Plant Lighting 101
Find the best light for your plants!
Written by Tori Agostino
Ensuring your plant gets the best kind of lighting is extremely important for its health and growth. Depending on where your plant originates from, the sunlight exposure it requires can range from full sun to full shade. Knowing the difference between lighting types can make or break your plant care regiment, so doing your research is key!
Whether you plant is a direct sun-basker, or prefers the shadier spots of your space, being aware of the difference allows you to better plan which plants to bring into your home. Before you buy a new plant you should take stock of your windows and how much light your home or office receives. By doing this, you can confirm if you can provide the correct strength and duration of sun exposure your plant needs to stay happy and healthy!
Check out the free Flora App for a comprehensive lighting guide with photo examples, matched to your specific plant!
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What is Bright Direct Sunlight/Full Sun?
Bright direct light typically comes from a southern or western-facing window for 6 hours. This is the most intense form of light that your plant will receive from indoors as they will be directly exposed to the sun's rays in this spot!
The ideal location for your plant if it requires bright direct light will be in front of, or within 2-3 feet from a southern or western-facing window. This will allow direct exposure to the sun's rays!
What is Bright Indirect Sunlight/Filtered Sun?
Bright indirect light is achieved when you place your plant about 5 feet away from a southern or western-facing window, or in front of a window with a sheer curtain. This sheer curtain will provide filtered light for your plant and avoid direct exposure to the sun's rays. This lighting type is also called filtered light because sun exposure is being filtered through a sheer curtain or is not able to have the sun's rays directly hit the leaves/flowers of your plant!
The ideal location for your plant if it requires bright indirect light will be about 5 feet away from a southern or western-facing window. This will provide a touch of direct light for no more than 1 hour a day before that direct exposure is once again obstructed.
What is Partial Shade?
Partial shade is achieved when your plant is able to receive between 3-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. These hours of sun exposure should occur during the early hours of the morning, this will relieve your plant from the intensity of afternoon sun!
The ideal location for your plant if it requires partial shade will be in an eastern-facing window. Placing your plant within 3-feet from this window will provide it with those 3-6 hours of morning light and provide relief from the afternoon sun.
What is Mostly Shade?
Medium light is achieved when your plant is able to receive indirect light while sitting about 5 feet away from a south or west-facing window. The lighting from this distance should be adequate for your plants that require medium lighting!
The ideal location for plants that require medium light is 7-10 feet away from a southern or western-facing window! This will provide indirect sunlight to your plant, so you won't have to worry about scorching your plants as they will never be directly exposed to the sun!
What is Full Shade?
Full shade does not mean no sun! Full shade is achieved when your plant receives 3 hours of direct sun per day at most!
The ideal location for your plant if it requires full shade will be within 5-6 feet from any window ensuring that it stays shielded from direct sun exposure throughout the day and should only be receiving 1-3 hours of sunlight per day. If you are unable to provide a fully shaded area for your plant, it can also thrive in an environment that provides dappled sunlight all day!
What is Low Light?
Low light is achieved when your plant is not exposed to any direct sunlight at any point throughout the day.
The ideal location for plants that require low light will be roughly 7-feet away from a northern-facing window. Keep in mind that plants typically tolerate low lighting, their growth will be noticeable slower in low light environments. If you notice that your plants begin to droop or brown, try moving them to an environment with medium light!
What is Artificial Light?
Artificial light is achieved when your plant is provided with indoor lights that imitate the sun. If you have a plant that requires an environment with low light, it may thrive just as well in an environment with artificial light!
Download the Flora App for detailed lighting guides matched with your specific plant!