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Light for Houseplants is an important aspect as they require light to make food for growth and survival. The correct light is essential as without light a plant will suffer or even die.
Light is one of the major components required for plants to make their own food for growth and energy.
The process of making food in plants called photosynthesis only occurs in the presence of light energy.
Therefore it is very important to provide houseplants with the correct light amount and intensity to ensure that they are growing and remain healthy.
If you fail to provide adequate light, the plants will grow leggy with elongated weak stems, wide spaces between the leaf nodes and undersized pale leaves, a phenomenon referred to as, 'etiolatation'. Such plants will grow slowly, become stunted and can even die.
To provide the correct lighting for your indoor plants requires that you consider the two aspects of lighting which control growth of plants.
These aspects of lighting are the duration and the intensity of light. We have discussed herebelow, how light affects growth of plants. Keep reading.
The duration of light that a plant requires is 8-10 hours per day for most houseplants to maintain active growth.
If there is less light, there is reduced food production which results in poor growth and stunting of the plant.
The intensity requirement varies enormously from plant to plant. Some plants prefer a sunny windowsill, others light shade, others can tolerate direct sunshine while others relish direct sunshine. Check out this guide on how to select houseplants based on light intensity.
If an indoor plant is receiving too little light, it will exhibit the following signs.
If your plants are showing the signs above, move the plants to a brighter spot or invest in a grow light to save them from imminent death.
A houseplant that is receiving too much light will exhibit the following signs.
If your plants are exhibiting the signs above, move them to a more shaded spot to prevent them from deteriorating further or even dying.
In most houseplant care guides the terms used to describe the light requirements may not be clear.
The human eye is a poor instrument for measuring light intensity. This simple guide can help you determine the right spot for your plant. Read on.
This is an area with as much light as possible or very bright light with direct sunlight. Such a spot is ideal for plants that can withstand scorching conditions like Desert Cacti, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Gerbera Daisy, Pink Jasmine, Snake Plant and ZZ Plant among others.
These sunny spots include such areas as;
This is a brightly-lit area with some sunlight falling on the leaves of the plants during the day or what is referred to as bright light with some direct sunlight.
This spot is perfect for many flowering houseplants and some sunloving foliage plants like Saintpaulia (African Violet), Cordyline terminalis (Ti Plant), Rubber Plants (Ficus elastica), Codiaeum (Crotons) among others.
These brightly lit spots with some direct sunshine include such areas as;
This is an area close to but not in the zone lit by direct sunlight. Here there is no sunlight falling on the plants. This is what is usually referred to as bright, indirect light or bright, filtered light.
Many indoor plants like Monstera deliciosa, Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily), Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum), Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella Tree), Dieffenbachia among others grow best when placed in this area.
These brightly lit sunless spots include such areas as;
This is a moderately lit area. Few flowering indoor plants can flourish here but many foliage plants like Marantas, Dracaena marginata, Dracaena fragrans, Baby's Tears (Helxine), Pothos among others will grow happily. Most of the bright but sunless foliage houseplants can adapt to these conditions.
These partially shaded (semi-shaded) spots include such areas as;
This is a poorly lit area but bright enough to read a newspaper during several hours of the day.
Only a few foliage plants will flourish with the exception of Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen), Aspidistra (Cast Iron Plant), Asplenium Fern (Bird's Nest Fern), Heartleaf (Philodendron scandens) among others.
Many semi-shade foliage indoor plants will adapt to these conditions and will actually thrive. No flowering houseplant can thrive in these conditions. Check out this list of low light houseplants.
These shaded spots include such areas as;
Note: There are many exceptions to these guidelines. Look up the requirements of your houseplant in the Houseplants A-Z Guide.