What is indirect light for houseplants?

Welcome to my WTF Gardening series, where I take common gardening terms and explain them for those who are new to the world of plants.

Today’s post is all about positioning houseplants in indirect light. If you’ve ever seen plant care advice on a label, you’ve probably seen a very simple note about plant light, position or placement:

Full sun

The labels of some plants such as succulents and cacti will likely mention ‘full sun’ as these plants are happier with lots of natural light. These plants can be placed in a position where they receive as much sunlight as possible.

Low light

Conversely, the labels on plants such as Devil’s Ivy and Heartleaf Philodendron will usually talk about low light. These can get away with being placed high up on a shelf where direct light doesn’t reach them at all.

Indirect light

Indirect light, however, requires a little more of an explanation. This means that the plant receives lots of natural light, but that no direct light actually touches the plant. Now, this sounds similar to low light, but it’s not. These plants really need to be placed around three feet away from a window (preferably east-facing); too much or too little light and they might get sick.

Indirect light distance

Indirect light: Houseplants

Houseplants that are suited to indirect light include:

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia

ZZ plant
Image by Mokkie on Wikipedia Commons under this licence

Dracaena fragrans

Dracaena fragrans
Image by Lazaregagnidze on Wikipedia Commons under this licence

Maranta leuconeura

Maranta leuconeura
Image by Ural-66 under this licence

Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

Bird's Nest Fern
Image by Kent Wang on Flickr under this licence

Money Tree Plant (Pachira glabra)

Money tree plant
Image by Karl Thomas Moore under this licence

What would you like to see me cover next in my WTF Gardening series? Let me know in the comments section!

Leave a Reply