Low Light and Philodendron: Can They Thrive in Dim Conditions?

Philodendrons are easy-to-care-for plants that require little maintenance. They are also very tolerant of different types of soil and environment. Additionally, philodendrons are known for purifying and improving indoor air quality.

Philodendrons are an excellent option for those who want to add some greenery to their home without worrying about maintenance. However, this plant is native to tropical America, where the temperature and humidity are constantly high. That’s why many people wonder if they can grow this plant in low light.

This article will answer all your questions regarding growing philodendron plants in low light. So, read on if you want to learn more about this topic.

Table of Contents

Can Philodendron Grow in Low Light?

Philodendron can grow in low light because it’s a shade-loving plant that thrives in areas that do not receive direct sunlight. In fact, this plant can tolerate low light because it’s native to the understory of the rainforest. In their natural habitat, philodendrons receive filtered sunlight and are accustomed to lower light levels.

A Philodendron in Low Light

Generally, philodendron is a versatile plant that can be grown in various environments, making it an excellent choice for those who want to add greenery to their home without having to worry about maintenance. When grown indoors, this plant will adapt to the available light. But bright indirect sunlight is the best choice for this plant.

Philodendrons prefer bright indirect sunlight because it is less intense and won’t scorch their leaves. They also do well in shady areas.

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Suitable plants for dark

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What Are the Best Low-Light Philodendron Varieties?

There are wide philodendron varieties that love low light. One of these variants is the Philodendron hederaceum or heartleaf philodendron. Another one is philodendron melanochrysum.

Let’s go over every low-light philodendron variety and discuss it in detail.

1. Philodendron erubescens: this variety does well in low light because they are native to the rainforest understory. They have adapted to common light conditions by developing large leaves that can capture more light.

2. Philodendron hederaceum: also called heartleaf philodendron, is a species of flowering plant in the family of Araceae, native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. A popular houseplant in temperate regions, it is an evergreen vine growing to 2–3 m (7–10 ft) tall, with heart-shaped leaves, 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 8–15 cm (3–6 in) broad.

3. Philodendron melanochrysum: This variety does well in low light because it can adapt to different light conditions. It can grow in bright and low-light areas, and its leaves will change color depending on the light they receive. This plant does not require a lot of light to thrive, so it is a good option for those who do not have a lot of sunlight in their home.

4. Philodendron pedatum: this variety does well in low light because it is a shade-loving plant. It is native to the rainforests of South America, where it grows under the canopy of taller trees. This plant prefers indirect sunlight and will do best in a room that receives bright, filtered light.

5. Philodendron selloum: this variety do well in low light because they are native to the rainforest, where it is typically quite shady. They have large, leathery leaves that help them store water to survive dry conditions.

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How Much Light Does a Philodendron Need?

Philodendron plants need at least 12 hours of bright, indirect light daily to thrive and grow healthy. They can tolerate less light but will not grow fully. If you are growing philodendrons indoors or in a colder climate, you can provide your philodendron with artificial light to help it grow healthy and strong.

To ensure that your philodendron gets enough light during the day, you should place it near a west-facing window. But if you are growing your plant indoors and using grow light, then you should measure the light intensity that you provide to the plant and adjust the power of the light source accordingly.

To measure light intensity, you will need a light meter. Place the light meter close to the plant, and ensure that the sensor points directly toward the light source. Take a reading, and then change the intensity of the light source accordingly.

The light intensity required to grow a healthy philodendron is between 2,500–10,000 lux (250–1,000 foot candles). If your light meter indicates a value within this range, then there is no need to take action.

What Are the Benefits of Growing Philodendrons in Low Light?

The main benefit of growing philodendrons in low light is reduced height and leaf size. This will result in a small plant that is easy to take care of and does not require a lot of space. Also, providing philodendrons with low light makes them ideal for growing in rooms with little natural light, such as basements or offices. Finally, small philodendrons are less likely to cause allergies than large ones.

Growing philodendrons in low light may come at a cost. In fact, there are several drawbacks to growing a plant in low light:

  1. The growth rate will be slower.
  2. The roots will need more time to absorb nutrients, so the plant will need more fertilizer to keep it healthy.
  3. The plant will start stretching toward the light, which may result in leggy growth.
  4. Low light will reduce photosynthesis which means that the plant will not be able to produce as much food.

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What Are the Challenges of Growing Philodendrons in Low Light?

Growing philodendron in low light has many advantages but comes with serious challenges. For example, low light will cause legginess to this plant. Additionally, philodendrons can also start leaning when grown in low light. Finally, the lack of optimal light can make philodendrons vulnerable to pests and diseases.

This section will cover all the difficulties of growing the philodendron plant in low light.


Low light can make philodendron leggy because it causes the plant to stretch to reach the light. This can cause the plant to become thin and weak. Additionally, low light can cause the leaves to turn yellow.

Low light is one of the many causes of philodendron legginess. In other cases, this plant may become leggy for different reasons. For example, too much nitrogen in the soil can also cause this plant to become leggy, as it will grow too quickly and be unable to support itself. Additionally, Insufficient support can cause philodendrons to become leggy as well.


When philodendron is grown in low light, it will often lean towards the light source to receive more light. This is because the plant is not receiving enough light to grow evenly, so it has to search for light by leaning.

Philodendron may also start leaning if it is not getting enough water. Generally, if a plant is not getting enough water, it will wilt and lean over.

Small leaves

Low light can make philodendron leaves small because the plant isn’t getting enough light to photosynthesize. In fact, when a plant doesn’t get enough light, it doesn’t have the energy it needs to produce enough food, so its leaves will be smaller.

More Probability for Diseases and Pests Infestation

Low light conditions make philodendrons susceptible to diseases and pests because the plant cannot produce enough food to support itself. In this case, the plant is also more likely to be attacked by pests because it cannot make enough of its own defenses.

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How Do I Know if My Philodendron Needs More Light?

Many signs indicate that a philodendron needs more light. One sign is yellow leaves. Another one is dropping leaves. Additionally, a philodendron may experience stunted growth and become dull-green when lacking light.

Let’s dive deep into each one of the signs mentioned above.

Yellowing Leaves

If a philodendron does not have enough light, its leaves will turn yellow. This is because the plant cannot produce enough chlorophyll, the necessary substance that gives plants its green color. Without chlorophyll, the plant cannot make food and will eventually die.

Dropping of Leaves

If a philodendron does not receive enough light, its leaves will begin to drop off. This is because the plant cannot photosynthesize correctly and produce food to survive. Without enough light, the plant will slowly start to die.

Stunted Leaf Growth

If a philodendron does not receive enough light, it will experience stunted growth. The plant will not be able to produce enough food for itself, so it will not grow as large as it would if it had enough light.

Elongated Stems

If a philodendron does not receive enough light, it will experience elongated stems to reach an area that is better lit. This is because the plant needs light to photosynthesize and produce food. If the plant cannot get enough light, it will eventually die.

Dull-Green Color

When a philodendron does not receive enough light, it will have a dull-green color. This is because the plant cannot produce enough chlorophyll necessary for photosynthesis. Without enough chlorophyll, the plant cannot make the food it needs to survive and will eventually die.

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Diana Cox

I'm Diana from thegardeningtalk.com. I love to spend my free time in my garden. It's a place where I can be creative, feel calm and learn new things about life. I started gardening when I was in elementary school and it became a passion of mine. Now I love to share my love of gardening with others by teaching classes and giving advice.

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