How Much Lights Do My Houseplants Need?
Play • 1 hr 7 min

Do you ever look around your home and wonder if your houseplants are getting enough light to thrive? Without the right amount and type of light, even the most pampered plant will struggle to survive. Yet many of us wing it when it comes to taking care of our houseplants. We stick that new fiddle leaf fig in a corner and wonder why its leaves droop. Or we assume a windowsill equals “bright indirect light” without really knowing what that means.

I know it’s time to bring attention to this overlooked aspect of being a plant parent! That’s why I invited my OG plant friend, Darryl Cheng of House Plant Journal, to explore an engineer's approach to understanding light for houseplants.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [05:50] Check out Darryl’s previous and upcoming books!
  • [08:51] Why is light so important for houseplants?
  • [12:18] What does it mean to have an “engineering mindset on a plant”?
  • [14:00] What are the different types of lights?
  • [16:41] Why it’s hard to measure light with your eyes
  • [18:43] Find easy-care and quality plants perfect for any room from Proven Winners Leaf Joy
  • [23:15] How can beginners assess their light situation without using a meter?
  • [25:00] How to differentiate between direct light and indirect light?
  • [27:12] How does understanding and measuring light exposure affect the care of houseplants?
  • [30:38] Difference between foot candles, lux, and lumens
  • [34:26] How do houseplants adjust to indoor light from natural light, and what are the challenges?
  • [36:56] What is the first step that you should take in measuring light?
  • [43:16] What was Darryl's motivation for creating his LTH meter?
  • [44:22] How has Darryl’s light meter been inspired by more complex light meters?
  • [50:26] How to gather the best data using your light meter
  • [55:27] Darryl's light meter development process
  • [01:02:46] Where can you find Darryl on social media?


Mentioned in our conversation:


Want an easy and comprehensive guide on all things light?

Check out the full show notes and blog here!


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Territorial Seed Company

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Get 10% off by visiting territorialseed.com/growingjoy - discount applied at checkout.

Proven Winners

If you want to have success with houseplants, you’ve got to have two things: the knowledge to care for them successfully and healthy plants. Meet my new favorite houseplant grower: Proven Winner’s leafjoy™. With only the best plant genetics grown in a state-of-the-art, European greenhouse, you will not be disappointed in the variety and quality of your favorite plants from Proven Winner’s leafjoy™. This company has taken the guesswork out of plant shopping with plant tags that include scientific names and care guides, as well as color-coded collections for the different areas of your home that you want plants in!

Find plant joy in leafjoy™. Head to provenwinners.com to find your local leafjoy™ dealer and let me know which plant you take home on socials!


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Follow Maria and Growing Joy:

Order my book: Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

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