Having houseplants in the home is a great way to bring a little bit of nature inside and reap the benefits plants provide. Much like taking care of a pet, it’s important your plants are given the proper amounts of water, light, and nutrients. It may take a while before your plants develop any indication of not enough, or too much, light, so here at Mancuso’s Florist we have provided you with signs to look for to make sure plants are getting enough sunlight.
Signs Your Houseplant Is Starved of Light
Leggy is a term used to describe plants whose stems have gotten so tall, skinny, and scarce that they look like legs. This is a sign of the plant reaching and stretching to get enough light. Another symptom of leggy stems is a wide space between the leaves. This space is called the internode, and when a plant has large internodes it is not getting enough light.
If you notice the new growth of your plant has smaller than usual leaves, then your plant isn’t getting sufficient energy to grow them the size they’re supposed to be. Compare new growth to older leaves to see if there’s a significant difference in size.
Plants will do what they need to get enough light which could result in leaning, where one side of the plant is significantly angled in its search for more light. When you see this, move your plant to an area with more sunlight and rotate the plant at least once a week so all the leaves get equal amounts of light.
Abnormal Leaf Color
Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color and allows the process of photosynthesis to occur. When a plant is not getting enough sunlight, chlorophyll cannot do its job properly resulting in pale green or yellow leaves that will eventually drop off. Also, with variegated plants, the leaves will turn green in an effort to absorb more light instead of being more colorful as they should be.
Slowed Growth or No New Growth
It’s natural for plants to have reduced growth during the winter months, but if your plant shows no signs of growth or very little growth during the spring and summer months, then it’s probably not getting enough light.
Getting the Light Right
Context is everything and there may be other issues causing some of the above signs, so finding the right amount of light for your plants may take some trial and error. If you suspect your plant is not getting enough light, move it closer to the window or to a sunnier room. Be careful not to put it in direct sunlight, though, as only a few species of sun-loving plants can take that much heat, such as cacti, succulents, and palms.
If for some reason you can’t move your plant to an area with adequate lighting, then purchase a grow light. This will provide your plant with plenty of light regardless of its location.