Basic Care of Houseplants

by Carter Westerhold

We call it "Basic Care" but at times it can feel anything but basic. The goal of this page is to help give you some ideas of what we mean when talking about light, water and other nuances when caring for plants.


To try and make things as easy as possible, we categorize house light into three intensities: High, Medium, and Low. Light intensity will depend on which direction your window faces and how far away the plant is from said window.

  • High Light:
    • North - 0'
    • South - 1-5'
    • East - 1-3'
    • West - 1-5'
  • Medium Light:
    • North - 1-3'
    • South - 3-10'
    • East - 1-3'
    • West - 2-5'
  • Low Light:
    • North - 3-5'
    • South - 15-20'
    • East - 2-7'
    • West - 5-10'
Windows: South-facing windows receive intense sunlight, most of the day. Western windows recieve intense sunlight, but only a portion of the day. In contrast, east-facing windows receive less intense light for a portion of the day. And north-facing windows receive the least intense light. Many plants can still grow in north facing windows, they just need to be very close to the window.


    In our Basic Care sections, we give a general idea about how often you will need to water your plant. Light intensity, humidity, and the season will impact the frequency you water greatly.

    Light: Depending on the plant, some plants will require more water with the more sunlight the receive. Succulents would be the big exception to the rule!

    Humidity: The amount of water in the air varies from home to home. Houses with dry air will need to water plants a little more frequently than humid homes.

    Season: Winter, in Northern states at least, means less sunlight. This lack of sunlight will greatly reduce the amount of water the plant demands.

    With all these in consideration, many plants will let you know when they are getting too much or too little water.

    Too little water: Wilting, and brown tips of plants indicate under-watering.

    Too much water: Wilting (again, I know that sounds confusing) and yellowing of leaves. Succulents may turn brown and mushy (for lack of a better word).


    What do you think? Did we actually help you or did we make things worse? Maybe we forgot to mention something. Let us know!

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