Are your house plants getting enough light? Using a light intensity meter is the only sure-fire way to find out.
Some plants do fine with varying light levels, while some are more demanding. Providing the sufficient light level can be the difference between a healthy, thriving plant and one that is merely surviving. Don't know how much light your plant needs? You'll find the indoor plant light requirements for your plant in the House Plants Encyclopedia A-Z.
How much light is your plant really getting?
To accurately measure the quantity of light for your plant, I suggest using a light intensity meter. For years, I resisted using one. I thought my estimates were pretty close. However, once I tried one, I was surprised at how far off I was, trying to guess at the intensity of natural light streaming through my windows.
Of course, placing plants closer to a window will make a huge difference in how much light they receive. Light levels drop off sharply even a few feet away from a window. It also helps to give house plants a quarter turn about once a week to ensure that every side of a plant is exposed to light for even growth.
Handheld light meters show the exact amount of light where your plant is located.
If your window is draped by sheer curtains or blinds, or shaded by a tree or awning, the intensity of light actually reaching your indoor plants will drop off sharply.
Even in the summer months, the light intensity in a sunny room is a fraction of what it is outdoors. Imagine how little light your indoor plants receive on cloudy days or the short days of winter.
The light intensity meter, shown at left, does double-duty, providing the measurement of light as well as the moisture level in your plant's soil.
Just stick the probe into the soil and you'll know in an instant whether or not your plant needs watering. With this easy-to-use device, you'll never overwater your plants again.
The meter shown at right, helps you to choose the best location for your plants -- indoors or out.
This light intensity meter not only gives you an accurate light level reading, it lets you know when your plants are thirsty by checking the moisture content in the soil.
Stick the prongs into the soil and a gauge will show you whether a plant needs watering. This handy tool will help you to prevent under- or (more likely) over-watering your house plants.
Want more? This 3-in-1 meter will check your soil's pH -- the level of acidity or alkalinity in the soil. The pH balance is one of the last things indoor gardeners check, but it should be one of the first. It's vital to plant health.
Unfortunately, soil pH is often overlooked when a plant stops growing or looks unhealthy.