Finding the right lighting for your plant can be tricky. “Full light for six hours, five hours of sun daily, north-facing window, low light plant…” Left up to interpretation, these could mean so many different things. Light is what helps your plants grow big and strong, so understanding their requirements is a must. Plants usually come with a little tag stuck in the dirt that will give you an idea of what the plant needs to thrive. You’ll be looking for the type of light (bright/low) and the amount (direct/indirect). For example, I just bought an Areca Palm that says ‘bright light’ at the top of its tag without any other lighting information. A quick google said ‘bright, indirect light.’

Now that I know what this plant needs, here’s the breakdown of how to find that bright/indirect light. First, you’re going to want to see what kind of window lighting you are working with.

South Facing Window– Most amount of light! These windows will receive the most amount of light throughout the day.

North Facing Window– Lowest amount of light through the day.

East Facing Window– Short amount of light at the beginning of the day.

West Facing Window– Few hours of light midday.

Keep in mind that keeping a plant at a west-facing window also means it will be receiving the most amount of heat. You can control the amount of light/ heat coming in from the windows by making use of shades or curtains. It’s always easier to have a big sunny window that you can control than a small, north facing window that you’re trying to pull every light out of. From here, you have the options to put your plant right next to the window or a few feet back. This determines full/direct or low/indirect lighting! Still with me?

Full/Direct– Plants placed closest to the light

Low/Indirect– Plants placed a few feet away from the light

Most indoor plants aren’t going to want full light from a south facing window since that would be the most amount of light they could receive in a day. You also won’t have a lot of plants that can thrive a few feet away from a north-facing window.

Let’s go back to the Areca Palm I mentioned up top, who has a lighting combo of bright and indirect light. The easiest way to achieve this combo is by keeping the plant a few feet back from a south facing window. You get the most amount of light through the day, while also keeping the plant far enough away that it isn’t getting blasted. I currently have it posted up on top of table about 5 feet away from my Southwest patio door. It seems like a pretty happy plant, growing slowly but surely! I’ll say it again; research is your friend. If your plant isn’t thriving in the place you’ve picked, keep finding new information and trying new things. Keep track of the health of your plant, and eventually, you’ll find the right spot for it to grow!

Until next time!

Mercedes Simonion