Understanding Your Plant's Lighting Needs
One of the easiest mistakes to make is choosing a house plant solely based on where it will look best!
Whilst this is (obviously) super important, you’ll also need to consider what sort of natural light it will need to thrive. ALL plants need light to survive but depending on the species, the amount and type of light they need to thrive will vary. Remember these key four facts:
- Lots of plants will be burnt by too much direct light
- NO plants will survive in a windowless room
- Shady rooms or spots will be okay for some plants, but others will need more light
- There will be less light in winter and more in summer. You may have to move your plants according to season. Have a look at our Autumn and Winter care guide for keeping your plants happy during shorter days.
Your plant's natural habitat
One of the easiest ways to understand your plants lighting needs is to picture them in their natural habitat. For example, most cacti are found in deserts with little or no shade, in very hot and sunny places. Plants like these thrive in bright direct light.
Lots of other plants that are commonly kept as house plants, like Calathea are native to tropical America. They are often found in the jungles at the bottom of the canopy and in these spaces there is very little direct sunlight.
The Watering Spectrum
To make things simpler, we’ve categorised our plants in to these three categories:
- Indirect light
- Indirect light
- Direct light
In reality, plants lighting needs are more complex than this but it will certainly help in understanding where to place your plant.
So what sort of lighting does my home have?
Have a look at the windows in your home/room and figure out whether they face North, East, South or West.
A south facing window will get direct light all day. You’ll only want to put plants right by this window that thrive in lots of direct light, such as cacti.
An east facing window will get direct sun in the morning, whereas a west facing window will get direct light in the evening. Lots of species like Monstera and Ficus will often do well in spots like these in the UK. During the summer on particularly hot, sunny days you may need to pop these types of plants away from East or West facing windows to avoid them burning.
A North facing window won’t get any direct light. If it’s a fairly large window, species like Monstera and Ficus will generally still do well here but this will be a perfect spot for plants sensitive to direct light, such as Calathea or prayer plants.
Here are a few of our plants that are happy in semi-shade: