Houseplant – Adding Extra Light

Q: I have had a split leaf philodendron, named Priscilla, for over 12 years.

During the winter I keep it in a corner of my living room where it does not get very much light. In the winter many of the leaves turn brown and the stalks die off….. but then in the summer when it’s outdoors it bounces back and looks very healthy.

I don’t think it gets enough light inside. Do you recommend using some type of artificial light to simulate daylight?

A: It’s true that philodendron can survive in “low light” situations. But your Priscilla is telling you loud and clear that she’s not getting enough light for even a philodendron.

Since you are not planning on taking the plant outdoors again, you have to give it more light.

Buy a shiny aluminum “clamp light” at a hardware store. Screw in a fluorescent bulb equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent bulb (usually 20 – 25 watts). The light fixture must be placed as close to the plant leaves as possible! Fluorescent bulbs more that four feet away give almost no useable light to a plant. Warm white/daylight bulbs will give the plant more of the light spectrum they would find outdoors.


an example of a clamp light illuminating an orchid

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