Plants are wonderful, living things we bring into our homes for many reasons, such as they’re beautiful to look at, they’re incredibly diverse and appealing (which is why you can’t have just one), and they provide air-purifying and mood-boosting benefits. So when you do bring a plant inside, thought and care is required regarding where to place. It may look great in that empty corner, but if your plant baby is too far from nourishing light, it will suffer.
Plant Signs of Insufficient Light
A term that refers to skinny, sparse stems, if your plant is leggy, then it’s not getting enough light. Another sign to look for is the spacing between the leaves, which is called the internode. Healthy, thriving plants are lush looking because they have small internodes. Therefore, stems with large internodes are light-starved.
If it appears the new leaves aren’t growing in size to match the larger, older leaves, then move the plant to a sunnier spot and make to turn it every time you water so all leaves get adequate amounts of sun.
Another reason to give your plant a quarter turn when watering, or at least once a week, is to prevent leaning. If you see that your plant is unbalanced with one side clearly leaning to reach more light, then you may need to rotate it closer to the light source and ensure all leaves get the same amount of light.
Abnormal Leaf Color
Chlorophyll is what gives a plant’s leaves their green color and is an essential part of the photosynthesis process of converting light into food for the plant. When there isn’t enough light, the chlorophyll can’t do its job properly and the result is pale green or yellow leaves. Eventually, these leaves will fall off if the problem isn’t remedied.
Plant growth should be noticeable on healthy and thriving plants that get plenty of sunlight. If you’re not seeing significant growth or no growth at all, then your plant is most likely not getting enough light. Light is food for plants and without it, just as with humans, the plant will not grow like it could.
Getting the Light Right
Simply moving your plant to the brightest place in your home may not be the right solution. Plants can actually get too much light and scorched, dying leaves will result. Only sun-loving plants such as cacti, palms, and succulents should be in direct sunlight for most of the day. Of other plants, medium light or indirect bright light will suffice. An example of this is a well-lit room that gets dappled light or sunlight diffused by a sheer curtain.
Just remember that the further away you move your plant from a light source, the light’s power drops exponentially. So you may love how that corn plant looks in the far corner of your room, but if strong enough rays don’t reach it, the plant will suffer. Sometimes it is not feasible to have a plant in a spot that gets enough light, in which case you should invest in a grow light that mimics natural light and promotes healthy growth in any lighting condition.
Finding the right amount of light for your plants takes time and patience, but as long as you listen to what your plant is telling you, eventually you will find the sweet spot.