Window direction vs. distance: sunlight for indoor plants
I'm trying to provide my houseplants with as much natural light as possible inside my non-ideal, 2nd floor apartment.
I basically have 2 options:
1. A north-facing bay window where I can place the plants right at the window
2. An east-facing window that gets more direct sun, but the plants would need to be farther away from the window (3-6ft)
Obviously a host of factors come into play here (objects outside window, wall color, type of plant, season) but in general I'm wondering which location will offer more/better light to my plants.
So far I've kept the plants in the north-facing bay window, and did have growth and health in the summer months. Now that winter is coming I'm considering moving them to the east-facing window to get more sun, but worried that the greater distance from the window required will mean there's no real benefit.
Anyone have anecdotal evidence? Or knowledge of physics and plant biology? All advice appreciated!
(the plants in question, should this be relevant, are 2 crotons, a ficus lyrata, 2 arabian jasmines, and 2 small boxwood (buxus micro) shrubs.)