Caring for your houseplants involves more than just making sure you water them regularly, you need to consider their lighting requirements as well. Of course, most plants come with tags indicating whether the plant is suitable for bright light, medium light, or low light, but what do those terms really mean? Here at Rochester’s top florist, Kittelberger Florist, we’ll help you make sure your plants are getting plenty of light and what to look for regarding their overall health.
Signs Your Plants Require More Sun
When plants develop skinny stems with wide spaces between each leaf, it’s referred to as “leggy” and is a clear sign there is insufficient light. The space between leaves is known as the internodal space and large internodes are not a desirable look for plants.
If you notice new leaves are much smaller than older ones, it could be the plant needs more light. Just compare the new growth to the old growth to see if there is a marked difference in leaf size.
When a plant has to reach and turn towards a light source to absorb enough energy, you will see it in its shape. If one side is leaning much more than the other side, then there’s a problem. Move the plant closer to the light source or to a brighter area, and turn it once a week to ensure all the leaves get equal amounts of sun.
Abnormal Leaf Color
Pale yellow leaves or variegated leaves that have lost their colorful stripes are signs of light deficiency. The green color of the leaves is what helps a plant absorb light and create photosynthesis, so a lack of suitable light causes variegated leaves to lose their color and become greener to absorb more light. When photosynthesis can’t work properly due to insufficient light, the leaves will become pale green, yellow, and finally fall off.
Slowed Growth or No Growth
If the growth of your plant seems stunted, then you may want to move it to a brighter spot. Light is the lifeforce of plants and is what gives plants the energy to grow and thrive. If there’s no new growth or noticeably slowed growth, then your plant is not getting enough energy to thrive.
Getting the Light Right
Seeing some of the above signs in your plant doesn’t necessarily mean the answer is as simple as relocating it closer to a window. Sometimes, doing so will result in your plant getting too much light. The area around a window that gets direct sunlight can get really warm and may be too much for your plant to handle. Only sun-loving plants like cacti, palms, and succulents should be in direct light for most of the day.
For most indoor plants medium to indirect bright light is best. An example of this would a room that gets light for most of the day but it’s diffused light from a sheer curtain, a bit of shade, or a dappling effect coming in the window from outside trees.
It could take some trial and error to get the lighting just right, but now that you know what to look for, you should be able to get the light right so your plants remain happy and health.