Just like humans, plants need water, food, and air to survive. Their food source is light which through the amazing process of photosynthesis provides plants with sugars in which to feed itself and nourish its stem, leaves, and blooms. With enough light, the plant may still survive, but will not flourish and grow. Make sure you are properly feeding your plants by placing them close enough to their light source so they soak up enough energy to stay happy and healthy. Here at Shotwell Floral, we’ve made an easy to follow guide so can be confident in the amount of sun your plant is getting.
Plant Speak: How Your Plant Tells You It Needs More Light
Leggy is a term used to describe plants whose stems have gotten so tall, skinny, and scarce that they look more like legs then lush, thriving plants. The space between leaves on the stem is called the internode, and when a plant has large internodes then it’s clearly not getting enough light.
If you notice the new growth of your plant has smaller than usual leaves, then your plant isn’t getting sufficient energy to grow them the size they’re supposed to be. Compare new growth to older leaves to see if there’s a size difference.
Plants will do what they need to get enough light which could result in leaning, where one side of the plant is significantly angled in its quest for more light. When you see this, move your plant to a spot with more sunlight and give the plant a quarter of a turn at least once a week so all the leaves get equal amounts of light.
Abnormal Leaf Color
Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green color and allows the process of photosynthesis to occur. When a plant is not getting enough sunlight, chlorophyll cannot do its job properly resulting in pale green or yellow leaves that will eventually drop off. Also, with variegated plants, the leaves will turn green in an effort to absorb more light instead of being more colorful as they should be.
Slowed Growth or No New Growth
It’s natural for plants to have reduced growth during the winter months, but if your plant has no signs of growth or very little growth during the spring and summer months, then it’s a sign of insufficient lighting. Light provides energy to plants to grow lush and beautiful.
Getting the Light Right
Context is everything and there may be other issues causing some of the above signs, so a little trial and error is expected. If you suspect your plant is not getting enough light, move it closer to the window or to a sunnier room. You may even have to chase the sun and move your plant to different areas of your home to maintain good lighting for it.
Be careful not to put it in direct sunlight, though, as only a few species of sun-loving plants can take that much heat, such as cacti, succulents, and palms.
If you are unable to get your plant to a spot with adequate lighting, then pick up a grow light which will give your plant plenty of light regardless of its location.