How to See the Light

Posted by Ema Hegberg on

Finding the right light situation for your plant can be challenging. Knowing what direction your windows face can help. 

How to figure out the direction of your windows

Head over to Google Maps. Type in the address of your house or apartment. Chances are, unless you’ve been playing about in Google Maps, it will be oriented with the top of your screen being north. Maybe grab a sheet of paper and sketch out your building as it is oriented on Google Maps, adding dots where the windows are. Put a compass rose next to it and you’ll be able to see what directions are! 

Here’s a bit about what those directions mean for your plant. 

 

North facing windows never receive any direct sunlight and can support only plants with low light needs.  

South facing windows receive the most intense light during the day. During the summer, because of the angle of the sun streaming into these windows, plants should be placed higher or hung near the windows. In the winter, the sun is lower in the sky. This means that plants that typically reside in an east or west facing window can be moved to a south facing window (if you have both). This winter southern light will also be less harsh than in summer. 

 

The light from an east facing window is typically what we’d call “medium light.” Eastern light will cast a bright, warm light that’s not going to burn your plants. The sun comes up in this window. 

Western facing windows will give you a peek at the sun going down. Western light is also bright light but it’s consistently warmer than eastern light. This light may do well for quite a few high-light plants if they’re set close to the window. The light also comes in at an angle, like eastern light, thus allowing for a larger number of plants to be grown further form the window.  

The four directions are, of course, not the only sources of light in a space. You might also have skylights and bay windows. The latter can really be something because it means that your plants have light exposure from three possible directions! This may encourage plants to bloom better. 

And there are grow lights, but they deserve a post all their own! 

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