How Much Light Is Needed For Your Growing Orchids? (5 urgent indoor care tips)

an orchid in a south facing window

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Orchids are a popular house plant because of their vibrant colors, exotic shapes, and elegant air. These plants can grow in many different light settings but thrive best when placed in an area with indirect sunlight or artificial light. If you have low-light conditions, your orchid may not flower as often or bloom as brightly as it would under brighter lighting.

What is the right amount of light for my indoor orchid?

The answer is actually quite simple! Just place your plant near a south-facing window and you will be sure to get the perfect level of natural light that they need!  This type of exposure will also provide warmth which can help them grow more quickly than if they were left without heat nearby.

How much light do indoor orchids need?

Orchid lighting needs vary from plant to plant, and even within a single species. Orchids can be grown under full sun, partial sun, filtered light, or shaded conditions. The amount of light required depends upon whether you want an upright growth habit with long stems or a more sprawling form with shorter stalks.

In general, most orchids prefer bright indirect light over direct sunlight. However, some varieties will tolerate lower levels of light than other types.

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There are many different opinions on how much sunlight orchid plants need in order to grow properly but one thing that everyone agrees on is the importance of getting enough natural daylight every day! Some people think that artificial light is the only way to go while others argue that natural sunlight isn’t enough.

Orchids need about 10-12 hours of direct or indirect daylight every day in order for photosynthesis (the process by which green plants convert CO² into oxygen) can happen so even though there may be days when this isn’t possible due to weather conditions or where you live, 10 hours is a minimum requirement.

They need to be able to photosynthesize in order for them to grow and thrive so it’s important they get some sunlight every day. 

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Can I grow orchid plants with just artificial lights?

Yes, you can grow orchids without natural light, but it’s not recommended.

Some people believe that grow lights are the only way to go because they feel that this gives them more flexibility in changing their lighting patterns.

orchid receiving the best light by the window (as explained in how much light do orchids need article)

They also point out how plants will suffer from desiccation (drying out) if exposed to high levels of heat and don’t have a protective waxy coating on their leaves which means they’ll eventually burn up and die off completely – especially if temperatures stay above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, there are others who think that some types of orchid plants may be able to tolerate low levels of natural daylight so long as they never experience anything under 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If your window doesn’t get any direct sunlight then you should consider growing orchids under lights.

But if there is a window nearby and you have some form of artificial lighting, orchids can still be grown indoors without a window so long as they’re given 10 hours of daylight every day.

Based on my experience, I have found this growing light to be the best artificial light for orchids.  

How much light do orchids need?

Where should I put my orchid in my house?

A lot of people wonder where the best place to put their orchid plant in order for it to receive enough light.

The answer is that you should try and keep your plants near a window (preferably a south-facing window)– even if they’re indoors because having natural sunlight can help them grow better! This type of exposure will provide warmth and natural light to the plant, which can help them grow more quickly.

Make sure that when choosing an indoor spot for planting you choose one without high levels of heat (above 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and make sure not to give them too much water either!

It’s important that there are plenty of indirect light sources and that everything is kept at a steady temperature. You don’t want to burn your plants or overwater them!

If there are no windows nearby then you should choose an area in the house where there’s natural light coming through at some point of the day, because this will give your plant enough photosynthesis on its own. A lot of people also use artificial lighting for this purpose as well which can be helpful if you’re trying to grow plants indoors without a window.

It’s best to keep your orchid at least 2 feet away from windows because although they don’t require direct sunlight, they still benefit from being exposed to some rays during the day. This helps prevent overheating and keeps their roots cool. Or use sheer curtains. They help lessen the damage of sun rays.

TIP: You should never place your orchid directly beneath any window either as this could cause damage to the delicate root system. Having some space in between the plants and windows will give it good air circulation.

Orchid light requirements:

Orchids can be found growing in many different environments, all with varying degrees of light exposure and humidity levels. The challenge for the home gardener is finding a balance between providing enough water without overwatering while also giving their plants sufficient light.

orchid outside receiving direct sunlight
Beautiful bouquet pink orchid flowe

So, just how much light do orchids need indoors? The amount of sunlight an orchid needs will vary depending on the species and its location in your home. Here are some general guidelines:

  • For a brightly lit room with few windows – no more than six to eight hours per day
  • For a brightly lit room with one or two windows – eight to twelve hours per day
  • For a brightly lit room with many windows- sixteen to twenty four hours per day

The more light the plant receives, the less frequent its watering needs will be. Orchids that have thrived for years in low light conditions should not suddenly receive no sunlight and require daily watering.

If you are unsure of the plant’s light exposure, try providing it with sixteen to twenty-four hours per day and see if its watering needs decrease. If not, then increase the amount of time the orchid is receiving natural sunlight until its water requirements have normalized.

Remember that an orchid in a brightly lit room will need to be watered less often than one in a room with very little light.

TIP: Orchids need the equivalent of ten hours per day and should not receive any more sunlight than that. If you provide an orchid with too much artificial lighting it may begin to show signs of stress, such as dropping leaves from its stem or looking wilted.

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Can I keep my orchids outside?

Truly, orchid lovers are blessed because they don’t have to make the difficult decision between growing their plants indoors or out! If your plant requires direct sun all day and it’s best for the plant to be outside (e.g., cattleya or cymbidium), make sure they are in a shady area that doesn’t get more than two hours of direct sun exposure per day and keep them well watered so that their leaves don’t dry out.

white orchids placed near a south-facing window

The first thing you need to consider is whether your orchid needs direct sunlight. If so, they need to be in a windowsill that gets northern exposure (facing away from the sun). The second consideration would be indirect sunlight versus full shade. With trees and other objects blocking the sun, indirect light will be better for orchids.

The most important thing is that you give your plant as much natural light as possible, whether it’s direct or indirect. Remember to keep them out of the sun for no more than two hours a day and you’ll be on your way towards successful growth!

Can orchids grow in shade?

Orchids, like all plants, need sunlight. They grow best in high light levels but can live in some shade conditions.

Orchids are a type of tropical plant and do not have the ability to tolerate frost or freezing temperatures so they cannot be grown outside during most winters even if you live in an area that does not experience extremely cold weather year-round.

Orchids need at least 10-12 hours of bright light each day even if they are grown in artificial lightings, such as fluorescent or LED lights. This enables them to produce more energy and grow faster. However, be wary that too much sun exposure can burn the leaves so you may want to provide some protection for your plant during the hottest hours of the day.

Orchids and other plants with large, broad leaves can survive in lower light levels but it may take longer for them to grow so they do not need as much space indoors or outdoors.

orchids placed in a clear pot by the window

A spot that is partially shaded from direct sunlight all day long will work just fine for a smaller plant like an orchid.

Orchids with narrow leaves, such as Phalaenopsis and Dendrobiums , are more sensitive to light levels. As a result, they need brighter indirect sunlight during the day for at least two hours in order to grow properly.

It is important to identify what type of plant you have before deciding how much light it needs.

What are some signs that an orchid is receiving too much light?

There are many ways to tell when an orchid is receiving excessive amounts of light:

1) Leaves curl upward due to overheating.

2) Brown patches appear on leaf surfaces.

3) Flowers turn yellowish/brownish.

4) Plants wilt easily.

5) Orchids start flowering early.

6) Flower buds begin to open prematurely.

7) New growth becomes stunted.

8) Plant starts producing fewer blooms.

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What are some signs that an orchid is receiving too little light?

Here are some things to look for when your plant is not getting enough light:

1) Leaves become curled downward because of lack of light.

2) Leaf tips die back.

3) Stems droop.

4) Buds remain closed.

5) No new growth appears.

6) Older leaves fall off.

7) Flowers stay closed.

8) Foliage turns green instead of staying white.

9) Growth slows down.

10) Plants stop producing any new growth.

The best way to know is by feeling the leaves. If they’re dry, then it needs more water or less light, whichever the case might be. If they are wet, then there is enough moisture in its environment already for now but you should still make sure your orchid gets plenty of water to avoid it drying out.

If you think your plant needs less light than what it’s currently getting, try moving to a shadier spot in the house for a while and see how things improve.

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What does it mean when my orchid has “leaves turning yellow”? 

Too much sun can dry out the plant, which can lead to leaves turning yellow.

It is best for orchids when they have indirect light from a south-facing window; however, if you don’t live in an area where there are frequent days of bright sunshine and your house has low sunlight levels during winter months, artificial lights will be necessary.

light pink healthy orchid placed by the south facing window

Just to be safe, you should also check for root rot, probably caused by overwatering, which can also lead to yellow leaves.

It’s also important not to forget your orchid during the winter months because cold temperatures combined with little sunlight will cause it stress.

How often do you water an orchid?

An orchid requires regular watering, but how often you water an orchid depends on the potting mix and light conditions. In general, it’s best to only water when the top of the media is dry. Soil should be allowed to dry out between watering events. If a plant is drooping in its pot then that means it is time to water.

However, a plant that is receiving low light or cooler temperatures can be watered less often than one placed in bright, warm conditions. It’s important to check the potting mix for signs of drying out before watering. If you notice any wilted foliage then it’s also a sign your plant needs more moisture.

pink healthy orchids

The best way to tell if a plant needs water is by its leaves. A healthy orchid will have dark green, glossy leaves that are plump and upright. If the veins of your plant’s foliage are not clearly visible then it could be due to low humidity or too much direct sunlight.

A drooping leaf means you need to water your orchid.

In general, if the potting mix is moist or wet then you don’t need to worry about watering as it will dry out on its own before needing a drink again. And it’s important that your orchid is in a pot that has drainage holes.

Related: 10 Minute Solution to Rehydrating your Wilted Houseplant

Is my orchid healthy?

Things to look out for when providing orchid care:

  • If you see your orchid drooping in its pot then it means it’s thirsty.
    • A healthy orchid will have dark green, glossy leaves that are plump and upright. If the veins of your plant’s foliage are not clearly visible then it could be due to low humidity or too much direct sunlight.
  • Do you regularly check for the signs of wilted leaves?
    • A drooping leaf means you need to water your orchid.
    • In general, if the potting mix is moist or wet then you don’t need to worry about watering as it will dry out on its own before needing a drink again.
  • Orchids are prone to root rot which can be caused by over watering. If the potting mix is too wet or soggy, then you need to let it dry out before adding more water.
  • If your plant has been in a warm spot for an extended period of time and begins drooping with brown leaves then this could be due to root rot which can happen when plants are overwatered.
  • Do you notice any wilted foliage? If so, then it’s time to water your orchid.
    • In general, if the potting mix is moist or wet then you don’t need to worry about watering as it will dry out on its own before needing a drink again.

Final thoughts on how much light do orchids need?

The first thing you will need to do is determine what type of light your orchid needs. There are many types, but we’ll get into that later.

Orchid placed in the living room near a window

Next, make sure the location where you plan on putting your orchid has plenty of natural light and a nearby window with lots of sunlight exposure throughout the day (or near an artificial plant lamp). If these conditions aren’t available, consider using energy-efficient fluorescent grow lights for at least 10-12 hours per day.

Remember to keep it as close to one foot away from any walls so air can circulate around them properly!

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