What to Know About Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

grow lights for indoor plants

It’s pretty much universally understood that plants need sunlight. Plants undergo a process known as photosynthesis, where they convert light into energy. Sunlight sustains plants, but plants need different amounts of light to thrive. Houseplants have a tricky go of things because they’re inside. Grow lights for indoor plants offer a solution to ensure your plants get the light they need while allowing you to style your home with greenery. Here’s what you need to know about using grow lights for your houseplants.

Understand Your Houseplants

Plants have different light requirements, and it’s important to understand this to provide essential care. Plants that need bright light cannot live alongside plants that require low light. You need to know what your plants need to help them thrive. While it’s possible to limit bright light through curtains, grow lights for indoor plants allow you to increase light levels so sunlight-loving plants can live in naturally dim areas.

Intro to Grow Lights

Grow lights have been around for years. Three traditional types of grow lights are commonly found in greenhouses. You may find some of these lights available for home use. 

  • High-pressure sodium lights: produce orange and red light ideal for flower and fruit production in greenhouses
  • Metal halide lights: produce light very similar to the sun and can be used for all types of plants.
  • Fluorescent lights: provide good supplemental lighting for seedlings and plants that need low light.

Note that grow lights intended for use in a commercial space may become very hot. Take care to place the lights away from curtains, furniture, and other home decor items. Monitor the area to ensure nothing overheats or sustains damage.

Decoding the Light Spectrum

Light is made up of different colors (remember Roy G Biv?), providing distinct advantages for plants. Sunlight is white light, meaning it contains all the colors in the light spectrum. Most plants can live happily in the full light spectrum, but isolating the colors can provide specific results. 

  • Red and orange help plants flower and produce fruit.
  • Blue light fast-tracks photosynthesis and increases plant size, germination, and root development. 
  • Green light assists with photosynthesis.

Different color lights provide various perks, which are primarily relevant for commercial growers. Isolating the light allows greenhouses to maximize output, but it doesn’t translate the same for the pothos in your living room. Exposing houseplants to different light colors can help them in certain aspects, but it neglects others. Plants need a well-rounded approach. Limited amounts of red light may help a blooming plant set flowers, but that plant also needs blue, green, and yellow light to thrive.

Specific colors in limited amounts can help with short-term plant goals. Houseplants do not need perfectly balanced white light, but they need the entire spectrum.

grow lights for indoor plants

LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

LED grow lights have recently entered the market, and they offer a lot of advantages. These lights are eco-friendly and do not heat up like many commercial grow lights, making them much safer for home use. 

LED grow lights often produce a full spectrum of light. Many can be adjusted, so you can provide the tones your plants need. If you want your leafy philodendron to bulk up or your Christmas cactus to bloom, there’s a spectrum for that. Grow lights for indoor plants are available as fixtures or bulbs.

Fixture Grow Lights

You can buy a complete fixture, like a halo light. There are also hanging options that can be plugged into a standard wall outlet and suspended from the ceiling using hooks to secure the cord. Grow tube lights are another option that can be mounted on the underside of a shelf in a bookcase and illuminate the plants on the shelf below.

LED fixtures often contain multiple bulbs and are capable of producing various colors. You can isolate those colors or use them all at once. Most LED grow lights have high levels of blue and red light mixed with some yellow and green, which is best for plants. 

These LED grow lights are generally ready to go out of the box. Complete fixtures often have a separate remote or control built into the power cable that allows color adjustments or to set a timer. Grow light fixtures are easy to use and can be moved as needed, but they are not always the most aesthetically pleasing. Depending on the spectrum, they may cast colorful light that is helpful for plants but not you.

Bulb Grow Lights

Grow light bulbs are also available. A bulb has a standard socket size and can be used in an existing lamp or light fixture. Bulbs are a great option if you want the advantages of a grow light, but you’re not into the look of the complete fixtures. Some bulbs offer the full spectrum, providing white light that looks like a regular lamp. Other bulbs are adjustable and provide specific colors. 

Find the Right Grow Lights for Your Space

Grow lights are an excellent way to help plants flourish in parts of your home that are not a natural fit or to keep a plant growing year-round. Consider your space and your plants before selecting a grow light. The quality of the product can vary significantly from one grow light to another, so do your research before making a purchase. 

One response to “What to Know About Grow Lights for Indoor Plants”

  1. […] may struggle in a naturally dry home. You can adjust things like sunlight and humidity with grow lights and humidifiers, depending on your commitment level. Easy-care houseplants are great for new plant […]

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