Lighting Needs for Your Indoor Plants

Oct 1, 2019

Knowing your plant's light requirement is essential. When selecting your indoor plants, you should have a good idea where that plant will live before you bring it into your home. Visit our plant care guide to learn about your individual plant's light requirements.

What the heck is low light, medium light and bright light?

There is no simple answer to this question as every home is different. The best way to determine how much light a given space provides is to get a light meter and measure the foot candles. If this feels too much like a project, than there are a few different ways to help you decide if you are giving adequate light to your houseplants.

Try the Shadow Method to gauge how much light your space receives.

On a sunny day walk about 5-10 feet away from your window and hold your hand up to the wall, table surface, or body.

If you see a hazy, light gray, 10-20% shadow, then this is low light.

If your shadow is more distinct, around 50% gray than its medium light.

If the shadow is 80% gray of higher than this is a bright light area.

You should conduct this test at different distances from your light source to determine the best placement for your indoor plants.

Can you read a book with the lights off where you place your plant?

If you are able to read a book without the lights turned on then its safe to say that you can successfully grow a low light tolerant indoor plant in that area.

What is direct light?

If the rays of the sun are hitting the plant, then that plant is in direct sunlight.

There are some houseplants that require very bright light, even direct light, so read all of the care information for these plants. You will want to keep an eye out for leaf burn or scorching. If this starts happening to the foliage then move the houseplant farther away from the window and out of the direct sun.

For the most part, plants are grown in greenhouses that provide shade while the plants are growing in order for the houseplants to acclimate easily to your home or office.

As a general rule, avoid placing low light tolerant plants in direct sunlight. There are some plants like sansevieria and dracaena that can easily acclimate to live in direct sunlight, but you should inly do this gradually allowing the plant to adjust to the increased intensity of sunlight.

The rays are of the sun are much stronger during the summer and some plants will need to be protected or moved away from south and west facing windows. During the winter months, you might consider moving high light loving plants directly in front of the windows to better help them undergo photosynthesis.

Your plant isn't growing or is getting thin and leggy!

This could be an indication that your plant isn't getting enough light. Low light tolerant plants will grow much faster and remain full and lush if they are allowed to have access to at least 4 hours a sunlight a day. try moving your houseplants closer to a window or supply them with artificial lights if you feel that they are thinning out or are not generating any new growth.

Here are a few basic guidelines for determining where to place your plant:

1. Low light plants are indoor plants that will tolerate low light. This does not mean that they want to live in less than ideal conditions. Try giving your low light tolerant houseplants at least 4 hours of indirect light a day.

2. North and West facing unobstructed windows provide more light than North and East facing windows.

3. We find fleshy, succulent type plants respond to higher light levels, where as  leafy plants can handle lower light spots.

4. Flowering plants like higher light levels.

5. Make sure your windows are clean!

6. Don’t be afraid to move your plants around experience different areas of the house or office, so if you feel that your plant needs a different view, then you are right.

7. If you have no windows then we recommend adding led grow lights to help keep your houseplants happy and healthy. The grow lights should be on during daylight hours and be placed according to the manufactures instructions.

8. Some houseplants like sansevieria will do very well in bright indirect light, even direct light but will also live in less than ideal lighting conditions and are considered low light tolerant. Always read the light requirement labels on your new indoor plants.

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