How to Know If Your Houseplants Need More Light

When kept indoors in our living spaces, houseplants don’t always thrive the way we want them to because it is not always easy to provide them with the conditions they prefer in their natural habitats in the outdoors. For plants to thrive, plants need light. Light is what a plant needs for photosynthesis, a process of converting light into energy for the plant to survive and grow.

To the untrained eye of a plant newbie, a houseplant might be deprived of its most important requirement. In this article, we’ll show you 6 signs to watch out for with your houseplants so you know if they need more light.

how to know if houseplants need more light

The plant is growing slanted in one direction

Quite often you’ll see your houseplants leaning over like the Tower of Pisa towards the direction of a window or wherever the sunlight is coming in from in that room. If the plant has become very noticeably slanted, you can remedy this by rotating your plant every once in a while so that all sides of it receive light and it will remain straight once it balances out again.

The plant is becoming tall and leggy

If your houseplants are growing leggy and new leaves are growing quite spread out from one another, then it is likely they aren’t getting enough light. With a lack of light, your plants will grow long, thin and not look healthy. This is most obvious with succulents when kept indoors. They are prone to etiolation from a lack of light, resulting in them growing abnormally upwards, thin and leggy, completely losing their proper shape and form.

Leaves and leaf tips turning brown

For some plant species, low light for extended periods of time will result in the browning of leaves and their tips. This is quite common for Fiddle Leaf Figs. Brown leaves can be caused by multiple different issues such as lack of water or even too much water, so do a troubleshoot before concluding that it is due to low light.

Leaves on variegated plants are reverting back to green

When you see your variegated plant leaves turning back and losing their variegation, there’s a high chance that your plant isn’t getting enough light. White variegation means that the leaf won’t be able to properly photosynthesise, meaning that only green parts of the leaf will be able to do efficiently, hence the reversion of variegation over time if there is a lack of light. The green leaves are given priority since they are better at producing energy from light. This has been known to happen to Devil’s Ivy plants and even expensive variegated Monsteras.

On non-variegated plants that don’t get enough light, the colour of the leaves may be duller rather than bright green when given enough sunlight.

There’s been no new growth

A surviving plant is not always a thriving one. Keep track of new growth on your plants. If no growth has occurred for many months, it might be that it isn’t getting enough light to give it enough energy to grow bigger and put out new leaves. This won’t be a sign during winter though, as most plants go dormant during this time. In layman’s terms, light is energy for plants via photosynthesis and with photosynthesis there is plant growth.

The new leaves are really small

When your plant is pushing out new leaves that are abnormally undersized, this is a big sign that it isn’t getting enough light to grow optimally. Without energy from light, the plant is unable to produce proper-sized leaves.

Quick Fixes for Houseplants that Need More Light

Relocate them near a window or door

The closer to a window, the better. Check the light requirements of your plants before deciding, as some plants can’t handle too much light compared to others. All plants need light for photosynthesis to grow, so help them receive optimal light. It’s simple science!

Place them in north-facing rooms

Rooms that get lots of daylight are perfect for keeping houseplants in. Not only will there be enough light to keep plants strong and healthy, the temperature will also be warm enough and be similar to the tropical temperatures that the plants are naturally adapted to.

Use grow lights to keep your plants happy

If you can’t provide your houseplants with adequate light, you can just use grow lights to provide artificial light that is strong enough for the growth of your houseplants. Read more about how to use grow lights for indoor plants.

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