Variation in red/far red leaf and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) absorption by an individual leaf of various ornamental hanging basket species was measured. Red/far red ratios varied from 0.30 to 0.83 for Syngonium podophyllum Schott. and Chlorophytum comosum Thunb. `vittatum', respectively. Reduction in PAR varied from 86% to 61% for those same species, respectively. Estimated state of phytochrome photoequilibria for understory crops when grown under each species was calculated. Cucumis sativus L. seedling hypocotyl elongation was measured under different species to validate hypothesized differences in stem elongation associated with differences in red/far red filtering through individual leaves. Implications with respect to light quality effects on stem elongation and dry weight accumulation of plants grown under different species are discussed.