The amount of light tropical plants receive in the home and office is critical to their health. For these plants, light level significance plays a vital role in photosynthesis: the process the plant world uses to convert light to food. Plainly put, a plant’s health is bound to decline if it does not receive enough light because the plant cannot generate adequate food to promote health. Defoliation and a general decline in appearance are the certain results of inadequate light.
A Foot-Candle is the increment a professional uses to measures light intensity. A foot-candle is the amount of light a candle emits measured one foot from the flame. We use a simple GE light meter to establish foot-candle availability. In our industry, light is typically described in three intensities:
1. Low light: 50 to 150 foot-candles; florescent light only
2. Medium light: 150 to 250 foot-candles; florescent plus some window light
3. High light: 250 plus foot-candles; florescent plus strong window light
Placing plants in adequate light is as much art as science; view Everliving Greenery’s work in office spaces for examples. Many factors may come into play when placing plants such as:
The plant’s general requirements for light intensity: The general guides published with this information are notoriously inaccurate. Experience is by far the best guide
The availability of natural window light from windows and skylights: factors to consider include light source orientation, window tinting, and neighboring buildings or trees blocking light.
The availability of artificial light: artificial light is as beneficial to a plant as natural light. In offices, banks of florescent bulbs provide low to medium light that is extremely consistent because of the daily duration. Here at Everliving Greenery, we use primarily artificial lights controlled by timers to maintain our plants’ health.
Generally the more light available, the better. The exception is that many low light plants’ tender leaves can burn or rapidly pale in intense direct light. These plants are usually grown in moderate light and spend a good deal of time under shade cloth to insure they are acclimated to low light.
Providing adequate light is the vital factor in insuring the plant’s long term health.