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Did you know that you can successfully grow a garden from inside your home? Indoor gardening has truly never been easier now that there are options for supplemental grow lighting. While you should still try to position plants within your home so they get natural, direct sunlight, we understand that in some cases this just isn’t possible. Hence the creation of grow lights for indoor plants!
Grow lights mimic natural sunlight so you can’t just choose any old lightbulb, place your plants under them, and call it a day. These lights stimulate photosynthesis and create the right color spectrum that allows your plants to thrive. Plant lights also allow you to grow plants during their offseason as both the light source and temperature can be controlled indoors. We’re going to take you through how to choose the best grow lights for indoor plants so you can get started right away.
How to Choose a Grow Light
There are a couple of options to choose from in terms of grow lights. They are:
- Replacing an existing light bulb in a lamp you already own with a grow bulb.
- Purchasing an entirely new fixture that already has built-in lighting (and was therefore made for this exact purpose).
The Grow Bulb
If you’re looking to save money, grow light bulbs are also an easier and more convenient option. All you need to do is take a lamp that you’re not currently using, switch out the bulb, and replace it with a grow bulb – done!
Grow light bulbs range in price but a single bulb can generally be bought for $20 or less – as is the case with the SANSI 15W LED Grow Light.
The Grow Light Fixture
Purchasing a grow light fixture that is specifically meant for this purpose really makes a difference to your plant’s growth. They disperse light evenly and provide a fuller light spectrum than a single grow lightbulb would. While a grow light fixture is certainly more expensive than a grow lightbulb, they won’t break the bank. The Monios-L T5 LED Grow Light is a four-foot integrated fixture with a rope hanger that looms over your plants. It’s aesthetically pleasing, easy to install, and lets people know you mean business when it comes to your indoor garden.
Are There Variations of Grow Lights?
There are three main variations of grow lights. They are:
1. The Incandescent Grow Light
The incandescent grow light is the cheapest of these three options but it’s also the least effective. This type of grow light also takes up a great deal of energy and gets hot easily.
2. The Fluorescent Light
The fluorescent light is the second-best option when it comes to grow lights. Moderately priced, it has a low heat signature and produces a decent spectrum of light. Plus, it is more energy-efficient than the incandescent grow light.
3. The LED Light
The LED grow light is the best choice next to natural light when it comes to growing an indoor garden. LED lights are color optimized for growth, containing a specified amount of red and blue lights as well as white LED and IR. They are also the most energy efficient and effective of the three and don’t put out a lot of heat. The highest quality grow bulbs and grow light fixtures always contain LED lights.
There are two other types of grow lights but you generally only see them in commercial use. The first is known as High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bulbs, which use tungsten electrodes inside a tube fused with alumina to produce light. These bulbs have a high light output level which is ideal for commercial use.
The other is Metal Halide plant lights which create a powerful light source using mercury vapor mixed with metal salts.
While these two types of grow lights do exist, neither of them is practical beyond commercial use.
Why Are Grow Lights Different Colors?
Plant lights often come in different colors. They’re either violet-blue, red, or white. Different color lights help your plants to achieve different goals, ranging from chlorophyll absorption and photosynthesis to flowering and budding.
Because of this, it’s not ideal to have a blue-violet light or a red light on your plants all of the time. It’s important to either regularly switch this up or to purchase a white light that mixes all the colors of the spectrum which seems like the most practical option.
The previously mentioned SANSI 15W LED Grow Light is a great option for white light as is the 45W Daylight LED Grow Light Bulb.
Does A Grow Light Need to Be Kept on All the Time?
The simple answer to this is no. While not all plants need the same amount of light, they generally need 12 to 16 hours per day, whether they’re a flowering plant or vegetable. They also need about eight hours of darkness. So, if you think about it, they’re really not that much different than us in regards to their sleep cycle.
Darkness is actually an integral part of the plant growth cycle. When a plant receives light during the day, it produces energy through photosynthesis. When a plant gets its eight hours of darkness overnight, it goes through a process called respiration. This is an essential part of both its growth and flowering process.
In conclusion, it is best to purchase plant lights that contains full-spectrum LED bulbs. A set up with a lighting source that evenly disperses light using a full spectrum gives you the best chance at mimicking the sun itself. While there are plenty of more cost-effective options available that can help, we would encourage an LED grow light fixture if you’re serious about your indoor gardening craft.
Source of Featured Image: canva.com