Indoor plants stressed by low light levels

Next week marks the shortest day of the year. Not only are days shorter but the intensity of light decreases as the sun gets lower in the winter sky. Winter is also the cloudiest time of the year, which further reduces natural daylight. To compensate for lower light conditions you can move plants closer to windows, and make sure that curtains are open during daylight.

South facing windows have the highest light conditions. East and west windows are next. North facing windows get no direct sunlight, but still provide indirect light which is brighter than locations some distance from windows.

Even low light requiring plants such as Dracaena, Chinese evergreen, and Peace Lily can be placed directly in south facing windows from now until early March. However, medium and high light requiring plants should get preference if space is limited. Use east, west, or north facing windows, when necessary, for lower light plants. African Violets thrive in north windows year round.

Plant leaves naturally turn toward the light. Plants grow lop-sided if they are not turned periodically, especially when growing in windows. Rotate plant ΒΌ turn once each week. If you want some plants further from windows for decorative purposes, trade them with other plants closer to windows so they get some bright light during the month.

If you are not sure of the relative light needs of your indoor plants, buy or borrow a book on indoor plants from the library. Most books have pictures so you can compare them with your plants even if you do not remember the plant names. You can also find a lot of information on low light indoor plants on the internet.

Artificial light can also be used to supplement natural light. Lamps near plants can be left on at night to provide additional light. Changing a spotlight bulb to a plant light or redirecting its light toward plants will improve growth.

In most cases, you are better off with low light requiring plants. Maybe it is time to replace some of your struggling high light plants with those which require less light.

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