Posts tagged Light
Light Requirements for Plants: Explained!
Artist  @kail_bales

The latest in plant care tips for keeping your foliage happy and healthy, brought to you by premium plant delivery service Léon & George.

Understanding light levels, let alone the varying light needs for each type of plant can be tricky. So we made you a light guide! Double check the lighting needs for your type of plant and make sure they're getting their balanced dosage of vitamin D.

  • Direct Light - the light that comes in through west or southern-facing windows, the most intense light for your indoors and will expose plants here directly to the sun's rays. (Works for: cactus and succulents)

  • Bright Light - not really direct light, but definitely not medium light, the spots right night to a window that receives a dash of direct light (no more than an hour a day) before being obstructed. Works for: all plants living indoors would be happy here, here’s our recommended list.

  • Medium Light - the spots in a room that are half the distance between a window and back wall. Still plenty bright, but nowhere near direct. Works for: palms, dracaenas, philodendrons, see all medium light plants here.

  • Low Light - areas that are 7ft or more from windows, or places that have no natural light. Certain plant species are adaptable and can live here, but will grow much slower. If your plant starts to look sad, consider moving it to medium light. Here are plants that do well in low light areas.

Plants can also be "conditioned" to different light levels, but be careful to do this over a period of a few weeks. A sudden shift in light levels will cause your plant to go through shock. More on this another week!

Understanding natural light for your houseplants
Houseplants placed from bright (R) to medium light (L).

Houseplants placed from bright (R) to medium light (L).

The latest in plant care tips for keeping your foliage happy and healthy, brought to you by premium plant delivery service Léon & George.

Our plants are dependent on light and the best source is the free burning ball of fire in the sky. Here's the breakdown of areas in your home or office and who likes to hang out where to get what they need from the sun.

Indirect bright sun - Parts of the room that stay bright for at least 8 hours with little of that time in direct sun. Most houseplants need to be here to be happy, especially Fiddle Leaf Figs, Monsteras and Magenta Triostars.

Direct light - Usually a south facing window where the sun shines directly and creates extra heat. Only a few plants can take this seat without getting sunburnt - succulents, cacti, Birds of Paradise and Snake Plants. 

Low light - Darker corners, the end of the office that’s far from a window, or rooms with highly shaded areas outside their windows. Luckily there a few plants that do just fine in low light. Our favorites are the Zanzibar Gem, Cast Iron Plant, and Snake Plant.

Signs you haven’t found the sweet spot yet.

Yellow or dropping leaves, or longer spindly stems - this may indicate your plant wants more light. A change of position in the room, a different room, or adding a lamp nearby may be what your plant is looking for.

Pale leaves or crispy browning areas - this may mean your plant needs a step back from direct light.


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Plant Care Tip #21: Light Guide
Illustration from  The Complete Book of Houseplants  by John Evans

Illustration from The Complete Book of Houseplants by John Evans

The latest in plant care tips for keeping your foliage happy and healthy, brought to you by premium plant delivery service Léon & George.

The number one way to keep your plants happy is by providing them sufficient light. Here are a few basics to find the right balance for your own leafy babies.

  • Plants receive light from two sources: natural light from the sun and artificial light from our indoor light bulbs.

  • The best thing you can do for your plant is imitate the light conditions from its native environment.

  • In many indoor spaces, we've seen that plants are not receiving enough light - increase the hours of light by opening the curtains or leaving the lights on.

  • If your plant is receiving less light than naturally desired, it will adapt and grow slower. In these cases your plant will also need less watering.

  • Only cacti and succulents like direct sunlight, foliage plants will scorch in direct light and high temperatures

Have any doubts about your lighting situation? Email us a photo at plantdoctor@leonandgeorge.com and we can help you find the right balance. 

How to tell how much light your plant gets

Naturally, in almost every care instruction guide for a plant (indoor or outdoor), you’ll see a section on how much light the plant should receive. But the level of sunlight a plant should get is always described in terms like “high” or “bright” or “medium indirect,” and it’s not always obvious what that means.

Well, first, the difference between direct and indirect light is just whether the sun is hitting the plant straight on, or if instead the light is filtered through some window shades or translucent medium. A lot of indoor plants don’t like to get much direct sun, and even though they may like a lot of light, they don’t want to be soaking up rays all day.

But what consitutes “bright” light vs. “medium” light vs. “low” light?

A quick way to tell is just with a hand test. Take a piece of paper or some other plane surface and hold your hand about a foot away from it, between it and the light source. If you can’t see much of a shadow or it’s very faint, you’re getting low light. In a medium light situation you’ll see a blurry or fuzzy shadow of your hand, and in bright light you’ll get a crisp clear shadow.

Often if a plant is receiving insufficient light, it’ll cause spindly stems (that are reaching out to get closer to a light source), yellow foliage, and leaf drop. Too much light results in burned leaves or pale foliage. But these are just general guidelines – some plants behave differently.

Note that if you need to give a plant more light, being close by a large unobstructed south-facing window will likely give you the best brightest sunlight. Many houseplants also thrive in artificial light, thought this is usually a low light situation, because unless you have exceptionally bright indoor light bulbs it’s not nearly as strong as natural sunlight, which provides a broad spectrum of light