Guide to Indoor Plant Lighting

From pothos, to ZZ plants, to anthuriums, crotons and more, many of us love having plants at home. The very thought of some greenery around the place, makes us feel refreshed and relaxed. Greenery is soothing to both the mind and the body.

Guide to Plant Lighting

So, moving on, I’m sure there are quite a few of you out there who might have bought a few plants repeatedly and wonder why they just won’t grow well in your house and only, in your house!

Maybe you’ve repotted it, watered it more or watered it less and done everything possible and it still won’t survive. What’s wrong then, you may ask.

Well, have you ever thought that the cause of your pants not thriving could be because of the incorrect lighting?

While some plants require direct sunlight, some do not and that is crucial to place plants in the right areas. So, let’s talk about plant lighting!

What are the different levels of light? 

Bright light – Usually right next to a window. Also known as direct light. Some plants like loads of direct sun, but many will only cope with a couple of hours per day.  

Medium light – A spot that feels well-lit but doesn’t get direct sunlight. Also known as indirect light. 

Low light – A spot that gets little natural light but isn’t completely dark. 

Plants That Require Direct Sunlight

Plants like crotons, jade, aloe vera, succulents, etc., require direct sunlight. Plants that belong to open areas come under this category. They require at least six hours of sunlight (direct sunlight) in a day. This means that the sun’s rays have to directly hit the leaves.

So, you will need to place your plants within a few feet of a south or southwest-facing window, so it can take in the direct light from the sun.

In case you do not have a south or southwest-facing window, you can place your plants near a west-facing window then, as close to the window as possible, so that the plants receive the light in the early hours of the evening and also during the afternoons.

Here are a few plants that like direct light:

  • Sweet Basil
  • Money Tree Plant
  • Yucca Plant
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig
  • Birds of Paradise
  • Aloe vera
  • Jade plant
  • Echeveria
  • Geranium

Plants That Require Bright Indirect Sunlight

Plants like monstera, peace lily, anthuriums, elephant ear plants, kentia palm, Prayer plants, lady palms, dracaena etc., require bright indirect sunlight.

Bright indirect light often are for plants that gain height as they grow. They can be placed close to a north-facing window or within a few feet of a east or west facing window (where it can get direct sunlight in the morning or afternoon).

In case you do not have the above window placements, you can place such plans near a south or southwest-facing window and keep the window closed with a thin curtain, so that bright but minimal light enters.

Here are a few plants that like bright indirect  light:

  • Kentia Palm
  • Rhapis Palm
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Money Plant (Pachira)
  • Dracaena marginata
  • Phalaenopsis Orchid
  • African Violet
  • White Bird of Paradise
  • Areca Palm
  • English or Hedera Ivy
  • Schefflera
  • Snake Plant
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
  • Monstera
  • Sago Palm (Cycad)
  • Peperomia
  • Calathea
  • Dracaena Warneckii
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta)
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Anthurium
  • Alocasia
  • Bromeliad species
  • Most fern species

Plants That Require Medium Indirect Sunlight

Plants like ferns, Prayer plant, spike moss, cast iron plant etc., require medium indirect sunlight. These plants require light, but what they call “filtered light”. You can place such plants within a few feet near a north-facing window.

In case you do not have a north-facing window, you can place the plant within six to about weight feet of an east or west-facing window.

The last option would be to place th plant within about eight to twelve feet of a south or southwest-facing window.

Here are a few plants that like medium indirect  light:

  • Alocasia (elephant ears)
  • Anthurium.
  • Aspidistra (cast iron plant)
  • Calathea (prayer plant)
  • Dracaena (wide leafed varieties)
  • Ferns (most varieties)
  • Howea Forsteriana (kentia palm)
  • Maranta
  • Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
  • Monstera
  • Sago Palm (Cycad)
  • Peperomia
  • Calathea
  • Dracaena Warneckii
  • Prayer Plant (Maranta)
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Anthurium
  • Alocasia
  • Bromeliad species

Plant That Require Low Sunlight

Plants like the ZZ plant, snake plant, pothos, philodendron, ivy plants etc., require low sunlight. Sometimes, plants that are super hardy can do well in indirect or low light. If you have small windows or windows that have obstructions of trees, buildings etc., and do not get sunlight, then you can go in for such plants that can survive in such areas/conditions.

But it is essential to note that while they will survive in such conditions, they may not thrive, as in grow rapidly. Their growth will be slow, without direct sunlight. Thus, such plants can be exposed to sunlight from time to time on a rotational basis.

Here are a few plants that like low light:

  • Chinese evergreen
  • African violets
  • Peace Lily
  • Janet Craig Dracaena
  • Ferns
  • Ivy
  • ZZ plant
  • Pothos
  • Snake plant