Sunlight and Your Plants

Sunlight and Your Plants

Aside from soil moisture, sunlight is perhaps the most important factor in determining the health of your plant. Some plants need more than others, and some thrive with extended exposure while others suffer. But when it comes to caring for your plant, sunlight is one of the top considerations.

And, like water, plant parents might make the mistake of providing too much in their efforts to make sure the plant gets enough. And that can be just as damaging to the plant. Sunlight is not a yes/no option when it comes to good plant care. What kind of plant, how much sunlight do they need, what kind do they need, and the effects of too much and/or not enough all play a role.

Here’s how to make sure you’re providing the best sunlight environment for your plant.

Type of plant

It sounds obvious, but too many people get a plant without truly knowing its needs. Some plants thrive in direct sunlight, while others merely tolerate it. Knowing it’s okay to give your plant direct sunlight is not the same as knowing if that’s the best thing for it. Eight hours of light will have a different effect than two hours. And some plants do very poorly in an environment with a lot of light. They might need no direct sunlight at all for healthy growth, relying solely on artificial light.

Every plant is different, with different needs and different optimal conditions. Knowing what your specific plant requires is critical to keeping them healthy.

Know your house

It might also seem obvious that plant parents know their own house. But subtle changes to a room can have a dramatic effect on plants that live there.

Many people find the perfect plant for a specific room, give it a great spot and then simply enjoy it. But even if they never move the plant, room conditions can change. Seasonal changes might cut down on available sunlight. A room that consistently received six to eight hours of sunlight might only get a couple each day. And during some seasons, longer nights and cloudy days might turn a high-sunlight room into one with very few opportunities.

The opposite might also be true. A plant that doesn’t need as much sunlight might find itself in a less-than-optimal situation. Hours of extra sunlight can be great for some plants, but less helpful for others. The perfect room at one time of the year might provide a negative environment just a few months later.

Those seasonal changes also affect the indoor heating and cooling schedules, which can impact a plant’s water needs. When you throw in changes to sunlight opportunities, it disrupts the schedule to which your plant is accustomed, making damage more likely.

Light intensity

Even if you only expose your plant to the number of hours of sunlight it needs, the intensity of the light can impact its health. Hours of contact with a blazing sun is very different than moderate sunshine. Even artificial light can make a difference, both good and bad. A plant that thrives in low light will suffer if the room is brightly lit, even if it isn’t exposed to much direct sunlight. But a plant that needs light can usually still benefit from artificial light, though it might do better in natural light. While some plants can tolerate intense light, it can be dangerous to others. Again, knowing your plant and its reactions to light duration and intensity is important.

Looking for trouble

Be on the lookout for signs that your plant is in distress, either from too much sunlight, or not enough. In many cases, you’ll see clear visual cues. A plant that isn’t getting enough light might have small leaves and skinny stems, with wide spaces in between the leaves. Plants will also lean toward a light source if it isn’t getting enough.

Signs of too much light include yellowing or browning on leaf tips, or dry, brown patches on the leaf. Wilting is a symptom of many dangers, including too much light. These signs will be seen most prominently in areas of your plant that are receiving the most light.


Not sure if a certain room is a good fit for the plant you want? What plant goes with your locale and home décor? We can help you choose the right plant and keep it healthy for years to come.

There are places where you buy a plant and take your chances. But at Plantz, we use our expertise and experience to make sure the plant you choose is the right fit for you. You’ll get a great plant from us, shipped safely and securely, with all the information you need to ensure you’ll get the maximum enjoyment out of your purchase. Simply use our contact page for more information.