We all know that plants need light to survive but determining the light available to plants in our spaces is a huge cause for confusion. So we want to help clear things up!
Many of the plants that do well indoors hail from the tropics where they have adapted to growth in rainforests in dappled light, shaded by the tree canopy above. The term bright, indirect light is used to best describe this light situation but is fairly broad (read: vague) and can leave many new plant parents in the dark.
So, where to start? Identify the light sources in your space, most likely these will be windows but if you’re really lucky, you may have a skylight that will provide some seriously good and consistent light for plants. Notice how the light levels change in your space over the course of the day and from season to season. As kooky as it sounds try thinking like a plant, getting down to the level of your plants and seeing what they see is very useful.
It stands to reason that the closer to the light source, the brighter the light. A sunny windowsill will provide the most intense light and will be best suited to sun worshipping cacti and succulents. Direct sun coming in through a window will generally be too intense for some indoor foliage and so placement close to but not directly exposed to the rays is best. These plants will generally see the sky uninterrupted for most of the day which should provide plenty of bright, indirect light to help them thrive. The further you get from a light source the lower the quality and quantity the light gets. Plants sitting on the opposite side of the room to the light source with no direct view to the sky will generally be experiencing what we would consider low light conditions.
A light metre is a useful tool for accurately measuring light levels but many on the market are cost prohibitive. Try a light metre app instead which you can download straight to your smartphone and will suffice for most indoor gardeners. An even cheaper method is the shadow test which requires nothing more than a piece of paper. On a sunny day place the piece of paper in the spot you would like to position your plant. Hold your hand around 30cm above the paper to reveal a shadow. A dark clearly defined shadow with clean edges suggests bright light. If you can see a lighter, fuzzier shadow where you can still make out the shape of your hand, this would be medium light. If the shape of the hand is very poorly defined you’re looking at a low light situation.
It can be quite disheartening to discover that your space is not as adequately adapted for sustaining indoor plant life as you may have hoped. In these instances grow lights can make a significant difference. These are lights that attempt to provide a light spectrum similar to that of the sun. Available in a range of colours, temperatures and intensities, working out the right one can be confusing.
For a little background, sunlight is made up of a full spectrum of colours from red, yellow to blue and violet.
While red and blue lights are the most critical for plants, they use the full spectrum to create the photosynthesis they need. Using full spectrum LED lights allows our indoor plants to enjoy all the wavelengths that are present in natural light which can be beneficial for different aspects of plant growth.
In our own pursuit for grow lights to use in the studio we discovered the beautifully sleek Bloom light
from Belgium company Mother. Working together with universities and biologists they have designed a unique plant light that essentially brings the sun inside.
We've been using it over the last few months and are loving the way it not only allows us to utilise the darker areas of our studio and apartment but how stylishly it fits with our aesthetic. We're increasingly conscious of our consumption and so search out quality products that will go the distance. The aluminium housing of the bloom light is incredibly durable + the LED’s will last up to 8 years and can be easily replaced when the time comes, winning!
The elegant, slim-line light is suitable for all kinds of plants, from indoor foliage to succulents and even edibles. A modular design means it can be configured either horizontally or vertically to suit your space and requirements with all mounting accessories provided. We've found the horizontal set up perfect for bench and table top plants while the vertical mount is ideal for larger floor plants.
Our friends at Mother have given us a discount code to offer our lovely readers, be sure to shop with the code LIGHTINTHEJUNGLE
for 20% off one of their sexy lights.