How Much Light Do Potted Plants Need to Grow?


Gardeners who grow a variety of potted plants learn how to provide the proper care and maintenance needed by plants growing in containers. This includes lighting requirements and varies depending on the type of plant and its location.


Plants vary by type, having either low, medium or high light requirements. Low-light plants need just 10 watts of fluorescent light per square foot of growing area, while medium-light plants require at least 15 watts. High-light plants need at least 20 watts of light per square foot of growing space and grow much better with even more intense light levels.


Outdoor potted plants such as root and leaf vegetables, along with several partial shade plants such as hostas and ferns, perform well in shady areas with only partial sun. Most other vegetables require at least five hours of sunlight per day and perform best when they receive eight to 10 hours of direct light daily.

Increasing Light

Place indoor potted plants close to windows to reduce total daily light requirements to about 12 to 14 hours, according to University of Missouri Extension. Put outdoor containers in vertical planters or use reflectors made of aluminum or painted white to increase light levels.


  • University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Plants
  • University of Arizona: Container Garden

Who Can Help

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Care of Specialty Potted Plants
Keywords: plants light requirements, indoor plants light, potted plants light

About this Author

Thomas Urbauer has been writing professionally since 2005. He writes for eHow and eHow Home and Garden. His areas of expertise include gardening, business and electronics. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications.

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