How To Decide How Much Sunlight Your Houseplants Need

Every plant is different. When you purchase them from your local garden center you will find they have a label, this usually tells you what environment they like and whether they prefer sunny or shady spots. Although plants like sunshine and need it to flourish, some prefer it to be indirect, while others like direct sunshine.

However, what may surprise you is regardless of whether you are dealing with small or large plants, or if you have plants that prefer shade, they all need between 5-6 hours of sunshine a day. But, as mentioned, that doesn’t necessarily mean direct sunshine. You need to determine how much direct and indirect sunshine each of your houseplants needs.

Why Light Makes A Difference

Plants need sunlight. The plant absorbs sunlight through its leaves and uses the energy of the sun to create the nutrients it needs to flourish. If they get too much sunlight and therefore excessive levels of energy, they will turn the energy into heat and push it out of the plant.

The brighter and more direct the sun the more likely it is that they will push the energy back out. In short, if you give them more sunlight than they need they will simply waste it. At the same time, it will make them work harder to stay healthy which will stress the plant and increase the likelihood of it becoming ill.

Establishing The Right Light Levels

When you are outside it is very easy to see which parts of your yard have direct sun and which have shade. However, it is not the same inside. If you take a look at the space inside your home you will be able to identify where the sun hits throughout the day. This is the direct sunlight area. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the room is indirect or shaded.

Light bounces around inside a home, making it difficult to ascertain how much light a plant will get.

Sunny spots are generally south-facing while indirect light spots have a shield between them and the direct light. Low-light spaces are easier to spot as they are almost always dark.

Finding The Right Spot

After looking at the different light levels in your home and establishing whether the plant prefers direct or indirect light, you will be able to do a little trial and error. This is the most effective way to find the right spot. Simply place the plant in a position and leave it for 2-3 weeks. If it doesn’t appear to be flourishing you will need to move it and try it somewhere else

Don’t forget that plants may also need to be moved in winter when the sun is weaker and it is harder to get the needed 5-6 hours of sunlight. Your plants may need to have different spots in your home according to the seasons!

Don’t forget that temperature and humidity also play a part in the health of a plant, you need to factor these into your equations and tests.


Tags: green, houseplants, interior design, plants

Author: Maja Markovski

Maja Markovski

A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


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