Placing Plants in Shaded Spaces
We all have that space in our home that would look stunning with a plant but it lacks the light it needs. It may seem like there’s no getting around it but we’re here to find the perfect solution for you.
Firstly, consider the space. Your desired spot should ideally be close to a window, skylight, or grow light. If you can see the sky from that spot, chances are it is suitable for low light plants without any adjustments. If you can’t see the sky from that spot you may want to consider adding a floor lamp or spotlight with a daylight bulb or grow light.
Consider the plant. My top piece of advice for plant parents is: ask not what the plant can do for you but what you can do for the plant. With this I’m basically saying ‘you can’t control nature’. If you put a plant in a place it doesn’t like, the plant will inevitably die. Some, like succulents, may start to etiolate while others will just drop their leaves and crisp like fried chicken. When choosing a plant for a low light spot ensure they are either shade dwellers or capable of withstanding extreme light conditions.
Once you have chosen your plant... you will need to allow a period of adjustment to its new spot. Adjustment can seem quite scary as it’s a time when plants shed leaves and completely change their behaviour. Lower light will mean less watering. In addition, plants will change their growth pattern as well as their production of foliage. A plant with lower light may have larger internodal spacing, reduced growth, and in some you may see more prolific blooming. This is all a normal part of the “acclimating period” which is inevitable when moving a plant from one environment to another. Continue to tend to your plant according to its needs and keep a close eye on its response. If you find that the plant is failing to thrive the solution may be to introduce a grow light or to look at the temperatures in that space. Heat will be your best friend when keeping a plant in a shaded space as it will be their main source of *life*.
Troubleshooting issues… If you find that your plant has completely stopped growing and hasn't snapped out of acclimation you’ll need to explore supplementing the environment to best suit them. One of the main issues you may encounter is root rot. Shaded or low light spaces tend to be cooler which as I mentioned reduces the amount of water a plant needs. Less evaporation and slowed growth means less water is needed. Some plant parents water their plants on a schedule which is less than ideal. When watering you must consider the growing conditions and the medium used. A free draining soil will be more likely to dry up than a heavy compost mix. Water each plant based on what they need rather than when you need to water. It’s always best to underwater than to overwater as the latter can be fatal. When in the growing season (spring/summer) ensure your shaded plant has the appropriate amount of food and sun. If you wish to move it to a brighter spot to supplement it, you’ll need to harden it slowly to ensure the sun doesn’t damage their leaves.
Gardening whether indoors or out is not a one-size fits all. Find your groove, craft your aesthetic and experiment with your plants. They are far more resilient than we think and the results may surprise you. Go forth and grow!