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seeds under flourescent 2
This series will help you have happy, healthy plants to enjoy all year round in your home.  Series #1 began with providing the proper growing medium and Series #2 will focus on the most important thing you can provide for your plants indoors – light. This, page 4, will explain in more detail, the differences in light and the plants that will thrive there.

by Mary Sue

Let’s Talk Light… pg 4

          Time for a few specific examples

 

Many plants will maintain in low light but only a few can tolerate less than their minimum requirements.  Know your plants requirements and you will be certain it is not just living off stored energy and slowly declining.  It is likely a plant will not come back from a situation of too little light.  Most plants even flourish when given more than the minimum.  Philodendron, for example, when given more of the indirect light they require, may have more green or red in their leaves and may even flower indoors for you.  Don’t overdo though.  While the light is on the plant will produce the sugars it needs to grow (photosynthesis) and when it is off it will burn those sugars (respiration).  Both are necessary.

During the summer the longest day is about 15 hours of sunlight where I live and the shortest is about 6 hours less in the winter.  9 hours is not enough for a plant from the tropics to flourish in my home, especially since the sun is also less intense.

On one shelf in the picture above I am starting perennial seeds under one 6400K T5 fluorescent bulb and on the shelf below I will plant my vegetable seeds under two 6400K T5 fluorescent bulbs.  This will give them all the blue light they need to get a great start on thick, green foliage before going outside.

High Light Plants

This does not mean direct southern sun but bright, indirect or filtered sun. You will see a sharply defined shadow on your plant when your hand is about 6” above it and between it and the light source.

 

African Violet will survive with less but flourish with bright, indirect light
Begonias bright but very indirect – off to the side of an east or west window
Brassias anywhere but north, filtered if south
Cacti lots of bright, filtered light
Cattleya orchids anywhere but north, filtered if south
Coleus direct sun will burn leaves, but bright will bring out the color
Croton color and health will seriously fade with little light
Gardenia lots of bright, filtered light
Gloxinia bright but no direct sun
Hibiscus (tropical) lots of bright, filtered light, long duration
Polka dot plant bright but very indirect light
Scindapsus (Pothos) can survive fine for a winter in less light but will have more color with more light
Succulents, Aloe Vera can survive with less but will thrive with more

Low Light Plants

This does not mean no light, but that you will still see a fuzzy shadow on your plant when your hand is about 6” above it and between the plant and the light source.

Aspidistra elatior – cast iron plant thrive in low light
Asplenium nidus – birds’ nest fern cool light (5000K+)
Bromeliads will survive with low light but may prefer bright, filtered light
Cyclamen need more light when flowering but do not like direct sun and need a rest period after flowering, usually late spring or early summer
Clivia does not like to be moved, even rotation
Dieffenbachia will have more color with more light
Dracena marginata will thrive and have more color with more but will survive the winter with less
Fatshedera lizei – cross of fatsia and irish ivy can be adapted to grow indoors
Ferns Exception: boston ferns like more light, never direct sun for any
Ficus binnendykii – narrow leaf fig will benefit with more light
Ficus decora will benefit with more light
Howea forsteriana – Kentia palm avoid deep shade
Hoya may flower for you with more light – does not like to be moved, especially when in flower
Kentia palms very forgiving, avoid deep shade and direct sunlight
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)     low, indirect light
Maranta leuconeura – prayer plant tolerant of low light – will have more color with more indirect light
Monstera diliciosa – swiss cheese plant indirect sun
Nephrolepis ezaltata – Boston fern ‘Bostoniensis’ indirect sun or warm partial shade
Peperomia no direct sun, more color with fluorescent addition
Philodendron bipinnatifidum – tree philodendron indirect sun or warm partial shade
Philodendron light can be up to 3 feet away –  more light, more red
 
Sansevieria would also do well with bright, indirect sunlight
Saxifraga stolonifera – mother of thousands indirect sun or warm partial shade – cool temp
Schefflera low for a short winter period but prefer it brighter if possible, never direct sun 
Schefflera elegantissima – false Aralia indirect sun or warm partial shade
Senecio macroglossus – Natal ivy or wax vine copes with partial shade well

 

Long Day Plants

Plants that flower when the days are longer than their critical day length.  About 16-18 hours per day is a good average.

 

African Violet photo-period 14 hours – 9-12” distance
Seedlings
Veg beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, radish, turnip, fennel, spinach

 

Short Day Plants

Plants that flower when the days are shorter than their critical day length.  About 10 hours per day is a good average.

 

Gardenia do not like to be moved – try to find a good location where it can stay
Kalanchoe to force blooming – total darkness for 14 hours per day
Christmas cactus do not like to be moved – try to find a good location where it can stay
Poinsettia to force blooming – total darkness for 12 hours per day beginning Oct. 1 and little light during the day
Cattleya orchids good morning sun, then more shade
Bougainvillea with good light should bloom in the spring and again in the fall
Begonia
Viola they flower in the cool of the spring so keep them cool and short days under lights
Veg beans, cukes, some tomatoes, potatoes

 

Day Neutral Plants

Plants that begin flowering due to age.

Coleus
Geranium
Veg cabbage, corn, kale, rhubarb

 

On to page 5 for the summary on light

 

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