South: This area receives the most light. Here, plants can be placed far from the window and still receive enough bright light throughout the day.
East: This area gets light for short periods through the day. Plants here should not be placed too far from the windows (a few feet away).
West: This area gets strong light few hours a day. Here, plants should be placed away or in the shade. If your plants are close to the windows, it is best to use curtains.
North: This is an area that lacks direct sun and provides the lowest light. Plants should be placed as close to the windows as possible.
Window direction is not the only factor, as what is outside the window makes a big difference. Another building or a large tree will block direct light and affect lighting environment.
This test will help determine how much light your space gets:
At noon, examine the spot you are planning to place a plant and inspect the shadow. A well-defined shadow means it is a high light spot. A weak shadow where the silhouette is recognizable means it is a medium light spot. A faint shadow that lacks good definition means it is a low light spot.
What is a direct sun location?
- Within 2 feet of a south- or southwest-facing window
- Window sills flooded with sunlight
- A sun room (lucky you!)
What is a indirect sun location?
- Within 4-5 feet of an east- or west-facing window
- 3-5 feet from a window that faces south or southwest
- Any place where the sun shines into a room for several hours
What is a low light location?
- An east-facing window where the morning sun shines into the room for only a few hours
- Morning sun is cooler than afternoon sun, so you don't have to worry about overheating
- At least 3-5 feet away from a window that faces south or southwest. Directly in front of a north-facing window gives a plant low-to-medium light intensity
What is a shady location?
- More than 6 feet away from a south- or southwest-facing window
- Hallways, staircases, and corners of rooms
- Near windows that are shaded by trees
Not Enough Light...or Too Much?
Here are some things to look for to see if your plant is getting enough light:
- There are long spaces between leaves
- New leaves are smaller than existing ones
- Lower leaves turn yellow and fall off
- No growth or slow growth
- Flowering plants fail to bloom or bloom poorly
- Variegated leafy plants turn a solid green
- New shoots reach out and grow toward the light
Here are some signs that your plant is getting too much light:
- Brown scorched patches on leaves
- Leaves look faded or washed out
- Plant wilts at mid-day
- Leaves become dry and fall off