Why is light important?

bg_Ficus-bladeLight is the plants’ only source of energy, so they are entirely dependent on light. Unlike people and animals who derive energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat, plants produce these substances using the energy from light and from carbon dioxide in the air. The residual product from this process is oxygen, which we humans benefit from when we draw a breath.

The greatest challenge in getting plants to thrive in an indoor environment is providing them with sufficient light. The natural habitat of most house plants is the tropics, where light is plentiful. Things are quite different in our latitudes, especially in the winter months, when light levels are significantly lower than in the summer months. For example, the total amount of light in Denmark in December is only about 4% of the total light in June.

Things don’t get any better when we move indoors. Depending on the size of the windows, light intensity is roughly halved for each meter further away from a window. In other words, just two meters from a window, in the winter months, there will be just 1–2% light available for a plant compared to the light available outdoors on a fine summer’s day.

To the human eye, it is difficult to perceive this enormous difference, but because plants live on energy from light, they do not need to be positioned very far away from a window at all before the level of light becomes insufficient for their survival. Generally speaking, therefore, it is important to keep plants as close as possible to windows.

Electric light is rarely sufficient to compensate for the lack of sunlight. First, the color composition of the light needs to be adapted to the needs of the plant, which is seldom the case with ordinary lightbulbs for lighting the home, and secondly, the light needs to be quite intense to have any effect on plants.

If you want to position a plant in a poorly lit spot, you must either accept a limited lifespan for your plant, or choose a hardy type of plant capable of coping with a low level of light over a prolonged period.

EasyCare plants are specially selected from among the most resilient types of plants that nature has to offer, and they have been acclimatized to cope well in low light levels. You can find specific guidelines for the individual species of plants by clicking on the plant name under the Plant care menu.