It’s easy to get excited when you purchase a new plant. Especially if you have the perfect spot for it. It might look great spilling over a bookshelf or greening up that awkward corner. But just because we call it a houseplant, doesn’t mean it’s going to thrive in any part of the house, and one of the best things you can do before you purchase a new plant baby is to find out a little bit about it - how much it likes to drink, when to feed it and what light and temperature will it be happiest with.
This post is going to touch on that last one.
First things first. EVERY plant needs light. They need it to photosynthesise and create sugars and then use those sugars to grow. We get asked all the time about ‘low-light’ plants, and after a little prying find out its for a bathroom with no windows, or a bedroom where the blinds are never pulled up. This is essentially a dead zone (but we do have a solution - read through!).
So light is a must. But the amount of light they can tolerate will vary. As a general rule, the brighter the better for any plant, but if you know how little light a plant can deal with then it gives you a few more options!
It's always important to ask about your new plants light requirements when purchasing. How much light does it need, and what sort of temperature suits it best?
Then there’s you home.
Things to think about include:
- Which room gets the most sunlight in the house?
- Which direction do my windows face? (This will tell you which rooms will be the warmest/brightest throughout the year)
- Where does the sun track over summer and winter, and will it be hitting any plants? (A lot of house plants won’t like direct sunlight, especially afternoon sun)
- Which is the warmest/coldest room in the house? (Important for picking the right plant - don’t put a tropical houseplant into a cold bathroom for example)
- Where are my heaters/ducts/aircon vents? (No plant loves being blasted by hot or cold air. Make sure they’re not sitting in front of a heat or cooling source)
- Will this plant prefer a humid or dry room and will I need to mist it often or create a stone bed to increase humidity?
This seems like a lot, but it’s just to get you thinking, and it will help you pick a plant that’s really going to thrive in your space. Don’t stress too much though as no home is going to replicate the plants natural environment exactly - a lot of houseplants are adaptable, and will do their best to acclimatise to their new home irrespective of where you place it. Always keep a close on on your new plant in its first few days - if it starts looking unhappy, it’s probably not the best spot for it. Once you’ve picked a good spot, give it a nice pot cover to celebrate!
Oh - that room with no natural light we mentioned? If you’re really set on having a plant in there, go for it, but move it out to another room with great light when you go to work each day. When you come home place the plant back in the room for you and your guests to enjoy.
There is nothing between the plant and the sun. No curtains, foliage, tree or building. This means your plant will be receiving the most direct light indoors (usually around 6-8hrs a day). Think, Cacti, Succulents and many Palm Varieties.
This is when the light is partially obstructed - sheer curtains, sparse foliage, a light shade cloth - and you plant on receives some direct sunlight but mostly indirect light as it bounces off other surfaces in the room. Usually the plant will be sitting 1-3 meters from the window. Here we’re talking forest floor plants like Monstera, Syngonium, Ficus Elastica.
No direct sunlight and very little indirect sunlight will reach your plant. Often rooms with large trees blocking the window or poorly lit bathrooms. Here we recommend plants like Asplenium, Zamioculas and Spathiphyllum.