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Direct, Indirect, and Angle of Sunlight: Find the Right Light for your House Plants

When first exploring the world of indoor plants, it is normal to hear words such as 'indirect light', or hearing about the importance of an 'east-facing window', and feel very confused.

While all plants grown indoors have adapted to varying levels of shade (that's why we can grow them indoors), different plants come from different natural environments with varying light conditions that we must try to replicate at home.

Here is a guide to understanding the language of light:

Light strength

Direct sunlight is when rays of light are directly hitting the foliage of your plant. This usually means it's in direct line of an east or west-facing window (which we will cover below), or that you have an unobstructed overhead skylight.

Indirect light is the ambient light in a room or space. The foliage of your plant does not have to be touching direct sun, believe it or not, bright, indirect light is ideal for most indoor plants. This can either mean placing your plant a few metres away from the window, or placing it in a north or south facing window.

Light direction

It is important to understand how the sun moves throughout the day and what this means for your plants.


In Australia, north-facing windows will guarantee you the most all-day, indirect sunlight, aka. perfect conditions for most indoor plants. Big north-facing windows are your golden ticket to happy indoor plants.


The sun rises in the east, and morning sun is generally more gentle than afternoon sun as it gets warmer and stronger throughout the day. Some light-loving plants will love this morning sun and can handle it being direct light, as it is not too harsh.


South-facing, on the other hand, is not as bad as having no-windows, however, the strength of the light coming from this direction is quite weak and can be insufficient for some indoor plants.


The sun sets in the west. That golden hour of afternoon sun is beautiful, but depending on your window situation, may be too harsh for your plants and can burn the leaves if plants are placed right in a west-facing window. Winter overcast sun is less harsh, but in the summertime it may be a good idea to pull your plants back and a little further away from the window.

As always, if you have questions about specific plants or need help figuring out your light conditions, come visit us in the POP Wilder store and our friendly staff will be more than happy to help you out!

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