How To Give A Plant Indirect Sunlight?

Some plants like full sun; others like shade; still others really enjoy indirect or dappled sunlight. But how to give a plant indirect sunlight, I hear you cry?

Luckily, there are many ways you can do this, even if the only place you have to keep your plants is in the full sun.

How To Give A Plant Indirect Sunlight

how to give a plant indirect sunlight

Keeping your plants in indirect sunlight is easier than it might seem – and you don’t need any fancy equipment!

If you have indoor plants that need indirect sunlight, you can try any number of the following solutions;

  1. Hang sheer curtains. This means that light will still reach your plants, but it will be less strong than if it wasn’t coming through the curtain.
  2. Place another plant in front. If you have sun loving plants, place them in front of the indirect light lovers – everyone’s happy!
  3. Position a piece of furniture. If it is possible and practical, a piece of furniture by your window to block some of the light will help your plant.
  4. Plant a tree outside the window. You may be lucky enough to already have one growing outside, but if not then plant a tall plant to catch most of the sunlight.
  5. Move the plant. You can reduce the amount of direct sunlight your plant gets by simply moving it further away from the window.
  6. Place it in an east facing window. The sun is at its strongest from the south, so placing plants in an easterly facing window will reduce their direct sunlight, whilst still allowing them light.

Don’t worry too much if your house is like a greenhouse – as you can see there is lots you can do to make sure your plants receive indirect light!

Let’s now go through everything you need to know about how to give your plants indirect sunlight:

How Do You Determine Indirect Sunlight?

How Do You Determine Indirect Sunlight

Indirect sunlight is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – it gets sunlight, but not directly onto the plant.

This can be sunlight that comes through another plant’s leaves; or through a window; or through a curtain.

Placing your plants in a window that does not receive direct sunlight is another way to create indirect light.

You can create indirect sunlight conditions by using something to block off most of the light from your plants.

A window that is not south facing will also provide indirect light to your plants – just take care still that the leaves don’t touch the glass, to avoid scorching!

Sunlight is still important, even for those plants that don’t like direct sunlight. Making sure they get light is still essential!

You are looking for bright light that does not directly hit the plant; whether this is caused by creating a little shade or simply moving your plants around.

Indirect sunlight can even come from a south facing window, provided you keep your plants up to 5 feet away from the window.

Is Light Through A Window Considered Direct Sunlight?

Although light may streaming through a window and lighting up everything, this is not actually considered direct sunlight.

Light coming through a window may brighten up our lives and give our plants the light they need, but it is not the same as sunlight outside.

Because the glass will diffuse the light, and even reflect it slightly, it reduces the intensity of the sunlight coming from the sun.

Sunlight through a window is around 50% less intense than the direct light from the sun outdoors.

This reduction in the intensity of direct sunlight is further enhanced by the fact that most of us have double glazed windows, which reduce the intensity even further.

However, in terms of plants, you do still have to take care when placing plants close to a window.

If the leaves are touching the glass, they can still be scorched, particularly if the window is a south facing one.

Keep your plants well back from the windows, and you should find that they receive the right amount of indirect sunlight they need.

Is Indirect Sunlight The Same As Shade?

Indirect light may sound the same as shade, but in reality these two things are rather different.

Shade means that the plant is kept completely out of the rays of the sun, and not receiving any light at all.

Indirect sunlight means that the plant still gets the light it needs from the sun, but the rays are not directly shining on it.

Plants in rooms with windows are considered to be in indirect sunlight, as the window will diffuse the sun’s rays slightly.

You can increase the amount of indirect light in a room by adding mirrors as well, to allow more light to bounce off.

Here’s a video that explains all about indirect light, what it is and how you can use it for the benefits of your plants:

How Many Hours Of Indirect Light Do Plants Need?

As always, all plants are different. Some require longer in the sunlight, while others need a shorter time to thrive.

Some plants – particularly succulents and cacti, popular houseplants – can cope with longer periods of direct sun, but most plants will prefer indirect light.

As a general rule, most plants will be happy with four to six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day.

This is a minimum for many plants; some will need more light than this and others will be happy with less.

As with everything to do with your plants, it is important to look up their individual needs before you take them on!

Obviously, light requirements for all plants reduce in the winter, when the plants are generally more dormant.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little more about indirect light, hopefully you can create the perfect conditions for your plants!

Some plants cannot cope at all with direct sunlight, and it is these (as well as those which prefer dappled light) that will benefit the most from indirect light.

2 thoughts on “How To Give A Plant Indirect Sunlight?”

    • It’s a good idea, but chances are that all that would happen is your plant would still get direct light, if not quite as strong. It’s a better idea to hang a curtain or place another plant in front of the one that needs indirect light.


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