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ligting...give it to me straight!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by Tessa on June 09, 2005 09:56 PM

In looking at just one book last night on indoor lighting conditions, and getting very frustrated, I resolved to do a search online and came up with the below guidelines. I got frustrated because I was wondering what light a plant of mine does really well in and in the same book it was listed in the "low light" list and then when I looked under the plant itself it said bright light! So, give it to me the following info accurate?

While light intensity is measured in foot-candles and can be evaluated by using a light meter or photographic exposure meter, you can also follow these general guidelines.

Low Light- (75 foot candles)
North window: a few feet away; East/West window: 3-10 feet away; South window:15-20 feet away

Medium (average) Light (150 foot candles)
North window: directly in front; East/west window: a few feet away; South window: 3-10 feet away

High or Bright Light (300 foot candles)
East/west window: directly in front; South window: up to 5 feet away

Direct (1500 foot candles)
South window: directly in front

Keep in mind that light conditions change throughout the seasons. Several factors can influence your light intensity and duration. For example, the sun is higher on the horizon in the winter (increasing the brightness indoors) and lower on the horizon in the summer (decreasing the brightness indoors); surrounding trees and shrubs may block sunlight with their leaves in summer, but allow for more light during the winter after their leaves have fallen off.

Anyone? [dunno]

Tessa [flower]
by tkhooper on June 09, 2005 10:29 PM
Lighting is difficult. At least I think so. I've been taking different plants that respond quickly to changes but also recover quickly and placing them in different places to get a feel for the light in different places in my apartment. I've been using a groundcover succulent and a coleus as my light meters. It's probably not the best idea.

My south west window has my succulents, marigolds, chives and a purple passion vine in it and they are doing great. My east window has parsley in it and it likes that fine. 4 feet away from the south window I have caladium and coleus and they are doing great but I have to adjust the curtain so the sun doesn't directly hit the caladium at any time or they go very dark lol.
by Will Creed on June 10, 2005 03:20 AM
Hi Tessa,

Light evaluation is tricky and it takes a lot of experience. The guidelines you provided are pretty accurate, as far as they go. However, they did get the seasonal location of the sun relative to the horizon backwards.

Part of the problem is that plants that will survive in low light will actually do better in medium light. Consequently, you may find plants listed in more than one light category.

Give me the name of your plant and I will tell you where you should place it.

I have written an article on evaluating light for plants that I will e-mail to anyone who contacts me directly by e-mail.

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