Light Guide for Happy Indoor Plants
Updated: Feb 5, 2022
Lighting is very important for the healthy growth and survival of your plant. There are different lighting that are suited to different plants and under different situations. I'm going to demonstrate typical sunlight conditions in our home and how plants can benefit. (Read on to learn how you can grow plants without sunlight. Yes, it's possible!)
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this article which means I do earn a small percentage if you buy any of these products. It won’t cost you anything, but it helps me to run this site. Thank you for supporting my plant and cat journey! Let’s grow together 🐱💚🌱
Why Do Plants Need Light?
Plant leaves function a lot like solar panels. Instead of creating energy, they create food for the plant by harnessing light energy from the sun (or any other light source). Plants make food via a process called photosynthesis, wherein they trap light energy with their leaves and use it to change water and carbon dioxide into glucose. Most plants contain a colored chemical or pigment called chlorophyll that is utilized in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is what absorbs the sun's energy and turns it into chemical energy.
Importance of Window Orientation
It's important to know the orientation of your windows in relation to the sun because that is how you will get natural light. The sun rises from the east and sets in the west, and because of the angle in which the earth tilts around the sun, you get less direct light in the north and it gradually increases towards the south. Light colored walls will help get the room more sunlight.
Here are some terms used to describe a houseplant's light preferences and the window location that might best suit it:
This is the light that comes in through south-west facing windows, and is the most intense light for indoors. It exposes plants directly to the sun's rays and works best for cactus and succulents. I put my Hoyas in my south facing kitchen window. The plants did not react well to the direct light and was burnt from the direct sunrays. So I actually added a frosted film/ screen to diffuse those intense sunrays. The Hoyas were a lot happier after I added that. If you're interested adding a screen to your south-west facing window, click here for the window privacy film I used.
This kind of light falls between direct and medium light. It comprises the spots 3 to 6 feet away from a window that receive a certain direct light before being obstructed. It works well for all indoor plants. This is the light that comes in through south-west facing windows.
Medium light falls in the area that is 6 to 10 feet. Although it is pretty bright, it is not as strong as direct light. This kind of lighting is good for palms, dracaenas, philodendrons etc.
These are areas that are 10 feet or further from windows, or places that have no natural light. Although there are certain plant species that can adapt to low light, most of them grow slowly. In case the plants start to look weak and droopy, consider shifting them to medium light. This is the light that comes in through north facing windows especially in the winter.
Don't worry if you live in a cave. Artificial light provide the adequate amount of light that is needed when there is a lack of natural light. These are indoor, full-spectrum lights that can imitate the sun and are best suited for low light areas.
My Experience with Grow Lights
Grow Lights are helpful especially during the winter when there is a lack of sunlight, during gloomy days or when there are darker corners in your house. The Soltech Grow lights that I am using saved my plants during the winter. They were the first fancy grow lights I ever owned. I had always thought grow lights were complicated and hard to use, but these are user friendly and aesthetically pleasing .
Provides a good range of light for plants that require different conditions
Easy to install
Comes with two outlet types
The heads are adjustable and you can slide in multiple spots
Has a timer
Modern and Sleek design
It can be a pricey investment. The setup I own is around 300 dollars and so far, and its worth it. For 15% off your Soltech grow lights use my discount code "FELINEJUNGLE". Click here to check out their different types of growlights ranging from $75 - $200. (Feline Jungle is an affiliate partner with Soltech Solutions).
How to Know If Your Grow Lights are Working?
Plants need to acclimatize to different kinds of lighting. I also move my plants till they find a happy spot. Too much light can singe your plants. Grow Lights also kind of determines the placement of the plants- whether it needs high light on top and low on the bottom.
Here is how I knew that the grow lights were working.
Variegation on birkin
Micans growing upwards
Variegation on stromanthe
However, it was too intense for some plants like calathea rattlesnake and peperomia hope.
Make sure to experiment with various placements to see what kind of lighting best works for your plant. It is also helpful to check the lighting requirements of a plant before you buy it to see if you provide such lighting conditions. Most importantly, do not be discouraged by mistakes. Learn from my mistakes!