Lighting Needs of Houseplants

Find out if your plants are receiving enough, or too much, sunlight.
The Basics
Christmas Cactus The Christmas cactus needs short
days to flower properly.

Light is vital to plants, yet each type of plant, and sometimes individual plants within a type, demand different amounts of it. Each home, too, presents entirely different conditions. That's why you should plan on experimenting with each plant until you find the spot that yields best performance. There are some general rules, but these all have exceptions. For the most part, flowering plants need more light than foliage plants. Yet croton, a foliage plant, needs lots of light to keep its vibrant leaf color. Most plants with thick, fleshy leaves need little light, yet cacti and succulents thrive in bright light. Some plants flower according to how long light is present each day, rather than how intense it is. Christmas cactus, chrysanthemum, kalanchoe, and poinsettia are examples of plants that need short days (long nights) to flower properly. Fortunately, if other conditions -- water, soil, and humidity -- are right, many plants can live under less-than-perfect light.

Continued on page 2:  Different Light