Indoor Grow Lights are an important addition to any home gardener’s tool kit, especially when there is a lack of viable sunlight in your home. Do you live in a garden apartment, do you only have north facing windows, are you living in a climate that’s cold and sunless? If any of this is true, grow lights are a great option for your home and your plants.
Don’t worry, grow lights aren’t cheating. Grow lights are giving those of us who are unfortunate not to have 300 days of sun per year, warm year-round temperatures and perfect humidity.They allow the rest of us to cultivate an indoor garden that makes us proud.
So, what is the best light for indoor gardening?
First, let’s discover the different types of lights so you can find the best indoor grow lights for your needs. Honestly, there are a TON of different types of indoor grow lights, with different light spectrums and colors, you can make yourself crazy trying to pick one. I’ll narrow the list down to some of the most common types and choose the best- sellers on Amazon. If you are a novice indoor gardener, don’t spend all your money on fancy equipment. Most indoor lights will do and you will be amazed and how efficient they can be.
The mainstay of office lighting and cubicles everywhere, fluorescent lights are a great choice for low light house plants. Remember, low light plants still need light, and a fluorescent lamp shining down on them tends to do the trick. The most inexpensive of all grow lights, fluorescents are a great way to start. Full-spectrum fluorescent lighting is a great choice for seedlings, house plants, and herbs. Fluorescent’s use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs so they’ll end up saving you money…no wonder offices loves Fluorescent lighting. A typical bulb will last about 20,000 hours, and the light is on the blue end of the light spectrum, which makes it perfect for bush compact growth and seed starting. You can also purchase full spectrum fluorescent lights which encourage blooming and all around growth.
Fluorescent lights work best when they are placed very close to the plants, and as the plants grow, the lights should be raised.
The more expensive and newer option, LED grow lights don’t have to be replaced as frequently as the fluorescent bulbs, so you may be putting more money up front, but you’ll save money in the long run. Also, some people live and die by the LED variety, claiming them to be the far superior option. They are also smaller and lighter, allowing you to save more room and be practical in your home atmosphere. LED will maximize blue and red light to provide a nice balance for your plants, and on’t provide a lot of green-yellow light which is great for humans since it will appear dim to us. I prefer the LED lights because I don’t have to go through the trouble of hanging an odd structure—this is light and easy.
Incandescent lights are great for house lamps, wonderful for those on a budget,
but are also a great option to help low light house plants get their lighting fix. Vines, ferns, snake plants will all thrive under these lights. Incandescents only put out about 10 percent of their energy as light and 90 percent of it is heat, so be careful of cooking your plants alive and don’t place light loving plants such as succulents or tropicals underneath their sauna-like heat. These bulbs will usually last around 1,000 hours, a big difference from the 20,000 hours a fluorescent light will last.Place the bulb a minimum 24 inches from the plant, and use with care. Not my first option, but if you buy one I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
In terms of care for all your plants, you’ll need to have at least 6 hours or more of darkness for all of them. Don’t get light crazy and think 24 hours of crazy light will make them grow quicker, this is a sure fire way to kill them all. Balance is the keyword, so figure out each one of your plant’s specific lighting needs.
Remember as the plant grows, move the light farther up. Don’t let the plants touch the lights, as they will burn and be prepared for quick growth. Fluorescents need to be positioned very close to the plants, so prepare yourself for a lot of repositioning.
The best indoor grow lights are not hard to find, as there are plenty of options to help you succeed with your indoor gardens. Just remember to buy quality over quantity, and don’t give up on your precious plants!