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Lighting Conditions for Plants in Winter

Today I wanted to talk to you about lighting conditions for your indoor plants. There’s lots of information out there and it can be tricky to understand sometimes, but I’m here to shed some light on the subject.

Types of light

Firstly let’s talk about the different types of light that a home will have. There’s bright light, medium light, and low light. Then there’s direct light, and indirect light. You can make a grid or chart of these types and each plant will fit into one or more groups. The biggest misunderstanding we see about light that a lot of people make is thinking that when it’s bright enough for us to see, it’s bright enough for plants.


Bright means that a plant has many sources of light hitting it or many hours of light whereas low light means there is very few paths or it’s not bright for very long. The main factor in deciding this is usually how far away from a window the plant is. If you were to be in the place of your plant, a bright view is one where you can see lots of the sky.


If the plant is far away from the window, it is considered low light. Even if the plant is receiving an hour or two of direct sunlight. Another thing to consider is that low light doesn’t mean no light. There still needs to be enough of it coming in so that your plants can photosynthesize. So open up those curtains! And remember to clean your windows too. Dusty or snow covered windows can block out the sun and turn your sunny south facing window into a shaded cover.

Sometimes our homes are simply too dark as well for many of the plants we love. This can be supplemented with artificial lights. Grow lights are tailored to help optimize plant photosynthesis, but even a super bright regular bulb can help give your plants a boost. Many will fit into a regular lamp or ceiling socket as well.

Direct Sun

Something I want to quickly add as well is that although direct sun outside can give us and plants some nasty burns, a lot of UV light is filtered out through a window. So you might be able to give certain “shade” dwelling plants a bit more direct sun than you think (within reason of course).

Picking the Perfect Spot

So how do you choose what place to put your plant in? Generally speaking it’s gonna be trial and error, but it probably needs a little bit more than you think, especially now that it’s winter and there’s fewer hours of the sun shining through. From personal experience we usually recommend a fair bit of plants to do well in areas that are very bright for most of the day, but don’t receive direct sun. You can also ask other people who have healthy plants where they keep theirs, or ask us at the greenhouse by giving us a call or visiting us in person.

-Sean Bornkessel


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