Posted 1M ago by @Jesseaca

Light Requirements
I’m very confused and frustrated about light. I have an area that I’d like to place a live plant if possible. After using a light app, it said that spot is too dark. So I walked around checking for a better spot mostly to see what it needs. It didn’t say light was adequate until I was in the middle of my sunroom about 3’ from a window. The plant I was checking for is a dieffenbachia. I don’t have it yet. The one I was looking at has leaves of mostly white. I figured that might be a good one since it said partial shade to full shade. So are light tools just not that helpful or is the spot destined for faux foliage if I want a plant? The spot I desire for the plant to live is next to the desk. It would be on/in a stand for height.
Dieffenbachia are great for lower light spots. They like more than ZZ and snake, but they don't want to be touched by the sun. Plants with less green need more light because they produce less chlorophyll and therefore less energy.

I have the camo and I have had it both in a west window and 4' from a south window and it's been happy in both places.

Based on your attached photo I think it would be happy there!
I'd be a little suspicious of light apps honestly, the same way I haven't had luck with any plant ID apps other than Greg. I think developers try hard but sometimes with limited resources. Do you have an adjustable-strength grow light you can use as backup?
@Jesseaca I share your frustration, But I have some ideas for you. This is a problem every house plant Parent has dealt with since the Victorian era when health plant culture first started to thrive in the modern era. In the Victorian era they would tell you to hold your hand up and look at the shadow cast depending on how much of a silhouette cast To ascertain light levels. This was an ambiguous process. There is a plant influencer,Daryl Cheng, whom I have a lot of respect for who is an engineer and used his skill set to break down exactly what bright indirect light means. He uses a Light Meter to show you how to measure footcandles and what not for the purposes of getting a precise answer. One thing about the light apps on your phone or that they don’t necessarily have the right to sensor or access to the sensor. Instead they use algorithms to bridge the gap between an imperfect sensor that they have access to. As I understand it real Light Meter is not available for use visa visa an app on a smart phone yet. Below I’m sending you a link if you want to read more into this I highly recommend his book the new plant parent. In my opinion Daryl has finally revolutionized house plant culture from the standards sit in the Victorian era. Moreover I have And even easier solution for you. Built under the hood of Greg is actually a very sophisticated process that I wish they Would talk more because I don’t feel like people even though it’s there, but what they have done is they have translated as retaining light requirements into a more intuitive format. You will notice in the care for a Dieffenbachia it directs when to situate the plant within 6 feet of the south facing window. This will give you the light that you need whether measured and footcandles or shadows and it seems simple but there’s a lot of work that went into ascertaining these directions. On another note I appreciate your thought’s important to realize that assessing the site conditions is the first step because you want to buy a suitable plant. Using a Light Meter app is only going to frustrate you so can you tell us what orientation is the exposure and is there a direct line to the sun in that if a plant had eyes and it looked up what is your son or what is he leaves or is there a structure like a building blocking the view? I’m happy to recommend suitable choices if you want to tell me more about it otherwise I think if you look at the post them about to give you you’ll be sey
@PlantMompy that’s great help! This spot would have less light than my snakes and ZZs. I might need to reconsider. And I was totally wrong about the leaves! I thought white meant needs less light! I was so wrong!
Maybe put the diff where your ZZ is and your ZZ where you want your diff?!

Also, I thought the same thing! I figured if it didn't have green it didn't need it. Oops 😂
@SuperiorCatpalm thanks for the input! I do not have any grow lights. The apps are probably more gimmick than actual true help. Totally get that. 🙃
@PlantMompy I didn’t even buy the plant yet! I’m just dreaming of more plants! But that spot needs something. And I like plants. 😆😁
@TexanExpat this is so much helpful information that will guide me with all of my plants. I really appreciate the time you took to share your knowledge and experience with me. This spot is in a room with north-facing window. It would be between the wall and desk. So no direct light. The outside of that room is considered full shade for my summer plant selection. If there’s a low-light plant that might survive this area, I’d love to search for it.
I think a diff is a good choice. Pothos are forgiving when it comes to low light, too. I've had luck with my solid green elastica in low light (but don't tell anyone 😂).
@PlantMompy hahaha isn’t that the truth? Kinda like how some plants you can’t kill and others you can’t keep alive. There’s something different in the air of each happy home 😂 I think I’ll give it a shot. Worst case, I move it and get big eye rolls from the hubby cuz we don’t have room for more plants. But that space does 😉
I hear you! With toddlers I have had to get very creative to get new plants 😂
@Jesseaca you’re very welcome. You know where to find me if you have any questions :). I have some ideas for you. That link takes you to Daryl Cheng’s blog wherein he has a list of plants and light requirements. If you toggle the “minimum foot candle for good growth, you will see a list of plants that can thrive at 200FC, which is the lower level of light for plants. There are several listed. If it’s by your desk, perhaps something with clean lines like a sanseveria would be a good match. I try to keep clutter away from my work area and a plant that isn’t drop things or crowd into my workspace is ideal. If you put it in a midcentury planter it can be both practical and make an elegant statement. Attached is one of my snake plants. These are great because they release oxygen into the air at night time (most plants do not at night time ) and filter the air very well. I’ve read studies that merely having a plant in your desk area increased productive and creativity by 15%. (Im not sure how they quantify this but there are many studies in the area of biophyllic design that evaluate our relationship with plants). Another good option is a ZZ plant, my raven (pictured). Cast-iron plants are a Victorian-era classic —many well to do families had these in their homes and survived even the noxious fumes from their furnaces and stuff (tough as a cast iron skillet). All of these can add a vertical element. These can be long term plants that can live for many years. I do like Chinese evergreen, but they are not a friend forever in the same way. In Daryl’s book, he uses a golden pothos as a teaching instrument. Consider putting one these guys there. If it gets enough light, it will have a bounce to it. Without the light, if you move it to different areas, you’ll see a difference. If it gets a lot of golden variegation, you know is a spot that gets plenty of light for some more light demanding plants. Hope this helps !
@TexanExpat so much great information! Thank you!!! I do agree with the clean lines and have a real love for super tall snake plants. My hubs is the one typically working from home a couple days a week and could use the extra calm and creativity. I already have a snake on the desk. But twist my arm to get another… I will have to ask my local nursery if they have those cast iron plants. I like the idea of having one of those regardless. Thanks again! You’re so very helpful!
@Jesseaca I’m so glad you found all this helpful. I think snake plants are so underrated. I have two flanking the front door as they make great fung shui. As a kind of homework, check out the selection of aspidistra (cast-iron plants) at plants delight nursery online before you talk to your nursery so you can get an idea of the types of aspidistra. I love PDN’s website because it is so informative. Nursery’s often sell these plants as shade garden fare as they are so hardy. They even withstand the south Texas heat here.