BY KELLI MESSICK, OWNER OF PATIENTLY ROOTED
Hi, plant friends! My name is Kelli and my goal is to help more people become plant people and see all the amazing benefits plants can bring to your life. As the founder and owner of Patiently Rooted, a company dedicated to spreading the word about the benefits of plants, I have always had a love of nature and plants, and now I want to share my obsession with other people.
Plant Lighting Terms
A common question among new or experienced plant owners is: what type of light does this plant need? Most people buy plants based on this preference so they can make sure the plant will thrive in their space. A misconception that most people have is that since they have dark lighting in their house or not enough natural light, they can’t own a house plant – which is wrong. There are plenty of plants that can survive in lower lighting and some that prefer it.
When talking about lighting there are a few terms you might hear. These include Direct, Bright Indirect, Medium, and Low light. Direct light is when the sun is directly hitting the plant’s leaves. This is usually in the window or directly in front of the window. Bright Indirect is when the plant is close to the source of light but the light might not be directly on the leaves. This is usually a couple feet from the window. Medium is in the middle of the room where the plant will still get a majority of the light coming in the room. Low light is considered the back of the room or even a corner of the room that is anywhere from 8-10 ft away from the light coming in.
You will also hear a lot of people talk about east, south and west facing windows being the best spots for plants. This is usually true, but there are a few plants that would do well in north facing windows, too. Most people prefer to put their plants near a south facing window because it gets light in it a majority of the day. If you only have windows on the east or west, don’t worry, there are lots of plants that will enjoy the hours of the sun they will get in the morning or evening. For the north facing windows or side of the house, I would stick with lower light plants to fit in the space.
Plant Recommendations Based on Lighting
If you have a lot of direct light or places near your window, here are some plants I recommend for that space. Succulents and cacti are obvious choices but one of my favorite choices is a Bird of Paradise. They love direct light and only need to be watered every two weeks. Some other good options are pothos and snake plants. These are both beginner plants needing very little care.
Bright Indirect Light
This is the most common light people have because they can’t get plants right next to the window. My recommendation would be a Pilea Chinese Money plant. They thrive in this lighting and only need to be watered every two weeks or when the leaves start to droop. Other great options are Fiddle Leaf Figs and Ficus Audreys.
There are a ton of plants that are perfect for medium light. Some of my favorites include prayer plants, Calatheas, and Peperomias. A rule of thumb for plants in this lighting and low light is to make sure the soil is mostly dry before you water it. Since they are not getting a lot of sun, you want to make sure you aren’t overwatering it.
The best low light plants I can recommend are the Snake Plant and the ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia). These are beautiful plants that bring any darker spot in your house some life and greenery. For these plants make sure they dry out completely between waterings, they also only like to be watered every two to three months. These are great low maintenance plants that can actually survive in any lighting situation.
I hope this lighting guide is helpful for you as you pick out your next plant!