Finding the right balance of light for your houseplants can be a little tricky. Knowing the difference between direct light, medium light, and low light is important. Also important is recognizing the signs your plant gives you that lets you know if it’s receiving too much or too little light. Louisville’s top florist, Nanz and Kraft Florists want to help you keep your plants healthy and growing so here’s our quick and easy guide on identifying the proper amount of sunlight for your plants.
How Your Plant Tells You Know It Needs More Light
Light is food for plants so when they don’t get enough their stems become skinny and sparse, also known as “leggy.” Skinny, light-deprived stems also have wide spaces between the leaves. This space is known as the internodal space, and large internodes are signs the plant is not getting enough light.
If the new leaves on your plant seem much smaller than they should be, then it’s likely not receiving adequate light. Just compare the new growth to the old growth to see if there is a marked difference in size.
When a plant contorts its shape in order to reach a light source, it is clearly light deprived. This will result in a one-sided or lopsided plant that is bare on one side. To keep this from happening, move the plant closer to the light and make sure to turn it once a week to ensure all the leaves get adequate sun.
Abnormal Leaf Color
Pale yellow leaves or variegated leaves that have lost their colors are signs of light deficiency. The green color of the leaves is what helps a plant absorb light and create photosynthesis providing the plant with its food source. When there isn’t enough light, variegated leaves will lose their colorful lines and become full-on green to absorb as much light as it can. For leaves that are already green, they will become pale, then yellow, then eventually fall off.
Slowed Growth or No Growth
If the growth of your plant seems stunted, then you may want to move it to a sunnier spot. Plants need the energy they get from light to grow as big and lush as they are meant to.
Getting the Light Right
Seeing some of the above signs in your plant doesn’t necessarily mean the solution is as simple as moving it closer to a bright window. Sometimes, doing so will result in your plant getting too much light. The area around a window that gets direct sunlight can get really warm and may be too much for your plant to handle. Only sun-loving plants like cacti, palms, and succulents should be in direct light for most of the day.
For most other plants, medium to indirect bright light is best. What this looks like is a room that gets light for most of the day, but it’s not direct light meaning there is a sheer curtain, or a bit of shade, or a dappling effect coming in the window, etc.
It takes a little trial and error to get the lighting just right, but know that your plant will let you know if it’s happy and healthy or not. Just pay attention to it.