52February 23, 2011

During the last week, we have had quite a few people come into the store and they were looking at and ultimately purchasing houseplants. For the majority of the people, there was some confusion concerning the amount of light that is required by houseplants.

Many of the people who came in felt that they could not grow houseplants because they did not have any windows that received a lot of sunshine. In reality, most houseplants do not need to be in direct sunshine for all or even part of the day. Many of the plants that we call houseplants naturally grow in an environment that does not allow them to get a lot of sunshine. Many of these plants, in their native environment, grow under trees. Some of the plants grow under a very dense canopy of trees. These plants grow in almost shaded conditions. This means that if you want to grow houseplants, there are probably a few that will grow in the conditions in your home.

Many houseplants now come with tags that will tell you how to care for the plant. When it comes to the light requirements for the plant, terms such as bright light or medium light are often used to describe the necessary light conditions. I have to admit that these terms can confuse the average gardener. Let me see if I can make it easier for you to understand these terms.

Let’s start with the term direct sunshine. As you would probably guess, this will mean that the plant needs to grow near a sunny window. It also doesn’t mean that the plant needs to be in sunshine all day long. For most plants that require direct sun, if they are getting sunshine for 4 to 6 hours, they will do fine in that location. If the plant needs bright light, then the plant may only need a couple of hours of sunshine. If the light comes from a western or southern exposure, you should be fine.

If the plant requires moderate light you will find that an east or in some cases a north-facing window is fine. You can determine moderate light by placing the plant near the window. As you pass your hand over the plant, your hand should create a shadow on the plant.

Some plants require low light. The best way to describe this is the light that naturally occurs away from your windows. Think of it as the light that would be in the middle of a room or in an area that just gets artificial light from interior lighting.

When you go shopping for houseplants, it is important to know where you want a plant to be in your home and then knowing what type of light the plant will receive in that location; with that information at hand you will be able to buy the right plant for that spot.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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