Plant Care: Understanding Your Lighting
Let's start with the basics...
Every plant family has a specific requirement for lighting and it usually is determined on where the plant originates. A plant from Central America is going to require different care than a plant that originates from Asia. We always encourage you to dive deeper into the plants you adopt and understand the native environments in which they grow, as this can help you determine its' specific needs.
Before you adopt a specific plant you should ask these two questions,
"What lighting does this plant require" and "Can I provide this amount of lighting?" Depending on the intensity and amount of light a plant receives determines every other care element like frequency of watering, growth habit, the type of soil it should be potted in and so much more. Keep reading to learn how to determine what kind of lighting you have in your home and what "bright indirect light" actually means.
The extra cute diagram (pictured above) shows the different directions the windows in your house may face and what light intensity that light source may provide. Let's start with the highest amount of light and work our way down;
SOUTH: Direct sun all day long. This window direction typically receives 4+ hours of direct sun, meaning that you can literally feel the sun intensity through the window. Perfect place for Cacti, Succulents and all your other sun-loving babes.
WEST: Usually when you hear "medium light," this is what they might mean. Direct sun in the evening only but, bright filtered sun throughout the rest of the day. Crassula Ovata aka Jade trees love this direction of lighting, certain species of Hoya and Aloe also can thrive here.
EAST: Could be considered "low/medium" light but, when you hear "bright indirect" this is typically what they're referring to. Direct sun in the morning only, though usually not as intense as late evening (western) and very bright filtered light the rest of the day. Most tropical plants thrive here including Monstera, Philodendron as well as Rhipsalis and so many more.
NORTH: If you have a north facing window, you never receive any direct sun but rather, filtered light all day long. Keep in mind the intensity of light here is very very low. Very few plants can thrive here with the exception of the reliable ZZ, Sansevieria or Spathiphyllum aka "Peace Lily."
GROW LIGHTS: Want to place your plant in your window-less bathroom? Do you only have north facing windows but really want that succulent? You still have options! These days, grow lights can be found at most hardware stores and at fairly affordable prices! You can also choose if you want just a bulb to screw into an existing lamp or an entire grow light fixture. There are so many options so do some research and determine what's the best solution for you!
A few very important things to consider when assessing the lighting in your home:
- Do you have an awning or covered patio?
- Is there a large tree or shrub in front of this window?
- Is there a building or house next to or close by?
- Do you have coated or UV protected windows?
All of these factors can interfere with the amount and intensity of light your plant can receive. This also includes whether you intend on placing your plant directly in the window or a few feet back; you'd be surprised to discover how much light you can loose by placing your Cactus in your southern window or on your kitchen counter a few feet back.
You can always use an app on your phone to help you figure out what direction if you're still unsure. Also, these days there are a ton of tools to help you take out all the guess work like a light meter tool or even an app!
We know, it's a lot to consider but once you nail down your lighting you can confidentially plant shop till you drop! As always, we are here to help if you have further questions, you can email us at email@example.com or DM us on instagram!