Light is important to successfully grow plants indoors.

It is needed to produce carbohydrates or food energy for plants. As a rule of thumb, the more light a plant receives, the more carbohydrates are produced. Carbohydrates are stored by the plant and used during low-light periods.

Different plants have differing requirements for light intensity.

It is important to know what plant you have to determine what works best for it.

For example, plants that grow well in high light include: amaryllis, avocado, bromeliads or members of the citrus family. Medium light plants include: African violets, coleus, weeping figs and orchids. Low light choices are cast iron plant, spider plant, piggy-back plant, fittonia and some ferns.

Keep in mind that the intensity of light changes throughout the year. In winter, light is much less intense than in the summer months. By moving plants to appropriate locations within the home, any number of light intensities can be achieved.

High-light intensity occurs within two feet of south-facing windows from October through March and within two feet of east or west-facing windows all year. These locations have at least four to six hours of daily sun.

Medium light occurs within two feet of north-facing glass from April through September and two to six feet back or one foot to the side of an east or west-facing window. Typically, 10 to 14 hours per day of fluorescent office lighting is considered medium light.

Low light is found within two feet of north-facing glass from October through March and 2 to 6 feet back from, or 1 foot to the side of south-facing glass from April through September. Six to 10 feet back from, or 1 foot to the side of south-facing glass from April through September is considered low light.

Avoid placing plants so that foliage is touching glass or cold winter and hot summer temperatures can both be damaging.

Consider artificial light when light levels are too low. Fluorescent lights, when combined with incandescent light, provide a good balance for plant growth. For every four feet of fluorescent tube use one 40 watt incandescent bulb.

Signs your plant may not be receiving enough light include poor or spindly growth, smaller than normal leaves, lower leaves turn yellow, dry up and die, or pale leaves. Your plant may also receive too much light. In that case, it may have brown or grey scorch patterns, leaves may appear washed out or shriveled, and leaves may wilt at midday.

The Madison County Extension Office will be closed December 24, 2021, and be closed until Monday January 3, 2021, opening at 8:00 am.

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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