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Houseplant Light



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Light is a limiting factor in growing many houseplants. Natural sunlight in most homes and offices is poor. The light is often too bright or too dim and usually comes from only one side. Light must be balanced with temperature and other growth factors so plants make their best growth. Plants that are receiving the right amount of light are less likely to be overwatered or over fertilized. These same plants withstand higher temperatures in most homes with adequate light. Healthy plants are also less likely to suffer fatal disease or insect attacks. To avoid other problems, select plants that do best in a given area. Plants are divided according to their sunlight requirements. Typical categories are as follows: LIGHT REQUIREMENTS Direct Sun: Sunlight falls directly on the plant for 4-6 hours per day; above 800 f.c. Winter Direct Sun: Sunlight falls directly on the plant in winter only. Bright: No direct sunlight hits plant, but intense indirect or filtered sunlight; 400-800 f.c. Moderate: An intermediate amount of light; 250-400 f.c. Low: A low amount of light, generally away from windows; 100-250 f.c. Very Low: The lowest amount of light any plant can receive and still live; 50-100 f.c. Light measurements are often expressed in foot-candles. A footcandle is a measurement that theoretically equals the amount of light that falls directly on one square foot of surface located one foot away. To increase the light to your plants do the following: Clean Your Window. Dirty windows cut down light transmission as much as 40%. Eyes adjust but plants will not. Increase Light Reflection. White plaster reflects about 90% of the light while other materials such as white rocks, aluminum foil and other material reflect slightly less. Reflection substantially increases light to the plants. Move the Plants. This technique is how many offices and commercial buildings maintain their plants. Rotate plants from darker locations to sunny locations or a greenhouse to give the plant a chance, to build up stored food reserves which can be utilized when the plant is moved into darker areas. Add Artificial Light. Artificial light increases day length. Generally a longer period of weaker light will have the same effect as a shorter period of more intense light.

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