What Is Bright Indirect Light For Plants?
In the garden, you may have seen the term “bright, indirect light”. Unfortunately, this term isn’t usually defined clearly, so it can be hard to figure out exactly what it is. Luckily, we can help you with that.
Bright indirect light for your plants is light that doesn’t come directly from the sun to your plants but that bounces off something before it reaches them. When placed in bright indirect light, plants cast blurry, indistinct shadows. Indirect light of this intensity is about 800-2000 foot candles.
Learn how to achieve bright indirect light inside your home and learn which types of lighting are suitable for plants, by reading on. It may not always be clear whether your plants are receiving enough light. That’s why we have put together this guide to answer your lighting questions so that you can place your plants with confidence.
What is the Difference Between Direct Light and Indirect Light?
Taking a closer look at indirect light vs direct light could make a difference for your plants. So, let’s learn more about how different lighting works.
An easy concept to understand is direct sunlight. This is when plants get direct, unobstructed sun. The unobstructed part here is important. The number of objects that get in the way of direct sunlight during the day may surprise you – think tree branches, houses, or anything that stands in the way of the plants.
It is interesting to note that direct sunlight outside is much more intense than direct light through a window.
We discussed indirect light earlier in this chapter, which occurs when the plant is in a light-filled environment, but rays from the sun aren’t hitting it directly. The area is still bright since light is reflected off the walls or refracted before reaching the plant directly.
The lighting situation in gardening is not always so straightforward. You might be able to find an area that receives both direct and indirect light. In general, that is okay. It depends on just how much light your plant actually needs.
Generally, many gardeners accept bright, indirect light that comes from direct, direct sun as an example of appropriate bright, indirect lighting. It is often accepted as an indirect source of light if a plant is near a window that only receives direct sunlight for a few hours in the morning.
How to Measure Bright Indirect Light?
Knowing the definition of indirect light, it is also helpful to learn how to check for direct light. Here, we will outline two methods of finding indirect light and its intensity.
The shadow technique can be used to determine if a plant is receiving direct or indirect sunlight when it appears in a shadow cast by another plant.
A well-defined shadow without blurred edges indicates direct light. This is because the sun appeared directly overhead and cast a perfect shadow.
Weak shadows with indistinguishable or blurry edges are caused by indirect light, since the sun does not hit the plant directly and so does not produce a perfectly defined shadow.
Almost invisible shadows indicate low light. There is still enough light for some shadows but they are barely perceptible.
Here are good guidelines to follow when dealing with your plants. If you want to get a more accurate reading of how much light your plants receive, the best method would be to use a light meter, which we will explore next.
In a light meter, the unit of measurement is called foot-candles, which measures the intensity of the light present in the area. It is difficult to assess the accuracy of the reading because it varies based on numerous factors, including whether you are indoors or outdoors, and in which direction the meter faces.
Bright indirect light can be between 800 and 2000 foot candles and varies according to the plant’s location. However, in order to put together a complete picture of your plant’s light requirements you need to combine the light meter reading with knowledge about what makes up indirect light.
How Do You Make Bright, Indirect Light?
Maybe you came to this article to get some examples of indirect light. In general, an indirect light source is one where there is no direct sunlight hitting the object.
When something blocks the sunlight’s path, the plant will not receive direct light from the sun, such as a window shade, tree branches, or anything else in between it.
You can get bright indirect light if your plant is placed in an area that is not directly facing a window. You can try to stand in the room and determine whether you can see the sun directly where your plant is placed. Light intensity also varies with distance from the window; the further away from the window the plant is, the dimmer the light.
Besides the seasons, time of day, and weather patterns that obstruct the sun, other factors influence light that are less in your control. Generally speaking, you need to understand general patterns in your area when considering these factors.
Use this knowledge to gain insight into how these factors affect average light levels. For example, in the winter, you may want to place your plants closer to a window to account for the reduced overall daylight.
How to Increase or Decrease Light Levels?
Lighting levels are entirely determined by where a plant is placed. Irrespective of the climate, you can adjust light levels to suit your needs.
The best way to change light levels is to move your plant into an area where there is no obstruction of light. If this is not possible, then you can purchase an LED grow light to give your plant more light. Refer to our previously defined terms for direct light and indirect light above to determine the best light level for your plants.
How Do I Know If My Plants Are Getting Enough Light?
Different plants require different amounts of light, such that succulents have higher light requirements, whereas snake plants and cast iron plants can be grown in remarkably dim conditions.
When in doubt, it’s best to do additional research either before purchasing a plant or after. Do an internet search and you’ll find plenty of dedicated gardeners who have written wonderful information on how to grow a particular plant.
How To Tell If Light Levels Are Too High or Too Low?
Different plants show different symptoms when exposed to too much or insufficient light, so they do not show the same symptoms every time. Find a resource for the particular plant you have issues with. In general, though, most plants exhibit certain symptoms of too much or too little light:
Too Much Light
If a plant receives excessive light, it’ll develop scorched leaves that resemble brown spots. If that’s the case, move it to a cooler place as quickly as possible.
When plants do not receive enough light, they often have difficulty growing as rapidly as they should because they are not getting the energy they need from photosynthesis. This results in weak and drooping plants that produce fewer leaves or flowers.
You should move your plant into an area where it receives more light if it appears sad. Make sure you research how much light each species actually needs.
If A Location Gets A Few Hours Of Direct Light Per Day, But Is Mainly In Indirect Light, Is This Suitable For A Plant That Needs Bright Indirect Light?
In most cases, the answer to this question is yes. A plant that needs indirect light doesn’t usually need more than a few hours of direct light per day. Generally, four hours of direct sunlight is as much as you should give it.
You need to tailor your approach to the plants that you are going to attempt to grow, so if yours are struggling to endure a little direct sunlight, you might be best off avoiding it altogether.
This article focuses on one of the most consistent inconsistencies in the plant world – indirect light. Not only is this term misunderstood, but it can also be hard to know where to place your plants so that they receive the intended amount of light.
In this post, hopefully, we’ve given you the knowledge and tools needed to understand indirect light and to test the amount of light plants are receiving at any given time. You may need to experiment to find the perfect growing conditions for each plant.