Light is one of the most important factors in determining your plant’s success. Incorrect amounts of light exposure can cause plants to lose color, shape, and without proper light, they won’t flower. Therefore, it’s important to know what type of light your plant needs in addition to regularly checking lighting conditions.
The three major types of light that your plant may need are: bright, indirect, and low light.
Bright light is considered direct sunlight for five to six hours a day. For bright light, it is best to place pots near south or west-facing windows. If you don’t get sufficient or consistent light exposure in your home, consider adding additional light through the use of an inexpensive grow light. Make sure to watch out for roof overhangs, shades, or unexpected obstacles that might limit sunlight exposure.
For plants that need indirect sunlight, they need exposure to secondhand light. In other words, they need bright rooms without direct exposure to sun rays. You’ll want to place these plants in an east-facing window or with a bright room with a sheer curtain blocking direct sun.
Low-light plants can thrive in any low-lit environment, whether it be a living room or hallway as they do not need any direct light. For these plants, it’s key to not let the light get too low––plants do still require some sunlight to grow. Luckily, these types of plants don't want--or need--much, and can get along in most rooms.
Which type of light is right for my plant?
The easiest way to know what is best for your plant is to know what type species you have! If you’re buying a new plant, make sure to know the name of what you’re buying and to ask the shopkeeper or look up its lighting needs (most new plants come with their lighting needs attached).
Or, if you already have a plant but may have forgotten the name, there are a few easy ways to figure it out. First, you can download apps on your phone like iNaturalist, or PictureThis and take a photo of your plant to be identified using their algorithms. You can also look up your plant by leaf shape, color, and size and use your online botanist skills to identify your flora. Once you know what your plant’s needs are, remember to keep track and adjust your plant’s placement as needed in the winter when sun exposure decreases.