Are you a lover of all things green, but just can’t seem to find your own green thumb? It’s not easy to keep houseplants alive, but there are two factors that will help you get started: water and light. The first is a known quantity, the light seems to be overlooked most often when it comes to houseplants.
When selecting plants for the home, light is everything. Before we dive in, let’s look at a few light requirements – and what they actually mean.
Bright Light: Full Sun
These plants will do best directly under east/west windows, and within 5′ of southern windows.
Bright Light Plants
- Wax Plant
- Yucca Cane
- Night-Blooming Cereus
- Ficus Benjamina
Medium Light: Bright Indirect Light
Medium light (bright indirect light) is found near west- and east-facing windows, or further away in rooms lit by those south- and southwest-facing ones.
Plants that need bright indirect light thrive between 1′ and 3′ from east/west windows, and 3′ to 10′ from southern windows. They can also survive directly under northern windows.
Medium Light Plants
- Crown of Thorns
- African Violet
- Dumb Cane
- Boston Fern
- Ti Plant
Low Light: Indirect Light
Low light (indirect light) is usually found near northern windows, several feet away from east or west windows, and even rooms with no windows (you’ll need to turn on a light). Bathrooms typically feature low light, as do corners.
Remember: Low light isn’t no light, and all plants need some light to live. Low-light plants will live up to 3′ from northern windows, 2′ to 10′ from east/west windows, and 15′ to 20′ feet from bright, south-facing windows.
A few rules of thumb apply: flowering plants need more light than foliage, and plants with thick, fleshy leaves tolerate very little light. There are, of course, exceptions to these “rules.”
There are other factors – temperature, humidity, duration of light and light spectrum – that can affect the health of your houseplants. If your plants are showing symptoms including yellowed foliage, leaf drop and elongated, spindly stems, they may not be getting enough sun!
Low Light Plants
- ZZ Plant
- Moth Orchid
- Parlor Palm
- Peace Lily
- Flamingo Flower
- Snake Plant