how do shade plants feed?

Sunlight is indispensable for plants to achieve photosynthesis, the process that is capable of converting this light energy and transforming it to synthesise its own food. But what about shade plants? don't they carry out this process?

If you are wondering how shade plants feed, then read on because we will explain the differences between the way plants feed according to their light requirements.

Scyophilic vs. Heliophilous Plants

Virtually all plants (with the exception of some parasites) require photosynthesis, but the difference in the amount of light they require to reach saturation and complete the process lies in the way the species have adapted to the environment in which they have developed.

These plants have acquired different characteristics in order to take advantage of the resources they can obtain in the habitat in which they have grown, be they abundant or scarce. This has resulted in two types of plants: scyophilous and heliophilous.

Scyophilic plants are those that can and prefer to live in low light areas, what we know as shaded houseplants. Heliophilous plants are those that require a large amount of light for photosynthesis. Scyophilic plants come from places where there is partial blockage of sunlight, such as forests and jungles, which is why they are well adapted to living indoors. Shade plants have developed mechanisms to be able to take advantage of the little sunlight that can sneak through the canopy, maximising the resources obtained to grow and develop.

Photosynthesis in shade plants

Shade plants feed by maximising the resources they obtain and they achieve this by developing certain characteristics. Firstly, they have adapted to make efficient use of the solar energy they are able to obtain. As far as photosynthesis is concerned, it is simple. Plants that are better adapted to shade are able to use the spectrum of the sun's far-red light more efficiently.

Indoor or shade-loving plants tend to have wider but thinner leaves. This allows them to have a greater amount of chlorophyll so that they can make maximum use of the sun's rays. You can easily see these changes in potos with green and yellow leaves. This plant adapts very well to light conditions, but if you put it in a rather dark place, the leaves that are born will be green, they will lose all the yellow pigment that they have in brighter conditions.

It is important to note that even a shade plant requires light to grow. Even if a fern, a sansevieria or a Peace Lily can cope in a rather shady place, it does not mean that you can put them in a windowless box and expect them to stay alive. All houseplants require light to live, even if their shade tolerance is high.

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About the author
Ame Rodríguez

Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.

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