Determining your Light Level Indoors

Shade, partial sun, and sun indoors?

Although you could use a light meter to measure how much light you have in your home or office, a blank sheet of white paper, ruler, and some common sense can be just as effective.

First, put the blank sheet of white paper in the spot your plant will go.

Next, hold your hand 12 inches (about 30 centimeters) above the sheet of paper.

If you see a crisp, well-defined shadow... Congratulations! You can grow any indoor plant you want to. (Even plants suited to low light levels are only shade "tolerant." Most of them will thrive in cool, bright light.)

If you see a blurred outline of your hand, you have medium light. You can still grow most indoor plants, but you'll need to invest in additional lights for light-lovers such as succulents, flowering plants, and cacti.

If you can barely see any shadow at all, you have low light. Your plant selection is limited to mostly green leafy indoor plants. To grow a wider selection of plants you'll need to bring in more light.

Aside from proper watering, giving your plant the light level it needs is critical for successful plant growth and survival. If you do bring in additional lights for your plants - put your hand in front of the light source to make sure it's not so hot it will burn the leaves. As a general rule, if you're comfortable, your plant will be happy, too.