Plants for Dummies- Light

     So, you've just started your journey with plants. Where do you begin? It seems like there are a million directions to go when you just begin with an interest in plants. To tell the truth, there are. I learned that when I went to school for horticulture technology. After we finished with the basic plant knowledge there were so many directions to go in, it was mind boggling. But- there was a basic place to start. That's where I'm starting with this blog. My ultimate goal is to show the world there is no such thing as a black thumb!

     Let's start with the rule I live by to this day: "Right plant right place." This rule can be applied everywhere- indoors, outside, planters, window boxes... The list is endless! Let's break this down into four main parts separated into different blog posts; light, water, soil, and size.

  1. Light

     Light is something that is treated so simply, yet confuses many. Trial and error is a great way to learn which plants like what conditions. Breaking down what terms are used to describe lighting is as follows:

  • Direct vs. Indirect

          This is on almost every plant tag. Often, you'll see "Bright, Indirect light" listed. Direct light is what you feel when you walk into the sun. It's often warmer and you may have to squint. Shade is a great example of indirect light. It's typically cooler and a bit dimmer. Dappled shade can be a mix of both direct and indirect. Often, if a plant wants direct sunlight outside, the tag will read "full sun." This will be further addressed in the next subsection.

         Windows provide a challenge to determining whether or not the light provided is direct or indirect. If you can see an outline of the window on the floor, it provides direct light. This is often only for a few hours. Not many houseplants would prefer direct light, as many of them are native to forest and jungle floors. Too much direct light has the potential to burn the plant. If windows are kept closed and screens are kept in windows, the chance of this happening is slim to none.

    • Full Sun vs. Full Shade
         Mostly seen on outdoor plant tags, this can be harder to determine. Especially when it falls somewhere around part sun or part shade. An area is considered "full" sun or shade when that area gets 6 or more hours of the respective light levels. If a tag reads "part sun" the plant does not require a full 6 hours of sun, but still prefers more sun than shade and vice versa for a tag that reads "part shade." There is some overlap between the two to the point they could be planted together, though it may not be recommended depending on your location, the plants chosen, and the conditions in your location.

         Sunlight can be really hard to understand, though I hope this helps in your gardening and houseplant endeavors. The best thing to do is to listen to your plants. If you notice a plant is leaning toward the light inside, try moving it to a location where it has more light or add grow lights to its corner. If the plant gets sunburn, the sunburn will stay as a scar, but it is suggested to move the plant to a darker area or add a shade cloth to protect the plant from further damage. Don't forget to comment or email in your questions!

    Happy Growing!

    <3 Gina

    Leave a comment