If you've read the descriptions on our plant products, you may have noticed that the majority of them require some type of filtered, or indirect light.
So what does indirect light actually mean?
Simply put, it means that the light that hits your plant is not from direct sun rays.
You can test if your plant is getting direct sunlight by placing your hand between the window and the plant and seeing if the sun is directly hitting your skin. If it does at your skin feels hot, well, that's direct sunlight.
Why can direct sunlight be harmful for plants?
Well, imagine you're standing outside on the sidewalk in 105 degree weather. No shade, no hat, no sunglasses, nothing. You'd probably get really dehydrated and sunburned!
Well, that's exactly what happens to plants, but probably worse considering they don't have thick skin like we do...
Direct sun can scorch the leaves of your plant, or burn them creating crispy, brown spots. Furthermore, intense heat can quickly dry out the plant's environment causing the plant to shrivel up and possibly die.
So yeah, for the most part (there are some exceptions), indoor houseplants much prefer indirect light. And we're going to give you some easy ways to create a perfect, filtered-light environment your plants will love and be happy with!
First off, let's start with what kind of window your plant is near. If you're reading this, you're likely from the United States (at least, we hope so because we don't ship oversees just yet). So, because we live on the Northern/Western hemispheres, that means that certain windows get more sun each day than others. Here's a little breakdown:
North-facing window: Indirect sunlight all day. Provides low to medium light depending on other factors such as tree shade.
South-facing window: Direct sunlight from sunrise to sunset. This window provides the strongest and brightest sunlight than any other window. It's great for cacti and succulents, not so much houseplants (unless they're pretty far away).
East-facing window: Strong, direct sunlight in early morning and indirect light the rest of the day. Plants that require moderate bright, indirect light usually do well near this window!
West-facing window: Direct sunlight for from mid-afternoon until the sun sets. A great window for filtering with a sheer curtain!
Alright, so now that you know the general sunlight patterns for each window orientation, you can get a better idea of where your plants would be most happy.
Now we'll list some of our favorite ways to filter light in our homes! Of course, these tips are based off of personal experience and research, but every home is different and you should always make your best judgement.
It's okay to even experiment and do some trial and error. We did a lot of this when we first became plant parents.
Okay, here goes:
- Placing a sheer curtain in front of an east and west facing window can filter the light just enough that you can keep your plants somewhat close to the sill without burning the leaves
- Adding a tinted or clouded film over the window's glass (Amazon has great ones that are easy to install)
- Installing light-filtering blinds (there are cheap ones out there!)
- Situating your plant in front of a tree-shaded window or where your neighbor's house is blocking most of the harsh rays
- Moving your plant back a few feet of a direct-sunlight window can create the "indirect" sunlight effect
- Placing "direct sunlight" plants in front of "indirect sunlight" plants
- Putting plants up against a North-facing window (no filter needed for this!)
- Another option if you're able is to install grow lights over plants that are situated in an area with little to no sunlight.
Those are just a few things we do to prevent our houseplants from scorching or burning. Again, you may need to try several of these methods to figure out which one is best for your specific plant. Also, another thing to note, the hotter your plants environment is, the more humidity it needs!
And don't worry, it won't feel like rocket science for long. Pretty soon, where you place your plants will become more intuitive, especially as you get to know the light conditions in every corner of your house.
Once you find that perfect spot for your plant baby, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and watch it thrive (of course, don't forget to water it!)
Let us know if you have any other tips that have helped you in the comments below. Happy planting, plant fam!