Houseplants forum: Need some advice on lighting conditions for my houseplants please!

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novicegardener1
Aug 31, 2017 8:31 AM CST
Hi,

I just wanted to know if anyone can help me out with my houseplants, and give me an opinion on whether the current conditions they are in are reasonable enough for their survival.

The three succulents (on top of the shelf) are (from left to right):

-Anacampseros sunrise
-Pachypodium lamerei
-Portulacaria afra

And the bigger plant in the corner is:

-Ficus microcarpa moclame

All of the plants basically get a long day of indirect, but fairly bright sunlight (as you can see from the pictures). However, no direct sunlight.

The other conditions are low humidity and warm, sunny weather (consistently around 30 degrees celsius outside - summer in Spain).

Is a lot of indirect light enough for these plants to survive, or will they be needing more light than this?

Thanks for the help
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Aug 31, 2017 12:24 PM CST
First, where do you live? I sometimes laugh when people say they think they have enough sunlight indoors. Hardly ever the case. Both your pix tell me you will need some artificial lights. Gene

novicegardener1
Aug 31, 2017 1:56 PM CST
I'm in Spain. If succulents are getting good, but indirect light, will they straight up die, or just won't thrive much? Cheers
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Aug 31, 2017 4:58 PM CST
Either or. Be nice to your plants. Give them too much light, help them thrive and bloom. Gene
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents Annuals
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Hamwild
Aug 31, 2017 5:50 PM CST
Being succulents, they will need as much light as you can give them, so in the windowsill would be best. They won't thrive too far away and they'll likey etoliate (stretch out and look funny) and may slowly die. I'm not sure what the tree-like plant is to advise you on what lighting it needs.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Aug 31, 2017 8:50 PM CST
Hours of sun through a window, ideally a southern exposure during winter. Like right by your sunniest window. Or grow lights. The Pachypodium does not do much growing in winter so it won't stretch a lot then, but the P. afra grows year round (when conditions are good) and the thing to watch as a sign of low light is when the internodes (distance between successive leaves along the stem) increase.

The plants can be ranked in order of difficulty in low light (easy to hard) P afra, Anacampseros, Pachypodium.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Aug 31, 2017 11:23 PM (+)]
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novicegardener1
Sep 1, 2017 1:45 AM CST
Ok thanks for all the responses. Can anyone recommend any houseplants, around the same size as the succulents, that actually thrive inside (with no direct sunlight). Ideally, ones which look a little interesting?
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Sep 1, 2017 4:29 AM CST
https://www.gardenista.com/pos...


Many, many other lists like this at Google. Gene
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Sep 2, 2017 2:22 PM CST
The best tried and true smaller plants that do well in low light (which is what you have there) are Pothos, ZZ Plant, Chineses Evergreen, Parlor Palm, and Peace Lily.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Sep 2, 2017 2:54 PM CST
Sansevieria. Cast Iron.

novicegardener1
Sep 4, 2017 9:40 AM CST
So the routine I've been following with the succulents is: each morning I move them outside where they get direct sunlight for about 4-5 hours each day. The conditions outside are consistently dry and hot (summer, 30 degrees Celsius). Then I'll bring them back in for the rest of the day where they sit near the windowsill in indirect light. I'll water them about once per week, giving them a good soak. HOWEVER, they have been losing a lot of leaves or showing other signs of withering (when I bought them from the store, they were flawless). I've attached a photo of each.

- The pachypodium has been seemingly faring the worst. It's lost about 15-20 leaves from top and bottom since I bought it. The ends of the leaves get dry and brown, progressing along the leaf until it falls off. Some of the leaves also have a slightly warped/wrinkly appearance.
- The portulacaria (as above).
- The leaves on sunrise are seemingly fine, however all of the flower stems have drooped and/or gone completely dry and fallen off.

Is anyone able to identify what the causative factor/s is for these problems? I think it's safe to assume the pots and potting mix are fine, because they were bought in a specialty succulent store in perfect condition.

Cheers!
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
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Baja_Costero
Sep 4, 2017 9:47 AM CST
Too much sun. When you move indoor plants outside, you typically have to protect them for a while until they build up resistance to the sun. That means bright shade for a couple weeks before you even consider direct midday sun. I typically go for a stepwise gradual accommodation to sun over the course of weeks before I give any plants that kind of exposure. At your current temperatures (30C) it's even more important to do this. Plants you might buy at a nursery are most likely coming directly out from under shade cloth so they will need a similar adjustment.

Indoor sun and outdoor sun differ little in terms of total intensity (10-15% of the visible range) but indoor sun is much kinder to plants because regular window glass blocks much of the harmful UV range. Functionally, in terms of the well being of your plants, they are not interchangeable.

Your P. afra is variegated (white leaf margins) not the normal all-green form and that makes it even more sensitive to direct sun.

The Pachypodium is deciduous and will drop its leaves year round as new ones grow to replace them. It has a very striking seasonal growth pattern, which you will observe when it slows down in the late fall for its winter sleepy time. The plant may go totally bald then. No great cause for alarm.

In any case that plant is different from your typical succulent. It likes lots of water in summer but does not enjoy nearly as much in winter. As a general rule you might water that plant half as often (or less) when it is leafless or nearly so, to respect its annual cycle and avoid rot problems.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 4, 2017 9:59 AM (+)]
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novicegardener1
Sep 4, 2017 10:40 AM CST
Thanks for the response. The leaves going brown and dropping actually started to happen before I began putting them outside though (they were in indirect sunlight, inside all day). I thought maybe giving them more sun would abate the problem, however it's continued. How do you think they would fare simply being in very bright indirect sunlight all day (outside)?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Sep 4, 2017 11:06 AM CST
That should be good and you can add some sun over time. Morning sun is the kindest, because it is lower intensity than midday sun and takes place during the coolest part of the day. The most important thing is overhead protection (like eaves or a porch) to block the harsh midday sun, while the plant is accommodating.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 4, 2017 11:50 AM (+)]
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Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Sep 6, 2017 9:19 AM CST
Yes Baja is right here! I killed some succulents in similar weather to your Spanish sun here in Los Angeles. Hot and dry and the sun is just too much for direct contact with my succulents. Moving them to shade outside with a little morning sun will definitely be a good bet.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Sep 8, 2017 3:03 PM CST
How long have you had these plants? If it's been more than a few weeks, I would say they are adjusted to the exposure and are just needing moisture more often, &/or bigger pots.

Google says 30°C is about 86°F, which is "starting to warm up" where I am. For the hottest months, it's about 95°F here every day. Of the variety of succulent plants that I have, I have put most of them in the ground for summer vacations and they love the heat, and baking in the sun all day. An individual of the same exact species in a pot directly adjacent to the ground plant can need a drink daily, while the ground plant never needs anything more than whatever rain falls, (generally, but not including when it did not rain for 3 months last summer.) Whenever a pot bakes in the direct sun, it becomes warm, even hot. The baking effect could cause it to become dry daily, depending on its' size, color, soil type/texture, the size of the plant that lives in it, wind movement, humidity levels, etc... Any of these types of plants seem to lose older leaves prematurely if they spend extended periods with literally no moisture in the soil.


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