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How light affects your plants

Plants are incredibly healing, they add an earthy touch and a lot of color to a room, while making you feel calm. For these reasons it makes sense that you want to surround yourself with them. However, there is one important factor you have to take into account when you are selecting plants for your space, and that is light.

Everyone and everything needs energy to grow and survive, even plants. We get the energy we need from food; plants get the energy they need from light, which they convert into energy through a process called photosynthesis. In other words, plants grow and survive by using light as a source of energy. In fact, if you’ve ever had a money tree you may have noticed that it grows bigger and taller in the direction of which the light hits it. Naturally, different plants will seek out varying levels of light, which will help them thrive.

Having said that, while all plants need light to grow, they don’t all need the same amount, nor do they need the same kind of light. Typically, when people talk about the kind of light that plants need, they refer to the amount of time they are exposed to light in a day and the intensity of that light. Normally, the intensity of light will be talked about in the following terms: low/shade, medium/part sun or full/direct sun. Low light plants may only need a couple of hours a day of light, while full light plants may need eight or more hours a day. It’s also important noting that when you buy plants they come with a guide on how much light and water they need, so you don’t have to figure this part out.

Something that can make your life easier when choosing a place for a plant is knowing what direction the room faces, or in what direction the window is pointed at. Based on the direction of your windows the kind of light you will get is the following:

North: Low to moderate, indirect light. Only suited for low light plants. Direct sun or intense sun does not come through.

South: Bright indirect light to full sun in the afternoon. Best for light-loving plants like succulents, cacti and Monstera Deliciosa.

East: Medium bright, indirect light. Best for plants like the Pothos which can tolerate a wider spectrum of light. Any direct sunlight during the day isn’t intense enough to cause leaf burn.

West: Medium bright indirect light with some direct sun moving across at the end of the day. Ideal for most houseplants.

Other things you can consider

-Size of windows: the size of the window will have an effect on how much light comes in. A big window will allow a lot of light to come in and hit big areas of the space. On the other hand, small windows will act as a barrier to light, allowing less to come in. This will play a part in where you place your plants because it will determine where and how much light hits specific areas of your space, hence, making certain spots more or less appropriate for different kinds of plants.

-Artificial lighting: if your house or space has very low light you might need to fill up the darkness with artificial lighting, so your plants can thrive. This also gives you some flexibility in terms of choosing different kinds of plants since you can always control and adjust artificial lighting.

-Obstructions: take into account what might be in the way between your plant and the area where the light comes in. If you have a big TV in between your window and the plant, you may have to move things around if the plant starts showing signs of light shortage.

At this point you might be wondering how to determine if your plant is getting too much or too little light.

Signs that you plants are getting too much light

Singed tips

Burnt patches

Pale and/or yellow tint to leaves

Signs that you plants are getting too little light

Yellowing and droopy leaves

Leggy or stretched out stems

Very small leaves

Brown edges or tips on leaves

Lower leaves dry up

At Plant The Future it is our goal to help you heal with plants. We want you to fill your house with the most beautiful greenery and we want to help you along the way and make it easy for you. Schedule an appointment to visit our gallery or schedule a phone consultation and talk to one of our team members. We also offer landscaping services, along with biophilic design to bring to fruition your dream home and help you achieve happiness and health. Last but not least, we want to invite you to visit our online shop to explore all the plants we carry for different spaces and light needs.