Which Grow Lights to Buy for Your Indoor Plants

Which Grow Lights to Buy for Your Indoor Plants

Gardening
Interior Design
By Alex Mikayelyan December 01, 2021

If you or someone in your household is blessed with a green thumb, but not blessed enough to have the space in the backyard for a garden, then an indoor garden’s the next best thing. Growing plants indoors used to be somewhat difficult. While cheeky gardeners did find many workarounds, such as picking out specific plants to grow indoors or taking advantage of the natural light throughout their home, technology now allows us to do indoor gardening with the greatest of ease.

Grow lights offer an easier alternative and are a great workaround for people who want to get into horticulture, but lack the time, energy, or space for an outdoor garden. Outdoor gardens are very pleasant to have and you will find that there are many benefits to having them for both your mental and physical health. But they require a lot of hard work on your end and can be very hard to tend to.

This is why it is important to know about the different types of glow lights and what you need to look for when making your purchase or placing it at home. 

What Are Grow Lights

Why You Need Grow Lights

Why You Need Grow Lights

As you may have probably guessed, grow lights for indoor plants are light fixtures that are designed to shower your indoor plants with enough light to help them grow and stay healthy, even in little to no natural light environments. Since plant life sustains itself via photosynthesis by absorbing light particles to keep itself nourished, you need to provide them with plenty of light if you want to keep them alive and healthy.

Growing plants using any household lamp or light bulb is not always enough. Plants are used to a specific spectrum of light that can only be provided by the sun. Grow lights emulate the light spectrum that is provided by the sun, giving the plants everything they need to flourish indoors.

They come in various shapes, sizes, designs, and there are a variety of bulb types you can pick from that will maximize the growth of your indoor plants.

Types of Grow Light Bulbs

The grow light wouldn’t be a modern piece of technology if there weren’t variations of it. You can pick from a number of indoor grow lights that fit your horticulture needs. While there are a large variety of plant light bulbs out there for you to try out, three of them are the most widely utilized for indoor gardens.

LED

The High Customizability of LED Bulbs

The High Customizability of LED Bulbs

Can LED lights grow plants? Yes, of course, they can. In fact, LED glow lights are currently among the most popular bulbs for artificial plant lights. Indoor gardeners love working with them as they last a very long time, are quite reliable, are energy efficient, but produce plenty of light. This has its benefits beyond being an environmentally friendly addition to your home, as it means that you can leave the glowing light on for long periods of time without having to worry about consuming a lot of power. Many individuals who cultivate an indoor garden using glow lights have to set up timers and special mechanisms in their garden to save as much power as possible.

With LED light this is much easier to pull off. Not only are they energy efficient, but LED bulbs are also highly-customizable. With some of the best led grow lights you can control the color spectrum of the light and finetune the glow to fit the color spectrum that your plants require. All-in-all, LED grow lights for plants are a great option for gardeners who not only want to have a green thumb, but also a greener lifestyle in general. 

Fluorescent

Growing Plants With Practical and Affordable Fluorescent Bulbs

Growing Plants With Practical and Affordable Fluorescent Bulbs

If you’re growing a few potted plants and aren’t looking for anything that is too specialized or high-tech, standard fluorescent lights are a practical and very affordable light source. Many basic indoor gardens make good use of these bulbs as they are widely available, last a very long time, don’t consume much energy, and are also pretty cheap.

While you won’t be able to grow an indoor jungle using solely fluorescent bulbs, you can use them as a supplementary lighting source during rainy seasons or the winter months when the plants are getting less natural light. So, while they may not be incredibly potent and do not offer as much light to your plants as the other two options, they are still very practical and coupled with natural light, can help you grow a healthy indoor garden. 

HID Grow Lights

HID Lights for the More Intense Growing

HID Lights for the More Intense Growing

For the hardcore horticulture enthusiasts out there who are looking for the most potent source of light for their plants, there are the high-intensity discharge or HID glow lights. Now, while these lights are very potent and produce a ton of light, they can be a little overkill for some plants.

What makes HID lights more effective over other kinds of bulbs is that thanks to their brightness and luminosity, they allow for better canopy penetration. Many of the plants you grow indoors will grow vertically and the top portion of the plant is called the canopy. A problem that many indoor gardens have is that if the canopy of the plant is dense, it does not allow light to make its way to the lower portions of the plant, effectively blocking out its source of photosynthesis. This causes the canopy to be healthier and better nourished than the lower areas of the plant.

Since HID bulbs are brighter and more luminous, they can reach the lower areas of the plant by penetrating through the canopy above. So while HID are not as energy efficient as LED or fluorescent bulbs, they are the best grow lights for reaching those lower areas and giving your plant all the light it needs to stay healthy and strong from the bottom up.

Plants That Require Grow Lights

Which Plants Will Not Last Indoors Without a Grow Light

Which Plants Will Not Last Indoors Without a Grow Light

There are actually some plants out there that require little to no light, such as succulents. Since they are native to harsh desert biomes, they do not require much water or general care to grow luscious and green. Other plants out there require specific spectrums of sunlight and so if you wish to grow them indoors, you will need a grow light.

Light duration is a critical factor in how healthy your plants are going to be. Some plants are more sensitive to long periods of light, whereas others need it. They are generally categorized into three separate types: short-day, long-day, and day-neutral plants. Short-day plants will need less than 12 hours of sunlight, so if you have lots of natural light in your home throughout most parts of the day, you may not need a grow light at all. Same with day-neutral plants which can thrive with 8 to 12 hours of sunlight.

Easy to Grow Indoor Herbs to Use In Your Cooking

Easy to Grow Indoor Herbs to Use In Your Cooking

For long-day plants, however, which need a whopping 14 to 18 hours of regular light, you will definitely need a grow light to keep them properly nourished. These plants include but are not limited to hibiscus, aster, and petunias, as well as indoor crops, such as spinach, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, and certain kinds of wheat. If you are looking to grow any of these indoors, then you should definitely invest in grow lights for vegetables and flowers.

This does not mean that short-day or day-neutral plants don’t require artificial light either. If you are looking to grow your own herbs such as basil, which is a day-neutral plant, you may need to get a grow light if your kitchen doesn’t get much natural light. And while the basil may still grow with the limited amount of sunlight, it won’t be as fertile or leafy as you’d like it to be for regular use in cooking.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan