metal halide lights for philodendrons

When choosing an artificial light for your philodendron, it is important to consider the size of the plant, the amount of light it needs, and your budget.

Some tips for your philodendron’s light needs

Here are some additional tips for providing your philodendron with the right amount of light:

  • If you are not sure how much light your philodendron needs, err on the side of caution and provide it with more light than less.
  • Gradually move your philodendron to a brighter spot if you think it is not getting enough light. This will help to prevent the leaves from getting sunburned. If you live in a sunny climate, you may need to move your philodendron to a shadier spot during the summer months.
  • Use sheer curtains or blinds to filter the sunlight if your philodendron is getting too much light.
  • Experiment with different spots in your home to find the perfect spot for your philodendron.
  • Place your philodendron in a spot that receives bright, indirect light. Avoid placing your philodendron in direct sunlight, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Water your philodendron regularly, especially during the summer months.
  • Fertilize your philodendron every few months with a balanced fertilizer.

Some bonus tips for your philodendron’s light needs:

  • Rotate your plant: Philodendrons, like us, don’t like playing favorites. If one side is constantly facing the light source, it might grow unevenly. Give it a little turn every once in a while to ensure even growth.
  • Clean the leaves: Dust can settle on the large, inviting leaves of a philodendron. This layer of dust can actually block light. Every so often, gently wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth to keep them dust-free and gleaming.
  • Consider artificial light: If you’re in a spot where natural light is a luxury, don’t fret! Philodendrons can adapt to artificial light too. Just make sure it’s not too harsh and position the plant a fair distance away.


Understanding philodendron light requirements is key to keeping these plants thriving. Whether it’s too much or too little light, the signs are clear. By considering these pointers and other factors, you can find the sweet spot for your philodendron.

Think of them as that friend who doesn’t have a long list of demands but knows exactly what they want in that list. By understanding the signs and signals your plant gives you and by adjusting its spot accordingly, you’re setting it up for a long, lush life. Always turn to FamiPlants for more plant wisdom!

Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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