by Truman Perkins
Interview most houseplant lovers and strictly advise you that if you want to maintain your beloved succulents or other flowers/plants in the best growing conditions, you must understand the critical differences between Direct Vs. Indirect Sunlight.
The two types of light are different and will affect the performance of your plants/flowers. For instance, direct sunlight can, in some cases, be too harsh for a plant’s tender leaves, but it offers enough light energy for photosynthesis. On the other hand, indirect sunlight does not burn your plants’ tender leaves, and it also provides sufficient light energy for photosynthesis.
Although direct and indirect sunlight differs in many ways, each has its benefits as far as planting is concerned.
To understand this better, let’s dig deeper and get to define the two types of sunlight.
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In simpler terms, direct sunlight (also called bright light) refers to uninterrupted lights from the sun directly to the plants or the earth’s surface. The light reaches down to the characters without any blocks or reflections. It can be very intense, so you will need to be cautious when growing your plant, as they can suffer significantly if exposed for prolonged hours.
For the best results when growing plants using direct sunlight, experts advise you to control its intensity. You can achieve this with the help of thin window coverings.
On the other hand, indirect sunlight refers to sunlight that reaches the plants or the earth’s surface after being “scattered” or “dispersed” by other characters into the atmosphere. The light reaches the plants as a reflection, and its intensity is a bit low compared to that of direct sunlight.
In planting, indirect sunlight refers to sunlight that reaches your plants through mediums. Such medium can range from a narrow window, tree leaves, or anything else.
If you are planter growing indoor plants and need indirect sunlight, set your window to face the East. That way, you will receive indirect sunlight throughout the year.
Note that you can set your window to face the west, but the setting will give you indirect sunlight in the mornings and evenings only.
Sometimes it can be a bit challenging to tell the difference between the above two types of sunlight. Some people don’t know how to determine the type of sunlight their plants receive, which can be dangerous to their plants’ growth. In case you are one of such individuals, let’s help you.
The best way to determine the type of lighting you is through the “12’ O’clock Test”. To achieve this, simply:
To determine the best type of sunlight for your plants, you have to compare the benefits they offer. That way, you will know what will suit the optimal growth of your plants.
One of the things direct sunlight does to plants is that it offers the entire light spectrum to absorb most helpful (the most beneficial range is red and blue).
Yet another benefit of direct sunlight is that it accelerates the speed of the photosynthesis process. This holds considering that the light of high intensity – and the higher the intensity, the faster the photosynthesis process and plant growth.
Although direct sunlight offers high-intensity light suitable for plants’ photosynthesis, too much of it will harm the plant foliage. Prolonged exposure will burn your plant leaves and affecting the optimal growth of plants.
Respiration refers to how plants use sugar produced amid photosynthesis and oxygen to offer energy needed for optimum growth.
Since direct sunlight speeds up photosynthesis, it slows down respiration rate, and this can cause the plant to starve.
Compared to direct sunlight, indirect sunlight has a much lower intensity that’s still good for photosynthesis. It creates a balance between photosynthesis and respiration, thus ensuring your plants have optimal conditions for growth.
You will like it that indirect sunlight does not burn plant leaves as direct sunlight does. You can therefore leave your plants exposed for prolonged hours and do not worry.
Unlike direct sunlight that offers a full spectrum so that plants can absorb what good for them, indirect sunlight is somewhat “filtered.” It lacks some light spectrums, which some plants most need – and hence it’s not suitable for all plant types.
To get a clear difference between these two types of sunlight, let tabulate them
|Sunlight Properties||Direct sunlight||Indirect Sunlight|
|Spectrum||Full light spectrum||Lacks full spectrum|
|Effects on Plants||Can damage plants if exposed for prolonged hours||It does not destroy the well-being of your plants|
|Effects on Photosynthesis and Respiration||Speed up photosynthesis but delays respiration||Creates a balance between photosynthesis and respiration|
As you can learn from this post, plants will do well if you expose them to the light that suits them the most. Some will do well when exposed to direct sunlight for several hours daily, while others will flourish when exposed to indirect sunlight.
You should therefore conduct some research before deciding what type of sunlight you need!
About Truman Perkins
Truman Perkins has worked as the SEO consultant for over a decade; there he's helped so many startups and friends' sites get off the ground. Believing gardening is a natural stress reliever, Truman indulges in learning and writing about gardening in his free time. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their twins in Detroit, Michigan.