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The Right Spot for All Your Indoor Plants

Posted on September 23, 2020 in House + Home, Indoor & Tropical Plant Care

Written by West Coast Gardens

When you come home from the garden centre with an armload of beautiful indoor plants, you might look around your house and wonder where you should put them all! Unfortuantly finding the right spot for a plant is a bit more challenging than just deciding where they look the best, as you also have to consider what location will provide the right light for your new house plant as well. It’s a good thing we’ve got a few easy tricks below to help you figure out where your plants will thrive in your home:

Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your house plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?

Discovering the Light in Your Home

The first step to making sure your indoor plants are healthy and happy is to find the right lighting situation for them. How much light do house plants need? It depends on the type of plant and, believe it or not, brighter isn’t always better. Some plants do much better in a low-light situation. To figure out the ideal spot for your indoor plants, you first need to know where the sunniest and darkest spots in your home are.

Finding the right spot for your house plants - how much light do my plants need?

Make a list of the windows in your home and then take a look at them in the morning, at noon and during the late afternoon. For each time, record whether the location is getting:

  • Direct sun – the sun’s rays are directly hitting the window.
  • Indirect bright light – the light is bright enough to cast a substantial shadow but is tempered by direction or a thin curtain.
  • Low light – the window is obscured by outside objects, on the opposite side of the sun’s current location, or does not cast a substantial shadow. 

Every plant you purchase from a garden centre or nursery will have an info tag that tells you how much light it requires.

  • Full sun – This means 6-8 hours of direct sun (south-facing window) or indirect bright light. 
  • Partial sun – Usually means 4-6 hours of indirect bright light, preferably in the morning or late afternoon. Avoid direct midday sun.
  • Low light – These plants prefer less than 4 hours of bright indirect light or can live in spots that have continuous low light conditions.
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?

Now all you need to do, in order to match a plant to a location, is take a look at your window notes. You can estimate that each time of day (morning, noon and late evening) represents 4 hours. Add up the light conditions for each window and you’ll be able to determine whether it will be a good home for a full sun, partial sun or low light plant. 

When the Lights Are Low

Sometimes the hardest spot to find a plant for is a low light corner. The window may be bright, but that doesn’t mean it reaches every spot in the room. If you have a shaded corner or low light room in your home, never fear, there are many options available. 

Some of our favourite low light plants include sanseviera, Boston ferns and pothos. You can find 8 of our top picks in this blog post: Top 8 low light plants for the home.

Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?

Plants for the Powder Room

The most notorious room in the house for plants, the bathroom, is often a trouble spot when it comes to growing anything green. Bathrooms without windows can still have plants though! We recommend low light ferns, orchids, sansevieria and spider plants. If your bathroom has more than one light, then consider leaving a single light fixture (equipped with an energy-efficient bulb) on during part of the day to help supplement the light requirements.

Orchids are an elegant addition to the bathroom, and even though they enjoy bright light they will continue to bloom in low light situations. Once your orchid has finished blooming, you can replace it and either recycle the plant or find a brighter spot as a long-term home. (As an added bonus, the bathroom is often the room with the most humidity, which orchids love!) Not sure how to care for an orchid? Try our blog post, all about orchid care.

Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?

Everyone Loves a #PlantShelfie!

If you’ve been tempted to add a #plantshelfie to Instagram, but aren’t sure which indoor plants will work on your shelves, we’ve got you covered. For tighter, closely grouped shelving, consider plants that have low light needs, as they will probably be shaded. If you have wall shelving that gets a lot of light during at least 6 hours of the day, go for plants that need full or part sun.

We especially love plants that drape on our shelves, such as hoya, pothos, ivy or spider plants.

Delicious Kitchen Choices

Plants seem naturally at home in the kitchen and add a pop of green amid tiles and countertops. We suggest pots that have feet or are somehow lifted off the counter, so that you don’t have to worry about crumbs and liquids around and under them. Find a plant that fits into the lighting situation and also won’t grow too large and take over your culinary space! You can even go with Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, basil or rosemary, which have the added bonus of being delicious!

Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?

Staying Open to Growth

Just because you try a spot for a plant in your home, doesn’t mean that it’s their forever home. If a plant looks like it’s not getting enough light (colour fades, lower leaves are turning brown or soft) then give it a try somewhere else. Or maybe your house plants are getting too much sun (needs watering very frequently, upper leaves are brown and crispy) and you need to relocate it to a shadier spot. There’s also the possibility of a plant outgrowing its first home, and needing a location where it can really stretch its leaves and branches! 

If your houseplants aren’t doing as well as you’d like, maybe there’s some simple TLC ideas that could help you out. Watch our easy plant care video below to get a few tips and tricks!

Don’t give up, if you aren’t getting the outcome you expected. Plants are living things and sometimes yield unexpected results. Keep trying, keep learning, and soon you’ll be the plant expert! 

Finding the right spot for your indoor plants - how much light do my plants need?
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