Expressions Unlimited

Expressions Unlimited

Posted by Staci Bryant on July 24, 2020 | Last Updated: July 28, 2020 Flowers

How to Tell If Your Houseplant Needs More Sunlight

Your houseplant may seem fine and you’ve finally worked out the right watering schedule, but upon closer look, there could be subtle signs your plant is giving you to let you know it’s not getting enough light. Sunlight is food for plants, and if the light is too weak or too dim, then the plant will not flourish like it could. Here at Greenville’s top florist, Expressions Unlimited,  we’ve assembled a simple guide for you to consult to make sure your plant is getting plenty of light and what to do if it’s not. Surprisingly, moving your plant as close to a bright window as possible may not be the best solution.

Tell-Tale Symptoms Your Plant Needs More Sunlight



Long, skinny stems are referred to as being “leggy” and is a sure sign your plant is lacking enough light. Plants should be full and lush looking, but in its fight for survival, they will stretch and reach to obtain plenty of light. Leggy stems also have a lot of space between adjacent leaves. This space is called the internodal space and is small in healthy plants. Large internodal spaces are signs of a light-starved plant.

Leggy Plant


Small Leaves

Lack of light means a plant isn’t getting enough energy to grow its leaves to their proper size. In order to conserve what little energy it is getting, a plant will grow smaller leaves. Compare new growth to older growth to determine if there is a stark contrast in size.



A lopsided or leaning plant is a sure sign that the entire plant is not getting adequate sunlight. Plants will grow and stretch to received adequate light which could result in a 1-sided plant. To avoid, give your plant a quarter turn every time you water it to ensure the entire plant is getting good lighting.

Leaning Houseplant


Abnormal Leaf Color

Pale green or yellow leaves that begin to drop off are symptoms of poor lighting. Without proper lighting, chlorophyll, which gives a leaf its green color, can’t carry out the photosynthesis process which keeps leaves green and healthy. Also, if your plant has variegated coloring, in an effort to absorb as much light as possible, the colored leaves will revert to all green.


Slowed Growth

During the spring and summer plants should show a significant amount of growth. If yours does not, then it could signal inadequate lighting. No new growth of stunted growth are signs that a plant is not receiving enough energy from light to grow lush and big.


Getting the Light Right


Healthy Plants

As it is possible for a plant to receive too much light also, resulting in scorched tips or “burnt” patches on the leaves, getting the lighting right for a plant may be tricky. Only sun-worshipping plants should be in direct lighting for 6 or more hours a day. These would be cacti, succulents, and palm plants. Otherwise, indirect bright light works best for most other plants. Just realize that every foot away from a window that a plant is moved to is exponentially decreased light for the plant. You may not see it, but the plant will.

Try out different sunny places in your home and if you’re unable to move your plant to a better lit spot, then get a grow light, which will allow you to place your plant anywhere. Grow lights will ensure your plant gets enough light to remain healthy and happy.