FAQs: Plant light requirements

Are there any plants that don't needany light?

All plants require light to create energy through photosynthesis. There are no plants that will survive and grow without light. What they need is sun light, standard household lights don't count. That said there are grow lights that can simulate aspects of sunlight your plants require to perform photosynthesis.

What plants thrive in low light?

Most plants prefer bright light, some can manage low amounts of natural light. Almost every plant will perform best with bright light. No plant thrives in low light, but Snake Plants, ZZ Plants, Peace Lily's, Chinese Evergreens and many other plants can survive in it.

What does "Bright Indirect Light" Mean?

A lot of plants say they like Bight Indirect Light. This description is easy enough to share but doesn't provide nearly enough guidance. Bright Indirect Light would mean a few hours of direct sun per day in a room with a lot of light all day. Think of it as a plant below a bigger tree. It's still really bright. Your windows, curtains and any overhangs will reduce the amount of light a plant receives far more than a tree would.

How do Grow Lights Work

Grow lights provide the same spectrum of light that plants would receive from the sun. The two color spectrums that aren't commonly found in most indoor lighting are read and blue. This is why some grow lights will be purple. Recently, grow lights that provide a balanced sunlike spectrum have been proven to perform best.

How much light does my plant need?

Houseplants need light close to the conditions found in their natural habitat. Houseplants we grow in our home come from the tropics, where light conditions range from the full sun (six hours or more of direct sun) to full shade (less than two hours of direct sun). 

The outdoor sun is different from light passing through a window. Obstructions (e.g., trees, overhangs, eaves, and buildings), seasons, and directional exposure affect the amount and quality of light that our plants get.

It is important to consider the light situation we have at home to match the care requirements of the plants we own.

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Direct Sun

Direct light means that the light follows a straight path between the sun and the plant. This also means no obstructions or filters (e.g., sheer curtains) between the sun and the plant. South-facing exposures receive a lot of direct light. West-facing exposure can provide direct light in the afternoons, while east-facing exposure gets a few hours of direct light in the morning.

Bright Indirect Light

Indirect light can be a hard concept to understand because of many factors that affect the amount and intensity of light. We need to consider obstructions and directional exposure to fully understand what indirect light is. 

For example, an obstructed south-facing window can receive the high end of bright indirect light while an unobstructed north-facing window can receive the low end of indirect light.

Shade

Plants for Every Direction (In the Northern Hemisphere)

South

South-facing exposure receives the brightest amount of light and longest exposure to sunlight.  Because of the sun’s path, houseplants in south-facing windows and balconies receive the soft, morning and late afternoon light and bright, midday light. 

Without any obstruction, south-facing windows can get more than six hours of direct light. Plants near south-facing windows will receive the bright, direct light

East or West

West-facing exposure has some soft light in the early morning but gets intense light in the afternoon. Summer afternoons are particularly more intense than any other time of the year. In the summer, be careful of sunburnt leaves for houseplants positioned near west-facing exposures. East-facing exposure gets bright, early morning sun. Light is softer than south- and west-facing exposures due to the sun’s path in the sky. The afternoons provide some shade for the houseplants.

North

North-facing exposure receives the least intense light out of all the exposure. It does not receive any direct light, yet it’s soft enough for plants that prefer less sunlight. Plants placed near the window will receive bright, soft, indirect light. 

How sunlight creates energy for your plants

Photosythesis

Light is the critical ingredient in the process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is how plants convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to energy. Photosynthesis is essential to the growth and survival of a plant.

Photosynthesis is the process where plants make their energy. It occurs in plant cells called chloroplasts to create energy, which is used to support the growth and survival of plants. 

Photosynthesis needs three key components: light, water, and carbon dioxide. The roots absorb water from the soil, and the leaves have special cells that absorb light and carbon dioxide.

Sunlight is the best source of light for plants because it has a balanced wavelength. It's composed of seven different wavelengths. The most important ones for the plants are red and blue. These wavelengths help in root development, leaf and flower growth, and water and carbon dioxide regulation.

When I opened up my eyes I saw the signs

What are the signs my plant needs more light and What can I do when my plant is not getting enough light.

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