How Much Light Does a Snake Plant Need?

  • By: SFUAA
  • Date: December 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

The Snake Plant, or Sansevieria, is an incredibly hardy houseplant with a unique look that adds a modern and stylish touch to any space. Its low-maintenance care requirements make it a great choice for those with busy schedules who don’t have a lot of time to devote to taking care of houseplants.

One of the most important considerations for anyone who is growing Snake Plant is the amount of light it needs to thrive. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the amount of light a Snake Plant needs, as well as tips on how to care for it in different lighting situations. We’ll also explore the potential issues that can arise if you don’t give your plant enough light.

By the end of this blog post, you will have a better understanding of how much light your Snake Plant needs in order to stay healthy and beautiful.

How Much Light Does a Snake Plant Need?

The Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) is an extremely hardy and versatile houseplant that can thrive in many different light conditions. This species is particularly well-suited to low light environments, making it an ideal choice for those areas of the home or office that are not exposed to direct sunlight. The plant is able to efficiently use even low levels of ambient light, allowing it to thrive in areas where other houseplants may struggle. With its striking, architectural form and resilience to low light conditions, the Snake Plant is an ideal choice for those looking to add a touch of greenery to their home or office.

That’s not to say, however, that the snake plant doesn’t appreciate more light if you can offer it.

Generally, the snake plant will do best in bright indirect light. With bright indirect light, the snake plant can photosynthesize and grow at an ideal rate, while also avoiding any potential leaf damage. The key is to provide the plant with enough light to support its growth, without exposing it to too much light and burning its leaves. This makes bright indirect light the ideal lighting option for the snake plant.

This also means that direct sunlight can often be too harsh, causing a condition known as sun scald, which is exactly what it sounds like. Because of this, it is not recommended to place snake plants in a spot that will be directly in the sun during afternoon hours – that having been said, some people have had success with this species in bright, direct sunlight, so feel free to experiment if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind the plant potentially starting to look unsightly.

dreamstime l 208859831
Snake Plant in Bloom | Photo 208859831 © Rahmi Amilia |

Can You Plant a Snake Plant in Full Sun?

This isn’t to say that you can never plant snake plants in full sun. They can actually appreciate a few hours of sunlight during the morning hours as long as they have shade from the hot, afternoon sun.

When given the right conditions, they can grow up to three feet tall and produce beautiful white flowers. (Although some varieties can grow 3-4x this tall.)

While they will tolerate full sun, you should make sure to provide them with some shade during the hottest part of the day. You should also keep an eye on the soil moisture and fertilize the plant every few months. With these steps taken, your Snake Plant should quickly adapt to its new home in the full sun.

Natural vs Artificial Light

All plants need light to survive, so it is important to understand the differences between natural and artificial light when determining how much light your snake plant needs.

Natural light is the best light for your plant as it provides the most beneficial spectrum of light. Artificial light is going to be balanced toward casting a pleasant glow in your house rather than providing the maximum benefit to your plant, but they are also an option, especially with low light plants like the snake plant.

I’ve successfully grown them under 25 and 40 watt bulbs, so you can get away with growing them even under some of the worst artificial lighting conditions.

That having been said:

It is recommended to place your snake plant near a window so it can get some natural light if at all possible and just supplement it with artificial light when needed.

A window that doesn’t typically have the sun shining directly into it is a perfect location for the snake plant.

How to Tell If Your Snake Plant Isn’t Getting Enough Light

When it comes to determining how much light your snake plant needs, it can be hard to tell if it’s not getting enough.

One of the tell-tale signs that a snake plant isn’t getting enough light is when its leaves start to droop and turn yellow. This is a sign that the plant is not getting enough energy from the sun and needs to be moved to a brighter spot.

Other signs of inadequate light include a lack of new growth and slower leaf growth.

When these signs are present, it’s time to temporarily reduce how much water you’re giving the plant and move your snake plant to a brighter location.

How to Tell if Your Snake Plant Is Getting Too Much Light

A common mistake some people make with growing plants is believing that since plants need light, more light is always better.

If your snake plant is getting too much light, however, it may experience stress and develop yellow or brown patches on its leaves. To make sure your snake plant is getting the right amount of light, observe its leaves.

If your plant is getting too much light, you’ll also notice its leaves turning a pale color and generally looking bad. You’ll also notice that its leaves start to curl inward or turn yellow or brown, sometimes in patches and sometimes across entire leaves.

In short, the most common symptoms of a snake plant getting too much sun are:

  • Browning or Yellowing Leaves (Across the Entire Leaf)
  • Unusually Pale Color
  • Brown Spots on Leaves (In Patches on a Healthy Leaf)
  • Wilting or Drooping Leaves

To protect it from too much light, you can move it to a spot that is shielded from direct afternoon sunlight or add a sheer curtain over it. If you’ve planted it in the yard in a sunny spot, you can try using shade cloth or planting a larger plant (tree, shrub, etc) in a spot that will provide shade to your snake plant.

How Many Hours of Sunlight Does a Snake Plant Need?

Snake plants, also known as Sansevieria, are a hearty and easy-to-care-for houseplant. Snake plants are known for their ability to thrive in low light conditions, but it’s important to remember that no plant will thrive in total darkness.

Ideally, you give your snake plant at least 8-12 hours of artificial light per day at a minimum. This can even mean placing it under a small lamp, since snake plants are adapted to growing in low light conditions.

For best results, however, snake plants should receive at least a few hours of indirect sunlight each day, but no more than 6-8 hours. If your snake plant is placed in an area with too much sunlight, the leaves may become scorched.

That having been said, a few hours of direct morning sunlight is fine for a snake plant.

Therefore, the best place to keep your snake plant is in an area with bright, indirect light. This could be a north or east-facing window, or a few feet away from a south- or west-facing window.

What Counts as Indirect Light?

Indirect light is a term used to refer to a light source that is not directly shining on a plant. This kind of lighting is ideal for a snake plant, as it will provide enough light to keep the plant vibrant and healthy without causing it to become sunburned or otherwise damaged.

A great way to get indirect light is to place the snake plant near a window that gets plenty of natural light, but not in direct sun. Using a sheer curtain or burlap to shield a plant from the sun would also count as indirect light.

Essentially, anything that provides bright light from the sky or sun without directly exposing your plant to the sun counts as bright, indirect light.

Can You Keep a Snake Plant in a Room Without Windows?

Keeping a snake plant in a room without windows can be possible, but it is not ideal.

Snake plants prefer bright, indirect light; however, rooms without windows are likely to be too dark. If you still want to keep a snake plant in a room without windows, you can use artificial lighting to give it the light it needs.

You should use fluorescent or LED lights and keep them on for 8-12 hours each day. You should also rotate the plant weekly so that all the leaves have the opportunity to receive the light they need.

In my experience, a 25-40 watt light bulb should be enough at a minimum, though brighter artificial lights are always better. A daylight hue bulb will also be better than a soft white bulb because it will have more of the frequencies that plants can actually use to photosynthesize.


In conclusion, the snake plant is a great plant for growing indoors because it requires very little light. However, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect it entirely.

Make sure to place it in an area where it will still get some natural light, but not too much direct sunlight. With the right amount of light and care, your snake plant will thrive and bring life to any space.

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