Hey everyone! Today, we’re gonna talk about grow lights for indoor plants. So, without any further delay let’s begin…
Topics covered in this article:
- Why do indoor plants need light?
- Signs your houseplants / indoor plants need more light
- Factors when choosing grow lights for indoor plants
- Grow lights for indoor plants
- Where to place grow lights on houseplants?
- How long to keep them on?
Grow Lights For Indoor Plants
Plants need light to get the energy to grow and plant photosynthesis is actually the reaction to energy transfer. That is when the plant converts light into usable energy which is pretty amazing if you think about it, every leaf on our plant is like a mini solar panel. When the leaves and the stems receive the sunlight, they’re actually able to convert it into usable energy. Now, light indoors is significantly lower in intensity than it is outdoors.
So, we need to make sure that our houseplants / indoor plants are getting enough sunlight or enough sources of light. So that they can get enough energy to thrive and grow. Now, let me tell you some signs that our plants give us to know that they’re actually missing the sunlight.
Number one is long, leggy, and thin growth. When we have a plant that is growing really thin, long, and very leggy, this may be a sign that they’re missing sunlight. This tends to be very clear with succulents. Most succulents grow very compact but if they’re missing sunlight, they will start to grow very thin and long.
Another sign that plants are not getting enough sunlight is when your variegated plants start losing their variegation. Many variegated plants actually need more sunlight than their solid-colored sisters. This helps them maintain the variegation.
Now, something to note is that some plants that are variegated, don’t need so much sunlight. This is for instance the case of the golden photos. This plant has beautiful variegation but they actually prefer low light conditions. So, make sure that you understand your plant needs before you bring more light to her.
Sign number three is if your leaves start losing color. If the color starts fading away this may also be a sign that your plant is lacking sunlight. Now, let me share with you some of the factors that you should consider before choosing a grow light.
As you know that some ways in which you can check, whether your plant needs supplemental light or not. Let me share with you some factors that are important when choosing a grow light.
The Spectrum of Light Provided:
That is the balance of cool and warm colors in your light. Just so you know, blue and red are the lights that are most efficiently used by plants. Blue light generally helps prevent elongation of the plant and it helps her with the production of antioxidants. Whereas, red light generally helps with leafy growth.
Now, there are actually grow lights that specifically provide red and blue light. They come in different ratios, so you may have 5:1 which means five red one blue, or 10:2, so 10 red 2 blue. Depending on how you want to help your plant and what kind of plant you have. You may want to get a grow light with more red light or with a smaller ratio between blue and red. But generally blue and red lights are very good for your plant.
You can also get grow lights that are full spectrum. This means that they have all the colors in the spectrum, including blue and red. If you get a grow light in the full spectrum, the light that it will produce will look white to us. But of course, it will include blue and red, even if we cannot see them. So, these are also very good.
The Lit Surface:
If you only want to help one plant with supplemental light, you may want to invest in a smaller grow light that is going to be maybe a spotlight fixture. But if you have lots of plants and a large surface to lit, you may want to invest in a bigger grow light or smaller grow lights.
The Heat Output:
This is very important when talking about grow lights for house plants. As since we’re using these lights inside our homes, we don’t want a very high heating output. This can be dangerous for our homes. Also, if you have a low heating output, you can place the grow light a little bit closer to your plant and it will not cause scorching of the leaf, or burn the leaf. So, this is also a very important factor to consider.
We should also consider the amount of light and the time that we’re gonna have our grow lights on. This is when we see how many watts, they are going to use. So, we know that our grow lights are gonna be efficient and not so expensive for our electrical bill.
Another personal tip that I can give you related to this is that if you are forgetful as I am, I would recommend that you get a timer. So, either a grow light that comes with a timer or a lamp that you can connect to a timer. That way you don’t have to worry that you forget to turn it on or forget to turn it off and your plants will be okay. Now, let me show you some options that are great for houseplant enthusiasts.
CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights):
CFLs are great to light up small spaces. So, if you have a small plant or a group of smaller plants to which you want to provide some extra light, the CFL is great for you. These ones tend to provide the full spectrum grow lights and they’re usually on the cooler side. So, the light will look more white and a little bit more on the cooler side. But for our plants, they’re really great because they come in the full spectrum. Although they’re not so common, you can also find some CFLs that are a little bit more on the warmer side. This is in case you don’t want your house to be really on the cooler side in terms of light.
Another very cool thing about the CFLs is that you can use them in standard fixtures. So, you can put them in your lamps around the house or on the ceiling, closer to your plants. They’re just like any light bulb but they provide the full spectrum for your plants and they’re pretty great.
One thing to remember about the CFLs is that you want to put them closer to your plant. About 30 to 50 centimeters away from your plants. This way you will make sure that most of the volume of the light will be focused on the plant.
The second type of light that I’m going to talk about today is the LED lights and this one is my favorite. LED lights have become really popular, not only for grow lights but also for general use. This is because these lights are great for low energy costs and they have low heat outputs. There are many types of LED lights that you can use.
First of all, you can always use an LED light bulb for your lamps around the house. You should always check that these light bulbs are full-spectrum and it will provide light for your plants. You can also invest in some grow lights that are LED. For instance, I’m using a Sansi LED grow light and it’s a full spectrum grow light. I am using this for my succulents and it’s working really well.
Wanna Buy Sansi LED Light? … Click Here!
So, what I love about this light is that it’s a full-spectrum LED light. So, it gives my plants all the colors that they need, especially blue and red but the light actually comes out white. It is also pleasing to the eye. I really like it. You can also find LED lights that provide a mixture of red and blue lights. As well as ultraviolet and infrared light, which are really good for our plants in small amounts. But focusing on the blue and red light as I said before, these can come in different ratios. Depending on what you want to provide for your plant and what kind of plants you have. You may want to provide a little bit more red or a little less but again, blue and red light are very good for our plants. So, these lights are also really great because they focus on these two colors.
Now, one big difference between the LED in full-spectrum and the LED lights that focus on a blue and red light is the color of light that they produce. You will notice that the LED lights that focus on the blue and red light will have a color that is more pink or purple. Whereas, the full spectrum LED light will produce white light. If you don’t like the pink or purple color, then I would recommend that you stick to the full spectrum light. But if you don’t mind the color and you want to focus on providing blue and red light, these lamps are also very great.
As LED lights are becoming more and more popular, they’re actually coming in many forms, sizes, and different types. You can get a small light and the one that I have is an e27, so I can easily just fix it in my lamp. Otherwise, you can get a light string with red and blue light or even lamps that you can clip to your furniture and move them around. So that they can actually focus on one or more specific plants. Now, let me tell you how I use these grow lights.
Depending on the light that you get and the intensity of the light, as well as the type of plants that you have, you will see how far or close you will place your grow lamp. But if you get a normal LED or the other one that you can clip to the furniture and it’s red and blue light, I usually put them about 8 to 12-inches from the top of my plant.
Of course, always observe your plants. Because some plants may want the light a little bit closer, whereas others may want to be a little bit farther away. So, if you see that the light is actually burning the leaves, make sure to put it a little bit farther, this may be too direct on the plant.
Q3: How Long To Keep Them?
Now, when I discovered that I needed to bring grow lights for my plants, especially in the winter. One of my first questions was, how long I should keep my grow light on and this is a great question. Generally, our plants want 12 to 16 hours of sunlight. So, I would recommend that you provide that amount of light.
For instance, with my succulents on the window, I have these in front of a south-facing window, so they get some amount of light during the day. In this case, I don’t turn my grow lights on for the whole day. I usually turn them on when the sun is coming down and I leave it on for about an extra four hours. However, depending on the plant you may want to provide more hours of light or fewer hours of light. This is related to photoperiod.
Without getting too scientific, photoperiod actually relates to the amount of light and darkness a plant needs to thrive and flower. Related to photoperiod, there are 3 types of plants:
No 01: Long Day Plants
These are plants that need long days to thrive and flower. They are usually many succulents or plants that generally flower during the summer months. A long day means more than 12 hours of light. These plants are usually happy with 14 to 16 hours of light, and we should provide this light accordingly.
No 02: Short Day Plants
These are plants that need longer nights to flower and a perfect example is the Christmas Cactus. As you may know, the christmas cactus flowers in the winter and this is because they need longer nights to flower. The Christmas Cactus needs 14 hours of darkness, in order to thrive and flower. This means that they need 10 hours of light and hence, it’s a perfect example for a short-day plant.
No 03: Day Neutral Plants
These plants don’t rely so much on the photoperiod to thrive or flower. They are usually happy with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Again, in order to keep your plants happy and prevent them to go into dormancy. I would recommend that you generally provide 12 to 14 hours of light. This can be a combination of sunlight and supplemental light or full-time grow lights.
But if you want your plant to thrive and flower, it’s also good to know about their photoperiod. If you have any questions, of course, let me know down below and I will make sure to reply.
Hope so guys you liked reading this article. I tried my best as much as possible ways to make you understand everything clearly so hopefully, this article is gonna be helpful for you in grow lights for indoor plants. Keep visiting us to learn many more things. Have a nice day!
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