Every houseplant enthusiast knows the importance of using a light meter for plants. Some plants love lots of direct sunlight or artificial light. Others are low light plants that still thrive without a lot of light intensity. With a handheld light meter you are able to test light levels right where you will be placing a plant. A good test light probe helps you to find just the right spot in your home or office for each plant.
How are those houseplants doing? I know mine could use a little help especially this time of year. Will Mark Conlock from the Green Bay Botanical Garden has some tips on keeping those houseplants looking great all year long.
If you’re looking for a way to bring some green and some color into your house especially during the winter months when it’s a little bit drab outside you might want to consider buying or bringing some houseplants into your home.
Benefits of a Light Meter for Plants
There’s a number of things to think about when purchasing a houseplant. The first thing is light. Some plants don’t need as much light, they’re actually from tropical under stories of jungles. And some of them need a lot of light they’re from warmer areas like the Southwest desert area of the United States.
So the first thing to think about is the light conditions in your home. A window that faces the South has the most light in your home. Windows on your east and west side of your house have moderate light. In a window on the north side of your house would have really low light conditions so it’s best to stay away from the north-facing windows unless that’s all you have.
Some plants that need a lot of light tend to be the ones that are from the more
open desert type region such as succulents. Plants that need less light are ones that are from for dark environments. Naturally one of them would be a Snake Plant. There’s also another plant called a Cast Iron plant that doesn’t need very much sunlight. The closer you are to a window the more light you have and the further away the less light. Of course it can be pretty significant so if you really have a high light plant you’ll need to put it really close. But even further away from a south facing the window can be really low light condition. So just think about that when you’re placing your plants.
The other thing to think about when choosing a plant is how much you want to take care of it. Some people like to really pamper their plants and check them daily. Some people just want something that’s there it looks good and they don’t have to worry about. So when you think about that remember where the plant is from.
Again the other thing to know about watering is there’s a lot of devices out there but really the best thing to do is just use your finger. Stick it into the soil to see how wet it is or not, when in there, and water accordingly.
All right, now that you know a little bit about the light and the watering you’re ready to go and buy some plants. Now when you go to the store and start purchasing take a look at what you’re buying. Try not to buy something that has like a lot of holes in the leaves. That might mean an insect is on it or something that you actually see the insect. For example on this plant there’s a mealy bug on there. And also look for spots and streaking of leaves which could indicate a disease. The other thing you might want to do is feel the stems or feel down in there and see if it’s gets moist or if it’s really bushy. That could be a rot issue already. So buy a quality plant right away, because that will reduce the work that you have to do.
Once you get it to your house the other thing to remember, we’re buying post plants especially in the winter time and even in the summertime is make sure you protect them. In the winter make sure that they’re wrapped up by the person that checks you out with plastic bags or a paper so that they’re protected from the cold winds. And in your car make sure that they’re not left there when you’re doing other things. Don’t just leave them there for a half hour to an hour where they could get cold and could be damaged. Maybe not immediately but over time you’ll notice it in the summertime if you’re purchasing these plants make sure you don’t leave them in your trunk or leave them in a car where they might get overheated actually.
Once you have your plant home and you do notice some disease or insects remove any foliage that’s affected and get rid of it. If you have insects on it there’s different sprays you can use on them. But the first step would be actually just to physically remove the insects that you see and possibly the leaves that you see on there. Once you’ve done that you can take a damp paper towel to just clean them all or if it gets worse you think you want to do something else there’s a bunch of different insecticidal soaps that are approved for home use that you can check out. In different nurseries or garden centers or even parts of home depot or signs carry those kinds of products.
The final thing to do on maintenance of your plants is it gets really dusty you might want to take a cloth just a damp cloth or a damp paper towel and wipe, wipe the leaves off. It just helps get light to the plant it helps clean everything up and makes it look nice in your house.
Our Summary: Having a test light meter for plants will help you measure light intensity both indoors and out. These devices will help you grow healthier plants since even low light plants need a certain amount of light for part of the day. There are many 3-in-1 devices on the market that allow you to check the soil moisture, pH level and the light for plants. Using a light meter for indoor plants especially, will make a big difference in success or failure.