The Best Light Conditions for Spider Plants Grown Indoors

The spider plant, or Chlorophytum comosum, is a popular houseplant known for its green and white arching leaves. This beginner-friendly species enjoys bright, indirect sunlight, but it is tolerant of darker conditions as well. The so-called ribbon plant will adapt and thrive in many environments. However, it’s worth learning about the role light can play in its health. Read on to discover more about the spider plant’s light requirements to help yours grow and thrive.

Spider Plant Light Requirements – The Essentials

Spider plants prefer to grow in bright, indirect sunlight. This species does best in sheltered conditions with partial shade, as direct sunlight can burn its leaves. An ideal location for a spider plant would be in close proximity to a south, east, or west-facing aspect behind some form of a filter such as a partially drawn blind. 

The Role of Light in Plant Growth and Health

The Role of Light in Plant Growth and Health

First, what role does light play in plant growth and health? Well, plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis. This process is how plants produce their own fuel to grow and maintain optimal health. Each plant species will have distinct light conditions that it needs to grow and thrive.

You may have heard a few different terms relating to the quality of light your houseplants need. Let’s define a few of those terms to make sure your plants enjoy their preferred light conditions.

  • Bright, direct light: This will be a spot that receives direct sunlight all day. Usually, somewhere near a south or west-facing window works best for indoor plants that prefer bright, direct light.
  • Bright, indirect light: This is a location that receives ample light. However, sunlight should illuminate the space rather than hitting your plants directly.
  • Mixed-light: This refers to a mix of light sources. Plants that do well in mixed-light conditions may enjoy a combination of indirect sunlight and artificial lighting.
  • Filtered light: This is when the light source is filtered in some way before reaching your plant. For example, sheer curtains may filter light coming in from a bright window.
  • Low light: This light quality is usually easy to find in darker rooms in your home. Rooms with shaded windows that don’t illuminate the space may be suitable for plants that prefer low light conditions. Certain types of plants can thrive without sunlight or minimal light exposure.

Now, you already know that the spider plant prefers bright, indirect light. Find a spot near a window for your spider plant to live, and it is sure to grow beautiful, robust foliage for you to enjoy.

Spider Plant Light Conditions in Their Native Habitats

Spider Plant Light Conditions in Their Native Habitats

Spider plants are native to tropical and southern regions in Africa, and they grow well in light conditions and warm and humid environments that replicate their natural habitat. Now, the plant has been naturalized in many other areas, including the western region of Australia.

The species does well in shaded outdoor conditions and indoor environments with plenty of indirect light. Spider plants can tolerate lower light conditions, but you will notice less growth over time. Recently propagated spider plants will also do best in bright, indirect light conditions.

Signs Your Spider Plant is Receiving Too Much Light

Signs Your Spider Plant is Receiving Too Much Light

Simply put, even the most tolerant plants can receive too much sunlight. The ribbon plant is adaptable, but too much light will damage its leaves and stifle its growth. If your spider plant receives too much direct sunlight, it will burn. Its leaves will turn brown at the edges, and they may begin to wilt or droop.

Overexposure to sunlight may also cause the Chlorophytum comosum’s leaves to thicken and turn yellow (and may require pruning). This is a way the plant tries to cope with suboptimal lighting conditions. To summarize, here are a few of the telltale signs that your spider plant is receiving too much light.

  • Its leaves are turning brown and crispy at the tips.
  • Its leaves are wilting or drooping unnaturally.
  • New foliage is growing abnormally thick.
  • Leaves and new growth are turning yellow.

Signs Your Spider Plant Isn’t Receiving Enough Light

On the other hand, if your spider plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight, its foliage will look less healthy and abundant. It may begin to turn yellow or lose some of its green pigment, taking on a pale, faded appearance. Additionally, variegated varieties may lose their white stripes if they don’t receive enough sunlight. Keep an eye out for common spider plant pests, bugs, and diseases as well and you may need to repot your spider plant to provide a fresh nutrient base.

Your ribbon plant may also go looking for more light, leaning toward any light source it can detect. This is one of the many ways your spider plant will communicate that it needs more light. To recap, here are a few of the common signs that your spider plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight.

  • Variegated leaves are losing their white stripes.
  • Its leaves look washed out or faded.
  • Its leaves are turning yellow.
  • The plant is leaning in one direction.

The Best Light Exposure for Indoor Spider Plants

The Best Light Exposure for Indoor Spider Plants

If you can find a spot in your home with bright, indirect sunlight, your spider plant will grow happily. Scan your space for surfaces that are illuminated during the day without making direct contact with the sun’s rays. North, south, east, or west-facing positions all work well for the spider plant, and it will tolerate lower light environments if needed.

Additionally, you may consider placing your spider plant in a hanging basket. This puts it in a great position to absorb the light reflecting off the walls in a room. Whether the plant is hanging or sitting on a surface, it’s a good idea to rotate it periodically to ensure even light exposure.

Remember, plants often need different amounts of light depending on the season. This is true for the Chlorophytum comosum, as it grows more during the warm summer months and becomes dormant in the winter. Naturally, this means that your plant needs more light during the warmer seasons and less when the cold months roll around.

Wrapping Up

Chlorophytum comosum, or the spider plant, is a fun and beginner-friendly addition to any household that offers a host of additional benefits. If you take a little care to mimic its native light conditions, your spider plant will grow and thrive as a loyal household companion.

Go ahead and welcome this lively species into your home. It will reward you with beautiful foliage and maybe even a few offshoots you can give to fellow plant lovers. 

Spider Plant Care at Home:

For more essential tips on caring for spider plants at home see our essential guide to watering spider plants and the best soil mix for spider plants.

Spider Plant Light Requirements FAQ: 

Spider plants are considered low-light plants thriving best in bright, indirect light conditions throughout the majority of the day.

Artificial growth lights can be used in rooms that receive minimal to no natural light exposure to help develop spider plants grown indoors. Just be sure to use a low-level setting and ideally don’t expose the plant to direct artificial light for extended periods of time.

The natural habitat for most spider plants is in the forest underneath where they are often shaded to a degree by other adjacent plants. These bigger plants filter light and limit the light that spider plants receive.

Spider plants do best when they receive 6+ hours of bright, indirect light throughout the day, but they can also do well in medium to low light.

Spider plants that are overexposed to direct light typically start to display discoloration in the leaves and may start to turn a shade of yellow. Wilting, curling, or crisping of the leaves are also common signs.


Brandy Wells is an American copywriter and content writer living in Spain. From hiking in her hometown near the Smoky Mountains to digging in the dirt in rural Oregon, she has always put a love of nature at the heart of her endeavors. These days, you’ll catch her writing content, and of course, taking breaks to tend to her growing houseplant collection.

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