The biggest issue many plant lovers have is getting the right light levels for their plants. Once you have the right light levels everything else falls into place, so it’s really the most important factor to get right, much more so that watering.

But, when we hear terms like ‘bright, indirect light’…WHAT DOES IT MEAN???

The foolproof way is to measure with a light meter but they are not cheap and only for the true obsessive in our opinion.

For most of us the following questions should suffice to help decide if the light is right;

1) All light levels need to be assessed in relation to your window. Which direction does your window face? Is it a big or small window? Are there any obstacles such a building, awning or a tree that diffuse the sunlight? What about inside – other plants, blinds etc.  A larger North facing window with no obstacles in the way will provide the brightest light and East and West facing windows medium to bright indirect light. South facing small windows are more likely to be low light levels.

2) Does your hand still cast a faint fuzzy shadow ? That’s a good indication of bright indirect light. When you do this test turn off any lights in the room first.

3) If your window is small you probably want to place most plants within a half a metre or so of the window. Larger windows mean you plant could be okay 1-2 metres away and some low light plants even a bit further.

4) Still not sure? Pretend you are the plant. Crouch down or get on your tip toes…can you see the window in the ‘eyeline’ of the plant? If not, your plant is in low light.

5) And finally, most of us have issues providing enough light for our plants but sometimes they can get too much light and leaves might scorch. Try filtering the sun with a sheer curtain and things should be fine. 

Over time you may notice that plants in your house are fuller and ‘bushier’ on the side that faces the best light or a leaning in that direction. To encourage even growth rotate your pot every 2-3 weeks (this works for most plants but please note that most Ficus species do not like to be moved!).

Some plants, like succulents, begin to stretch and look unattractive in lower light conditions.

You won’t be able to make it look ‘normal’ again with more light. It’s best to cut at the base of the crown where the plant was stretching.

Place it in better light and new growth should be more uniform.

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