What "Bright Indirect Light" really means: using a Light Meter | House Plant Journal

The Light Meter used in this video:

It’s time to stop fooling around with light – your plant’s life depends on it: buying a light meter will save you money in the long run – fewer plant deaths and you’ll avoid buying plants beyond your KNOWN indirect light levels – “high, medium, low” just doesn’t cut it!

My book on houseplant care ‘The New Plant Parent’, which contains a lot of info on how to assess and understand light in an indoor environment well beyond the generic ways of explaining light by window directions:


  1. Dionysus Peanut on March 1, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    I just had to install some led grow lights and I’m sure i bought the wrong ones but its ok. Ill still work with them. My apartment only gets 3 hours of evening sun and its not very powerful sun. I did put a green house in my apartment and the Hoyas, Begonias and orchids love it. Oh i live in USA btw and in Maryland we have all four seasons.

  2. Eloise Choi on March 1, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH. I bought your book and I am going to read it soon but just watching this video was an amazing eyeopener and your analogy for foot candles to food dollars is just a… I cannot describe enough how enlightening this is! Thank you again.

  3. Dionysus Peanut on March 1, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I stumbled on your channel 2 days ago. I freaking love you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

  4. 조이스라이트 on March 1, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Very intelligent and brilliant in explaining and contrasting 👏

  5. ZerglilngVet on March 1, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    so keep it down on the floor no"?

  6. I am Marilyn on March 1, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    thanks, so useful video.

  7. Gaye Nidea on March 1, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    We’re living in a condo with limited space and don’t have much of a “sky view” from the window. Would a grow light works?

  8. Mark Aquilina on March 1, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    So simple yet useful advise. Well done.

  9. Roslind on March 1, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    I followed the view of the sky logic and my plants are so happy. Such a helpful video!

  10. Darrick Del Moral on March 1, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    This channel is good. Finally feel understood.

  11. Barbara Smith on March 1, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Great content.

  12. Sarah A on March 1, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Learned a lot!! Thank you

  13. Efren Casanovas on March 1, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    I am really enjoying your book and it lead me to find this video. Thank you so much for this type of content. I am trying to find content that is more scientific and I found yours. My question is the following: is there a place to find the amount of light each plant needs in foot candles? I am concern about giving to much light to some expensive plants, but I would also like to try to place them closer to the window and see if they perform better. Ex: philodendron gloriosum

  14. L Wasser on March 1, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    this is super helpful. Question. i’m considering 2 rooms for a monstera deliciousa. Room one: west facing, upstairs with a large sliding glass door. It gets direct sun in the afternoon at an angle given a small covered porch. The direct sun coming into the room makes the room look bright in the afternoon. When i measure with your android light sensor app the light is only bright (over 1000 FC) when there is 1. direct sunlight OR 2. right by the window. The corner across from the window that looks bright actually is like 30-50FC during the day. On the other hand i have room 2 with a north facing upstairs window. it never really gets direct sun which means plants wont get burnt. BUT the room LOOKS darker. When i measured it throughout the day i get 200- ~400FC from that window which seems good. Does this mean that my monstera may actually be happier in the darker looking room right by the window where it gets 200-300FC all day vs the bright west facing room where it would either get direct sun or on a wall with 30-50FC? i was wondering if my light meter was wrong. it’s not intuitive that the darker room could be a better fit. Am i understanding this correctly?

  15. PYRENEA64 on March 1, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you so much!!! it’s the first time I hear someone explaining so clearly what bright light means and the demonstration is perfect. It’s very usefull.

  16. Carl L on March 1, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Plant light meter. Good for plant growth. http://www.lifees.com

  17. Bradley Nash on March 1, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Very helpful! Now I am curious, when someone says a plant will burn if it is kept in direct sunlight is that because it is too bright (too many foot-candles), or because of the heat, or some combination? If I measure the direct light to be under a certain amount of foot-candles, will a "bright direct light intolerant" plant be able to handle it?

  18. dina octavina on March 1, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Some says that ‘if you could read a book with that kind of light, then it’ll do with your plants too’ NO ONE explained it like you did. Thank you. As a new plants mama; this helped me SO MUCH…

  19. Women Are Water on March 1, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Most helpful video Ever!! Frfr! You have no idea how many plants I’ve damaged trying to figure out “bright indirect light!” 🤦🏽‍♀️ thank you!

  20. Frances Silva on March 1, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    THank you ! Best lighting video I’ve seen 🙂

  21. Niki Fix on March 1, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    thank you! i understand now!

  22. Mary Sruthi Vijayakumar on March 1, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Best 8 mins I spent on a plant care video ever. Thank-you!

  23. Fiona Foster on March 1, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    I can definitely survive on $20 (or £ sterling in my case) on food a week lol

  24. Brandon Layne on March 1, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    how much light would be needed for Pachira Aquatica and how do you care for plants in the winter?

  25. ron khan on March 1, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    You are really smart sir

  26. X on March 1, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    Me buying $50 food groceries per week: 👁👄👁

  27. Pooja Sai Muddana on March 1, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    Such a crisp and clear way to explain lighting! Thank you so much 😊

  28. Liddy B on March 1, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    I’m happy i found this video. Learned a lot plant’s need for light to grow.

  29. Klayhamn on March 1, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    this was a revolutionary video for me — it made me re-evaluate all my plant positioning and try to make the most of my space close to my window.
    I have a huge window in my living room but because of a big tree outside – it really narrows the vertical "angle" that the light is coming in – illuminating only a short distance from the window.

    However, that space was unused by me.

    I tried to place plants well within the living room and supplement them with artificial light with limited success.

    After I saw your video i decided to utilize all my window space and the little natural light that i DO get – and bought a bench and moved some books and other decorations to make room for plants right by the windows.

    While it is not the "ideal location" in terms of how i would decorate my apartment if i had complete liberty — it is much better for the plants themselves and allows them to thrive instead of barely surviving under forced agendas…

    Thank you so much <3

  30. Shahinur Rahman on March 1, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    Hello, I need help with my orchid. My orchid is 4 years old, and it only bloomed once 3 years ago.

  31. 54ima on March 1, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you. It was useful, especially the plants view.

  32. Tanya Villegas on March 1, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Best video on light for my plants thank u!

  33. Jacqueline O'Hara on March 1, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    what a fabulous easy to understand video thank you so much

  34. coolajoe on March 1, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    I have a large upward facing glass which is laminated with a matte sticker.
    Does this counts as an indirect light?
    Sometimes I can feel the rays when standing underneath it. (Between the glass and floor is about 7meters apart.)

  35. Ronald V on March 1, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    What brand of the light meter ? Tks.

  36. heathengypsy on March 1, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you for explaining things the way you do.

  37. Lee Ting Chin on March 1, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    So does it mean that low and medium light loving plants can thrive in bright indirect light? Is there such a thing as too much indirect light?

  38. Last Cast Production on March 1, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Finally someone who understands plant basics👍🏼👍🏼! People just buys plants not even knowing where their natural habitat are! This is the best explanation ive seen on youtube about light and plants!

  39. Akerra Nicholson on March 1, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Gahhhhhh!!! I am so happy i found your channel!! I recently brought in my wondering jew for the fall/winter months and it did so well outside this summer. Its probably 2×2 ft. (In rectangle deck rail flower pot). But i am also curious how much light for my bonsai (which ive managed to do well) & I have been wondering where to put my bamboo plants. Those i have trouble with.
    So I will be watching a lot of your videos!! I love how you break it down with math etc

  40. A A on March 1, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    thanks, heaps for the videos. How come on my new light meter my FC always show up in /10?

  41. Giuseppe Pervetto on March 1, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    Struggling to find information on artificial light and "Bright indirect light" for houseplants. I’m concerned that I’m giving too much light / wrong spectrum’s. 🙁

  42. Greg on March 1, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Why is jt called foot candles I keep laughing

  43. Getacho Fekada on March 1, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you man! Simple direct and makes so much sense!!!! These other guys man I tell ya 🤦🏿‍♂️

  44. tia jackson on March 1, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you! How much light is too much light? I think I sunburned my philodendron moonlight

  45. Patricia Katrina Baron on March 1, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    The dollar analogy is so helpful!

  46. P Woolard on March 1, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    Hand gesturing is so distracting. If you are (it seems you are) holding your camera at arms length, in essence you are one arms length from the viewer. When you start hand gesturing it is the equivalent of waving your hands in my face. One would never do that in a person to person (one arms length away) conversation. Excellent information, easy to understand concepts.

  47. Stacey Hancock on March 1, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Excellent video. I finally understand!

  48. LYSANDRA DY on March 1, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    This is so helpful! Especially when you used the fish eye! Everything makes sense! Thanks !

  49. Gold Dust Women on March 1, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    Just get a little plant stand and keep it where it likes to be lol

  50. d b on March 1, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    my north facing – 2 windowed – cave like apartment never gets any direct light nor can i see much of the sky, at all. i bought a light meter and there isnt anywhere in my apartment [close to a window] that gets over a "100-150" on the meter. 😭

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