Light and plants

Light and plants

Photosynthesis, remember?

To start off well, back to our sciences courses. Photosynthesis, does it remind you of anything?

Well, it's the basis of everything! 

Photosynthesis is the process by which the leaves of a plant capture sunlight, absorb water and nutrients from the soil through their roots and carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the air.

They use the sun's energy to change water and carbon dioxide into glucose, while releasing oxygen (O₂).

The glucose then leaves the leaf and is transported throughout the plant to feed it.

That's why your plant needs good light, regular watering and a suitable soil! 

Your mission at home will therefore be to make sure that all the elements are in place for photosynthesis to go well.

Now that we remember how photosynthesis works, the second thing to know is that, depending on its original environment, each species will have different needs in terms of water, light and soil composition.

It is therefore imperative to find out about their specific needs so that we can provide them with the right conditions for care. 

The orientation of your accommodation

As we have seen in the course of the photosynthesis process, light is one of the most important factors.

So the first step is to find a suitable light location for your plant.

And ideally, before rushing to the e-shop in search of a favourite, it is best to get to know the orientation of your home so that you can choose the right plants for your home. Each plant has different requirements and each exposure to the sun has its own specific requirements:

  • The north, known for its lack of brightness, is nevertheless an exposure that suits many plants. Although sunshine is low, the light is soft and constant, without direct sunlight.
  • In the south, the exposure is the sunniest, with stronger, often direct light, so beware of burns and thirst for the plants closest to the windows.
  • East is probably one of the best orientations for many houseplants. As the sun is rather mild in the morning, the heat is rarely high and tends to decline at the end of the day.
  • The west is also a very bright exposure with direct sunshine that only arrives at the end of the day, which again leaves plenty of possibilities.

Quantity and intensity of light

The amount and intensity of light received is also taken into account.

The further away from the windows, the more the light decreases, the more the adapted plants are not the same at 50 cm or 1 m from the window. The intensity and quantity of light will also not be the same throughout the seasons.

Let's take a look at some concrete examples:

  • A plant that needs a light situation will be placed behind a window to the east or west or behind a window protected by a curtain to the south.
  • A plant that needs a semi-shade situation will be very happy behind a window in the north or a few metres from full light.
  • A plant that needs or can tolerate shade can be placed 1 to 2 m from the light source in the north, 2 to 3 m from the source in the east or west or 3 to 4 m from the source in the south.
  • If the light in your home is not suitable, don't panic, you can easily use a few horticultural lamps to recreate a favourable luminosity.

What are the signs of unsuitable light?

If the foliage turns brown or pale green, these are signs that the light is too bright.

On the contrary, if the leaves are small, the stems are too long and the plant does not flower, there is insufficient light.

If the light is too weak, photosynthesis will not take place and without photosynthesis, no glucose formation, no growth for the plant, which will therefore eventually die.

To sum up, to give your plant the best chance of success, you must find a suitable light location for it.