I’ve always loved having plants inside the home. Growing up, my mom kept spider plants, palms, jasmine, cacti, and various other species in our best lit rooms. When I moved into my own apartments in my twenties, I quickly realized I didn’t have my mom’s talent for keeping plants alive, or so I thought…. In this fourth week of the One Room Challenge, we’ll be discussing indoor plant life, and how to turn your black thumb into a semi-green thumb.
The first step in learning how to keep plants alive is to select the right plants for the lighting in your space. I’ve found this to be the most critical factor in whether a plant lives or dies. Too much or too little light can easily stress a plant, and stress leads to disease, pests, or premature death! The difficult part is determining what kind of light exists in your space as the differences can be subtle. Here's a quick primer on how to determine the lighting for your plant's location:
LIGHTING PRIMER FOR PLANTS
South or west facing windows with direct light all day long. It has a minimum of 5-6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
East or west facing windows that have a couple hours of sun a day, avoiding the heat of the midday sun.
INDIRECT BRIGHT LIGHT
South or west facing windows but located far away enough from the window to avoid direct sun. The plant doesn’t receive direct sunlight, but does get indirect light 5-6 hours a day.
North facing windows or rooms partially shaded by trees, or the deep interior of a room far from windows. If it’s a spot where you can’t easily read a book, then it’s probably low light.
While we’re only talking about light in this post, there are other factors to consider such as watering, temperature, humidity, and seasonal changes. The most important thing is to try different locations until your plant seems happy and healthy. Also, ask your local garden store expert for their recommendations of plants based on where you plan to place your plant.
Our living room space for the One Room Challenge has strong light from south/west facing windows, but we’re placing the plants in more shaded areas of the rooms that receive indirect light. We went to Flora Grubb, one of our favorite garden stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, to get advice on which plants will work best for our situation. We learned that many, if not most, indoor plants work well in indirect light, so we decided on the Peperomia Thailand and the Philodendron Cordatum. We love the shape of their leaves!