Plant Graded

Can Pothos Tolerate Direct Sunlight?

Pothos are plants known for their toughness and good tolerance to all types of growing conditions. You can adorn your balcony railing or pillars with Pothos and turn them into an instant source of admiration for guests and passersby. You can even bring them indoors as hanging décor for your bookshelf. Or if you want, you can spruce up your bathroom with these green beauties!

can pothos tolerate direct sunlight

Since Pothos seem to thrive almost everywhere, people cannot help but wonder if they can just place these plants in any part of their home. Can Pothos tolerate direct sunlight?

No, Pothos cannot tolerate and doesn’t like direct sunlight at all. Unfiltered and heavily bright lights are already too harsh for Pothos plants. Instead, they prefer growing in indirect bright light. It means that if you want to get the best results, an east-facing window is a perfect spot for your Pothos.

Signs Pothos is Getting Too Much Direct and Bright Light

If you left your Pothos under the scorching heat outdoors, it would receive excessive light. But there are also instances when even lighting inside your home can become too harsh for your Pothos.

Below are some of the most common signs that will let you know that your Pothos is getting excessive light:

Discolored Leaves

It is only natural and expected for heat to dry out your Pothos plants completely to the point that the leaves turn yellow. The foliage of your Pothos will also get fried and burn if you leave the plant under direct sun for a long time. But it is important to remember that there might still be other reasons why your Pothos is turning brown.

Absence of Vine Production

You can blame the sun and even yourself for leaving your Pothos outside if it suddenly looks dense and stops producing vines. The stress brought about by the heat will prohibit the plant from producing food, thus making it stunted.

Weak and Wilted Plant

If your Pothos has been exposed to direct sunlight, it might look like it is dying. However, don’t worry since a few hours under the sun will cause wilting but you can always bring it back to life right away.

Excessive dehydration is the main culprit for why the leaves of your Pothos look floppy and limp. To address the problem, you just need to bring the plant inside and give it some water to revive it in just a few hours.

Signs Pothos Doesn’t Get Enough Light

Just like how there are signs that your Pothos gets too much light, it is also easy to tell if the plant needs more sunlight or it doesn’t get enough in the first place.

Here are some of the easy-to-detect signs that your Pothos needs additional light.

Weeks of Damp Soil

If the potting soil of your Pothos is still damp even after a week since you last watered it, it only implies an absence of evaporation

Also, if your plant doesn’t absorb much water, it means that it doesn’t photosynthesize, which explains why the soil remains wet even after weeks. Root rot and fungal infection will kill your plant soon enough if not for the lack of food.

Leaves Look Frail and Discolored

The leaves of your Pothos will lose their waxy appearance and get discolored little by little if it doesn’t get enough light. Incorrect lighting conditions will be seen through the foliage’s color.

If your Pothos is a variegated variety, it will gradually start to revert to an entirely green leaf while the chlorophyll starts spreading in the variegated spots to improve food production. Sadly, it is an irreversible change, which means that you can say goodbye to those variegations forever.

Too Many Leaves Dropping

Did the healthy leaves of your Pothos turn yellow and drop out of nowhere? It is only common for the mature leaves located at the lowest part of the plant to drop now and then. But it is a completely different story if the top leaves are the ones falling out.

Pothos often drop their leaves to signal stress because of insufficient production of food. If the plant fails to produce adequate food because of the lack of light, its leaves will start to drop in an attempt to cut back on food consumption.

Excessive watering can also be the reason for detached and droopy leaves. However, if the soil of the plant is mostly dry, low light is most definitely the culprit.

Leaning Towards the Light Source

If you place your Pothos in a dark area, they will be inclined to lean towards any source of light they can find in the place. The leaves of the plant can turn at 360 degrees and face the source of light to acquire the light it needs to produce food.

This unique phenomenon is the survival instinct of plants. Thankfully, it is only temporary. Putting the plants near a bright window for several days will help the plant go back to its actual shape and regain the right lean.

Brown Tips and Edges on Leaves

Pothos leaves, specifically the tips and edges, will start turning crispy and brown without enough light. These patches will produce a yellow outline.

The brown edges are some of the common signs of different issues including excessive fertilization, sunburns, fungal infections, and underwatering. But if none of these are the reason for the issue, the low lighting conditions are to blame here.

However, if none of these are responsible, it is low lights!

Leggy Appearance with Extended Internodes

A leggy Pothos will have elongated stems and extended internodes. The stem will become long and thin as it seeks light.

The plant will also start expanding its leaves and stems to reach any source of light available that can be used for photosynthesis.

Rather than appearing complete and bushy, the Pothos plant will start looking sluggish and stringy, and the vining stems grow further apart. The leaves will also be noticeably small in size and sparse. They will start losing luster and forming white streaks.

Unfortunately, you cannot correct the leggy appearance even if you put your Pothos in a bright area. But the new leaves will appear less leggy with a shortened distance between the new internodes.

The Bottom Line

While Pothos plants can recover after living in low light situations, the same thing cannot be said for exposure to intense direct sunlight.