Providing adequate sunlight for plants is one important aspect of plant care. It should be considered before growing any crop, flower, or vegetable. Most plant species need a certain intensity of sunlight to grow healthy and strong.
The light intensity provided to plants indoors. It is regulated through the windows, and this varies with each direction the window is facing.
Depending on what side of the hemisphere you live in (Northern or Southern).
The 4 sun-facing window directions:
- South-Facing Windows
- North-Facing Windows
- East-Facing Windows
- West-Facing Windows
Consider placing your plant in a south-facing window if it has a high light or sun requirement. This is because the sun has a defined southeast-to-west rising and setting the path. This means that the southern window has a higher and longer exposure to sunlight than any other sun-facing window.
When living in the Southern hemisphere, the opposite is the case. The south-facing window light intensity is the least when compared to other window directions.
Still, it is recommended that you grow succulents like cacti or Alcoasia varieties in a south-facing window. This is because they would need a lot of sunlight to grow healthy. Proximity to the southeast-facing window also matters. The closer, the plant is to the window, the more light it receives.
When living in the Northern hemisphere, the North-facing window provides the least sunlight intensity for the indoor plant. Due to the sun’s defined southeast-to- west path, the northern window doesn’t get much light.
Planting shade-loving houseplants like the spider plant or hostas would be ideal for the North facing the window when in the summer season. However, northern-facing windows are not useful during the winter seasons as they offer no sunlight.
In the Southern hemisphere, the north-facing window is the complete opposite, as it provides the most sunlight intensity than other window directions indoors.
It is a known fact that the sun rises in the East and sets in the west. Due to this defined path. the East-facing window is restricted to getting a weak but bright sunlight intensity in the morning. This is like the light intensity of the north-facing window, but a bit stronger.
Keep a low light-loving plant with slight variegation next to an east-facing window. An example would be the variegated ginger plant. Plants like these prefer a few hours of weak but bright light intensity. The type that comes with the morning sunrise.
Light intensity for the East-facing window remains the same. Irrespective of whether you live in the Northern hemisphere or the Southern hemisphere.
Growing your plant next to a western-facing window presents it with strong intensity. This sunlight intensity can last throughout the afternoon. After the morning sunrise in the east, the sun settles in the west. This means a lot of its light is concentrated on the west-facing window.
This window direction is suitable for plants like the Alocasia and Monstera varieties. As these are plants that prefer large and prolonged exposure to intense sunlight.
Regardless of whether you live in the southern or Northern hemisphere. The intensity of sunlight that the west-facing window receives is not affected.
How would a houseplant respond to sunlight that comes from one direction?
Plants have a natural built-in survival instinct. It forces them to grow in the direction of the sunlight they receive.
If you grow your potted plant in a room with one direct light source. The plant would limit or reduce the growth cells in the plant that is facing that light source. This in turn causes the potted houseplant to bend towards the light source. Hence growing in that direction.
This survival instinct is called positive photo-tropism. It is common for most green plants or plants with chlorophyll.
Frequently Asked Questions
The science behind the way sunlight is being used by plants is a little complicated. The sunlight is broken down and converted into energy. This energy is what the plant requires to grow and produce flowers. The process is called photosynthesis.
Yes, most plants can grow in areas without sunlight as long as artificial light is provided.
Green plants need sunlight the most, but they can survive for a period between 4 days to 20 days without light.
Plants like petunias, do well when grown in the full afternoon sunlight.
Any amount of sunlight that is greater than 6 hours is considered full sun, irrespective of the time of day.