Being a houseplant parent is similar to raising four teenagers. You can provide the same environment for all involved, and rarely is anyone ever truly satisfied. And just like parenting human children, being a plant parent requires effort on your part to learn what suits your indoor plants best. Pots, soil, watering techniques, humidity, and proper lighting all play a crucial role in keeping your plant babies from pouting in the corner claiming you love the other plants more. Today, let’s focus on providing the best light conditions for indoor plants.
Most of us didn’t consider window placement and light requirements when purchasing or renting our homes, so we have to work with what we have. And, if you’re like me and once indoors, whatever direction you’re facing is north, figuring out what type of lighting you have can be a challenge. (Tip: I noticed when I pulled into my garage, my car’s compass said I was facing south. And that, dear friends, was how I figured out the lighting in my house. True story.) And, knowing what kind of light those compass points provide can be even more confusing. Worry not, we can help clear that up for you. Below is a list of compass directions and what type of light they provide:
North Facing: Least amount of sunlight
South Facing: Most amount of sunlight
East Facing: Early morning sunlight
West Facing: Strong afternoon sunlight
“But Tami, how do I translate this into the light requirements on the plant care tags?” Glad you asked, I’m happy to divulge this information:
- North facing windows are ideal for low-light plants such as Janet Craig Dracaena. It will never receive direct sunlight, nor will that light ever be warm or intense, so there’s no chance of leaf scorch/sunburn. (Low Light)
- South facing windows are where you want your hearty plants that can take intense, bright light. Succulents work well here and can tolerate the hot, intense sun and actually quite enjoy it. (Bright light/Full Sun-ish)
- East facing windows provide a warm, happy sunbeam to your plants that like bright, indirect light for part of the day but then need a rest to keep from getting too hot and getting leaf burn. (Medium/bright indirect light)
- West facing windows will provide plants a cool, bright morning, but a hot, intense afternoon sun exposure. (Bright indirect/Full Sun-ish)
*I say full sun-ish here, because while there is a window between your plant and direct sunlight, window qualities vary.
Something else to consider when buying plants for your indoor lighting availability is outside structures and tree cover. For example, if you have two north-facing windows but have a six foot covered porch outside of those windows, that will also reduce the amount of natural light available to your plants. If you think about these plants in their natural habitat, some are standing proud in the bright sun, some are shaded by tree canopies, some are snuggled lower to the ground in cool, moist, fully-shaded conditions. Keep that nugget tucked in the back of your mind when choosing plant placement and grouping in your home.
Overall, if you choose a plant that is fairly versatile with the light requirements (Name drop: Pothos), you will likely have no problems with it acclimating to its environment. However, if you have a fabulous plant baby that just isn’t happy where it is and aren’t sure what to do, reach out to us on social media! Tag us in the picture or shoot us a note on the website, and we will be happy to offer our expertise! We are excited to grow with you!