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Growing Plants Indoors

a Philodendron plant in a yellow pot on a white table. Behind it is a bowl of fruit, a canister, and what appears to be a box of chocolate.

Having trouble keeping your indoor plants alive? You may not have the right type of plant that is suitable for indoor life.

Wrong Conditions

If you don't have much light in your home or office, the best kind of plant is one that comes from a habitat where there isn't much sunlight, and where temperatures are high and pretty constant throughout the year.

Many tropical vines, like the philodendron, have to make do with little light until they reach the top of the forest canopy. That's why many indoor plants are tropical.

They survive by a molecule called chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color. Chlorophyll in a leaf is bundled in different kinds of proteins, one of which is a light harvesting complex.

Adaptation

When there's low light, the plant's leaves contain more of this complex. When there's more light, they produce less. That way, each leaf adapts to the light intensity that's available to it.

Some plants have a harder time adapting than others. Sunflowers, which you might assumed based upon their name, have a hard time making the transition.

When you bring a plant into your office, you have to give it time to adapt to the new light levels by making the transition gradual. This ability to adapt to different degrees of light varies from species to species.

Read More:

Hind, Geoffrey, "How can philodendron plants live with only halogen lighting?" Ask the Experts, Scientific American. Accessed January 12, 2017.

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