Thursday, January 24, 2013

Houseplant Basics......Light

Michele K. Koskinen

How do you enhance your home or work environment? Consider buying a houseplant. Indoor plants give our living or working spaces a sense of beauty and softness by providing a different focus than the harsh lines of building interiors. Some plants provide better indoor air quality and most just a connection with nature. 

Before selecting and purchasing a houseplant the requirements for growing the plant successfully should be considered. Most of us buy a plant because it attracts us and do not think of the growing requirements until we get home. Light, water, humidity, and space all needed for a healthy growing environment are factors important in selection. Depending on the location and the plants posible poisonous implication for pets or children should also be taken into account. So before you buy think
of where that plant will be in your home.

Light and water are the most important factors in growing houseplants successfully. Many homes have little natural light that is bright enough to grow many plants. There are formulas for measuring light from each window that can be found in many books or websites. The direction of the light N_S_E_W and the time of year all impact the light requirements. You can also use artificial light for growing certain plants.    
                 Q&A on light               Lighting and Houseplants

The top plants for low light (the most common condition indoors) are usually the same 10 to 15 that are recommended. This list would be a good start to your shopping trip.

If search for low/medium light plants these are the most mentioned in books and websites.  You will find low and medium light plants are known for their folage and texture. Flowering plants need more natural light or artificial light.

For a pdf download on .....Caring for Houseplants

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaomena modestum) Mottled leaves little water

In the bathroom about 5 feet from the window. The marking of the leaves becomes more pronounced with more light. No direct sun.

Dumbcane  (Dieffenbachia)    Large leaves tolerates dry soil

Golden Pothos (Epepremnum)  Hanging or trailing plant... water lightly

This plant sits at the bottom of a stairwell with virtually no light in the winter. It becomes more colorful in the summer when I put it outside under an awning.

Snake Plant  (Sansevieria)     Tall tongue like foliage...
dry soil little water.

A dark space with light at times.

ZZ Plant   (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) Fleshy leaves low water requirements

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