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All About Houseplant Lighting

Hello plant lovers! In order for your plants to thrive you will have to give them the light that they need. It's always a struggle to figure out the best lighting conditions that will be suitable for each plant! Will it be too bright? Is the spot you dream of having filled with plants a dark windowless area?

From my own experiences and research I feel I can give you some help. Read on to see how I solve problems like too much or too little light, and learn how the direction from which sunlight comes might affect your plant.

Too Much Light


  • Burnt leaves, brown spots direct sunlight can be very hot
  • Drying soil (when your plant is getting too much sunlight it causes it to intake water much faster)
  • Bleached leaves
  • Wilting curling or folding

What To Do?

Get a sheer curtain that will help cut out some light, move your plants back further from the window, or try a stick-on window covering.

Not Enough Light


  • Lower leaves dying (the plant may be putting energy into producing leaves closer to the light source)
  • Soil staying damp, this causes a risk of root rot
  • Reaching towards the light and becoming leggy (a lot of space between leaves)
  • Not growing
  • Leaves coming out discolored, or small

What To Do?

LED lighting might be your best solution. See below for more information about LED products.

Best Window for Your Plant

It is important to think about the native habitat that a specific plant might come from. Do they grow under canopy without much direct light, or out in the open land where the light beats down all day long? Just as important is to think about from which direction the sunlight is coming.

North Facing Windows

North facing windows and rooms get the least about of sunlight throughout the day. I would recommend growing plants within two feet of the window if you will have them in a north facing room given the low amount of light already hitting it. If they are too far away you may find sights of stress such as reaching. To get light to your plant it needs to be very close to that light source. A Long table can be nicely placed underneath a window if you want to utilize this. There are many plants that do well in low light settings because in nature they would grow under canopies of trees and get only dappled sun.

Plants that do well in this low lighting include:

Heart Leaf Philodendron, jade Pothos, Zz plant, Snake plant, tradescantia spider plant and some Scindapsis.

South Facing Windows

Southern facing windows and rooms get the most sunlight exposure and whole room will be lit up most of the day. This is where you will want to keep your sun loving plants. You can have a lot of a fun with southern exposure because plants can be all over the place. Nearest to the window you can keep succulents, palms and cacti. Farther back you have room for any plant under the sun. If you aren't a desert plant person, I would suggest investing in some sheer curtains for your windows. The Southern direct light can be very intense for tropical plants as it lasts for a very long time, and you will find signs of too much light exposure (explained below).

Plants that do well in this bright lighting include:

Cacti, Succulents, Palms, Haworthia, Jade, Lipstick plants, some Philodendron and Hoya, Ficus, and trees. If your lighting is diffused, or your plants are below or back from the windows then any Philodendron, Hoya, Monstera, Spider plants, Alocasia, ivy, Aloe, etc. will be very happy and thrive.

East Facing Windows

Eastern windows get mostly morning sunlight, but giiven the consistent moderate light throughout the rest of the day, eastern light can provide a moment of morning direct sunlight without much risk of burning the plants. While morning light is bright, it tends to be less intense than afternoon light. You won't need to cover your windows and can have plants near and far from the windows with an eastern exposure. The rays of sun will reach into any room and provide ample lighting for many varieties.

Plants that do well in this medium lighting include:

African violets, Orchids, Asparagus ferns, Philodendron, Begonia, Monstera, Rhaphidophora, Hoya, and all pothos.

West Facing Windows

Western facing windows get low light in the morning, but in the afternoon will get very intense direct sunlight. This can be a lot for some varieties so this should be the last window you throw your favorite plant in just because it's the "last spot available".

Before putting any plants right near a western window do your research to make sure you won't be burning your leaves. This is a great room to have plants across the room from the window as the strong rays will be ample for low light plants. I wouldn't opt for curtains on a western window as this will block out the very low light you can get in the mornings.

A good thing to do in this room would be to have light loving plants near the windows and stagger some lower and medium light plants through the room. Below the cast of the sun, under the window is a good place for hoya and philodendron as they will be encouraged to grow towards the light.

Plants that do well in this lighting include:

Cacti, Succulents, Palms, Haworthia, Jade, Lipstick plants, some Philodendron and Hoya, Ficus, and trees. If your lighting is diffused, or your plants are below or back from the windows then any Philodendron, Hoya, Monstera, Spider plants, Alocasia, ivy, Aloe, etc. will be very happy and thrive.

Low Light? What About LED Lighting?

Does your home suffer from low lighting in places where you would love to have a plant? All plants need light in order to photosynthesize and LED lighting setups are a great way to supplement this. These days there are lots of options for indoor gardening and houseplant growing that are comparable to outdoor lighting.

Some types of lighting setups are more aesthetically attractive than others. The lighting I use in my grow room for example (spider farmer) is suited well for use in an enclosed space like a small room or tent. It casts very intense light that reaches very far, but the light itself may not be as visually pleasing as you would like. Something like a Soltech track lighting system would be better suited for a living space.

Below are some alternative lighting solutions that might solve your low light problem. I would not recommend using any of the colored lights as these can cause eye distress in many individuals. Just click on the company names to go to their pages.

Soltech is a company focused on providing stylish houseplant lighting solutions. They have singular light casings as well as bulbs and track lighting systems.

Gardener's Supply Company sells some very cute tabletop lights as well as set ups suitable for growing herbs in your kitchen.

Spider Farmer Is a brand of light that can grow both home gardens and houseplants and has recently become very popular in the houseplant community. It is best suited for a greenhouse or a small room filled with plants.

Amazon has many affordable and well-functioning products. It also has many duds. I would research the specific company you are thinking of buying from on the amazon marketplace to make sure they are well reviewed outside of Amazon.