How do I put my plants in the right light?
Shed some light on your plants! But not too much! And maybe switch it up now and then! It does seem like plants were a little needy sometimes, but the proper lighting is essential to them – they need it to exist. So, to get your plant exactly what it wants, we offer some help! Here are some basics.
A clean leaf surface is essential for photosynthesis. A layer of dust on the leaves means that the plant can absorb much less light energy significantly when it is already several centimeters thick.
- Team rag or warm shower? To allow your plantlets to breathe and grow, you can regularly wipe them down with a damp rag or rinse them in the shower with lukewarm water.
Find the right spot throughout the seasons
Light intensity and duration vary throughout the seasons – surprise! In other words, a south-facing window is a great place to spend some time in winter. In summer, however, it gets too hot for many plants. And because the green roommates can’t tolerate sunscreen, you should position them more centrally in the room. In summary:
- Depending on the season, check the light situation of the individual locations.
- During the dark months, move them closer to the window.
- During the bright months, it may be a little more into the room.
Shhhh: Our smart plant sensor recognizes not only the different plants and their need of light but also the different seasons and the changing light intensity and adjusts its instructions accordingly! Awesome, don’t you think?
Maybe you’ve already noticed: Plants always grow toward the light. In the wild, this is no problem. However, this can cause a somewhat crooked look in our living rooms. Apart from the aesthetics, however, it is much worse that this makes plants unstable, resulting in them possibly bending or falling over.
- So, every few weeks, grab your plant and spin it around in a circle for a bit. And bang, it will grow evenly!
Plant lights – bring light into the darkness.
Is your home not precisely flooded with light? But you want to brighten up the dark corners with pretty plants? No problem, a plant light makes it possible! Plants react especially to red and blue light. To grow well, they need both.
- The right light spectrum: The plant light should cover short-wave blue components of about 430 to 450 Nm and long-wave red components with a wavelength of 640 to 660 Nm.
- The light intensity: Make sure that your plant light has at least 700 lux. You can see exactly how much light your plant lacks daily from the measurement results of the FYTA Beam.
- Energy-efficient lamps are not only more sustainable, but they also save you electricity costs.
This is the perfect way to showcase your lamps:
- Since most houseplants are short-day or day-neutral plants, they need about twelve hours of light a day – so you can use the light as a supplement.
- Make sure that the light shines directly on the plant and is not scattered by a lampshade.
- But beware: some lamps get hot! Therefore, make sure to keep a safe distance from the plant.
- If your plant is to flower, the lighting duration must be below its species-specific critical daily value.
How to find the correct lamp for your plants
The topic of artificial plant lights is a bit complex. Therefore, we have summarized the most important information above. You want to dive deeper into the subject? Then our upcoming article on the topic of plant lamps is made for you! But before you turn to LEDs how about we have a look at natural light and how you can play with it at home?
The different types of natural light indoors
Find the right spot for your plant
The light intensity can vary greatly depending on how bright a room is, how far the sun shines into the room, and how long the light graces us. Only the orientation of your windows will determine what sun your plants will experience and how intense the spectacle will be.
North window: Your plants will not get direct sunlight. Only plants that can handle low light can be placed here.
East window: They are often bright to semi-shaded, especially without the intense midday sun. This makes them a perfect location for almost any plant! Yay!
South windows: The harsh midday sun shines through these windows. Only the sun-loving plants belong here. Or the ones that are dead anyway.
West window: afternoon and evening sun is less intense and suitable for most plants.
- bright direct sunlight: on the windowsill at a sunny window.
Some plants are real gluttons. They never seem to be able to get enough light. That’s why the windowsill is their absolute place to be. Lux number: It is directly behind the glass pane, about 80 percent of the light intensity outdoors. This is up to 100,000 lux in clear weather in summer – and nearly 10,000 lux in winter. Growth: There is optimal growth for sun-loving plants. Here it is worthwhile to prick up your ears again. Because there’s this to consider: Especially in the sunlight of the summer sun, it can get hot on the windowsill. If your plant develops symptoms such as dryness, limp leaves, or smoke, it is better to place it further away from the window for the summer. PS: To reduce sun exposure, sheer curtains work great!
The perfect sun lovers: Plants for the blazing sun
- Howea forsteriana (Kentia palm)
- Sedum morganianum (wall pepper)
- Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear)
- Strelitzia reginae (bird of paradise flower)
- Tradescantia pallida (three-master flower)
- bright indirect sunlight: with some distance, but close to a sunny window
Places with bright indirect sunlight are ideal. Most plants want this premium spot as bright as possible – yet protected from direct sunlight. Lux number: 2,000 to 10,000 lux. Growth: As the lux number increases, so does the change. For each meter of distance from the windowsill, you can subtract about 20 to 50 percent of the light intensity, depending on the amount of sunlight.
Here, even the most sensitive plants will be happy:
- Calathea ornata
- Alocasia amazonica
- Maranta leuconeura
- Adiantum raddianum
- Begonia maculata
- medium light: in the room, a reasonable distance from a sunny window
Many plants are happy here. They have enough sun to grow. And after all, that’s all the life of a plant is about. However, they prefer to move back closer to the window in winter. For the light, of course. Not necessarily for the view. Lux Number: 1,000 to 2,000 lux. Growth: depends on how high the light intensity is, but relatively low
These plants don’t necessarily need the spotlight:
- Calathea Orbifolia
- Philodendron Scandens
- little light: it seems rather dark here
For very few plants, this is a good location. However, some plants can do dark corners of the room and still grow. Lux number: 300 to 1,000 lux. Growth: Growth stagnation, many plants wither away. Things to consider: Especially in winter, keep eye on these plants as they receive even less light than they already do. Even the most fascinating survival art ends somewhere. Therefore: place them closer to the window or get them a plant light during the dark season! The myth of zero-light plants: In short, it remains a myth. The fact is that zero-light plants do not exist. All plants need light to convert them into energy. Because: No power, no survival. Sad, but true.
The resistance artists: plants for dark corners
- Epipremnum aureum (Ivy)
- Spathiphyllum (Peace lily)
- Aloe vera (true aloe)
- Sansevieria trifasciata (bow hemp)
- Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ plant)
Our tip: Don’t feel like measuring or calculating your lux numbers yourself? Then we have good news for you: Your sensor will take care of it! It tells you exactly whether the light intensity suits your plant. Real luxury.
The perfect place for your plant?
Do you have the FYTA app? Then the perfect spot is just a few taps away:
- go to Photo ID
- place your plant
- implement our tips for the location
And last but not least: Find out about your plant’s needs! Go on the web – or have look at our plant database.
How do I know if my plant is getting too much/too little light?
The good news first: plants have tolerance for higher and lower light intensities up to a point. They practically adapt to the situation at hand. Now the bad news: After exceeding their patience, it’s over with summer, sun, sunshine. Then it doesn’t look good for your buddy.
Your plant gets too much light
Plants adapted to high light intensities have some things in common: They tend to grow stronger and have better fertility, as evidenced by more frequent blooming and a more robust flower set. But: a lot doesn’t help much. Especially when it gets too much. Too much light intensity will damage your plant. You can recognize this by the following symptoms:
- Your plant sends smoke signals
- Brown-gray spots on the leaves (burning)
- Brown leaf edges (also typical for lack of water)
- Bleached leaves
- Curled leaves
- Flowers fall off faster
This is how you can still turn the leaf:
- Close the curtain: Protect your plant from direct sunlight with light curtains during the midday sun.
- Distance makes the difference: Place your plant farther away from the window. As distance increases, light intensity decreases.
- Change the window: Place it in a window without the blazing midday sun.
Our tip: In case of unsightly burns, you can cut off brown edges with scissors.
Your plant gets too little light
Plants adapted to low light have relatively thin and large leaves and often longer shoot sections between the leaf attachment points. So if your plant gets too little light, it can do little or no photosynthesis. And then it won’t have enough sap to grow, defend against disease and maintain vital processes. How you can tell:
- Your plant always leaves the light on
- There is no new growth
- Yes, you read correctly. In this case, new shoots develop an ample space between the individual leaves.
- Small, stunted leaves
- No intense green
- Leaves first turn pale green, then yellow, and fall off
- Shoots become unstable and soft
- Colors of the variegated leaves fade
Here’s how you can still turn the leaf:
- Move your plant closer to the window (any window, as long as it’s not a north-facing window!).
- Cut off long and unstable shoots
- Clean the leaves from dust – so that photosynthesis can take place undisturbed – you can shower them with clean water or wipe them with a cloth.
- Get a plant light
Our tip: put your plant in the brightest place in your home
You can either support it with a plant light designed for the light spectrum of plants, or you can get inspiration for a plant that suits you in our database! You decide.
Shhh: Our little all-rounder FYTA Beam measures the light intensity and tells you whether your plant wants to be lighter or darker! This prevents unsightly burns in the first place.
- Plants need light to perform photosynthesis, through which they gain energy.
- Light is not equal to light: plants need mainly red and blue light.
- Each plant species has its own need for light intensity and duration of light exposure. Yep! Plants with attitude, if you will.
- Too little light, as well as too much light, will damage the plant.
- With plant lights, you can also green dark corners.
- Last but not least: Without light, there is no houseplant.