Light is arguably the most important thing that a plant needs. Water would be a close second place, but without light, photosynthetic plants simply cannot get the energy that they need to survive. Houseplants sometimes have a difficult time getting all of the light they need from just sunlight available through windows. There are many things that can be done to ensure that your houseplants are getting the right amount of light.
Getting the right amount of light is very important. Some plants can survive with very little light and may even bloom with very little light. One example of a plant that can do this is the African violet. They can produce beautiful blooms even in winter when there is less light coming into the house. Most house plants do best under indirect lighting conditions. Indirect light refers to an area that is about two feet away from a window that gets between four and five hours of direct sunlight during a typical day. This kind of lighting is ideal for most plants that people choose to have inside the average home. The amount of sunlight that plants get during the winter can sometimes be drastically reduced. The sun is usually at a lower angle in the sky, the days are shorter, and there are usually more overcast days in winter than during the rest of the year. But most houseplants are at least originally from a tropical area and still need the light. So they need to have any natural sunlight they can get and then have supplements of artificial light in combination with the natural light.
Having the right kind of light is also important for your plants. Natural sunlight is the best for any plant. It provides the full spectrum of light and gives all of the energy that is needed for plants to produce the starches they change into sugars for energy. But because natural light isn’t always available in a house, there are also some acceptable alternatives to sunlight. The most common type of light in a house comes from incandescent light bulbs found in most light fixtures and lamps. This kind of light is the least efficient for plants and the least useful. Incandescent lights are typically hotter than sunlight or fluorescent lights and can burn the plant if they are too close. They also don’t provide all the red light that plants need. Fluorescent light are the next best option to sunlight for indoor plants. It has a better light spectrum range and doesn’t get hot close to the source. This means that a fluorescent light can be placed much closer to the plant without damaging it and this will also give better exposure to the light. Of course the best light is still natural sunlight, but when it is possible, it is good to have a combination of multiple light sources. Getting the right balance of light can greatly increase the strength and beauty of your houseplants. If artificial light is all that is available to you, particularly in the winter months, then you still have options to increase the light exposure of your plants as much as possible. Reflectors and reflective surfaces can help a plant get more light than they normally would. Bouncing light off of a reflector and back onto a plant can dramatically increase the amount of light available to the plant. Many people believe that they can tell if a particular area of the house gets a lot or a little light. But sometimes sight is deceptive and there may actually be less light than you think. If keeping healthy houseplants is something you are serious about, then it is a good idea to invest in a light meter. This helps measure the footcandles, which is the measure of light used for plants.