See the light for your houseplants

Thu. Nov. 9, 2017

Click below to listen to my 2 min Garden Bite radio show:  See the light for your houseplants

Lighting for houseplants can be somewhat tricky.  In winter, south facing windows offer the most light, also they are the warmest.  So, far sun-loving plants, they still need to be at least 6 inches away from the window.   The plant below was in a south window and about 5 inches from the sliding glass door that opens onto a large screen porch.  It lasted about 3 months and then I found spider mites!  It’s gone…..

Elephant ear - Imperial Taro 2

Elephant ear – Imperial Taro

East and west facing windows have about 2/3 the available light and north facing windows receive just one fifth the light that a south facing window gets!  For supplemental light, use artificial lights.  The best and cheapest are fluorescent bulbs.  They give the most intense light with the least heat and cost less to use than incandescent which are fast becoming relics anyway.

Ficus Elastica

Ficus Elastica

This ficus had light coming from either side of it with the ceiling just about 3 feet away so it grew sideways!  Kinda fun.

Any plant with variegated leaves needs more light.  Since those lighter colored areas can’t photosynthesize, the rest of the green portions need more light to do more of the work of photosynthesis.

Dracaena fragrans

Dracaena fragrans

You also want to keep plants out of drafts and heat registers.  If temps vary too much for the plants, they don’t know whether to shiver or sweat!  Best thing to do is always read the tag with care information on your plant purchase.