Are you jealous of your suburban friends with their outdoor gardens? Do you wish you could grow your own vegetables instead of having to drive to local farmer markets or grocery stories? Well, get yourself some indoor growing lights and start growing!
Indoor gardening is now easier than ever. You don’t need any outdoor space or a ton of natural light to grow your own crop of vegetables. And with indoor gardening, you don’t have to deal with typical weeding duties or worry about contaminants or pesticides bringing down the quality of your plants.
You’ll also be able to save on traditional costs like soil and pesticides, which means indoor gardening is a great and affordable way to go.
What’s the best way to grow an indoor garden? The key to success is using the right indoor growing lights. Keep reading to learn how and when to use these lights to make the most of your indoor garden.
What to Know About Indoor Lighting
It’s a misconception that plants need sunlight to grow. They just need light, and that light can be produced by an artificial source. Before picking a grow light system, you need to know a few basic facts.
Plants Respond Differently to Different Colors of Light
- Blue Lights (also known as cool light) encourages plant growth
- Red Light (also known as warm light) causes plants to bloom
Some Plants Need More Intense Light
Plants native to tropical jungles or shady forests do not need as much light as plants that grow in dry, sunny climates. Most flowering houseplants should be placed 10-12 inches away from a light source, but foliage plants like ivy can be placed as far as 36 inches away.
Plants Differ in How Much Light They Need Per Day
Short-day plants like chrysanthemums need less than 12 hours of light per day. Long-day plants like vegetables and garden flowers need at least 14 to 18 hours of light per day. Day-neutral plants like geraniums like around 8 to 12 hours of light per day.
Types of Indoor Growing Lights
The brightest grow lights are high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. They can be installed anywhere in your home, garage, or greenhouse to supplement existing light, and they can serve as the sole source of light for your plants.
There are 2 categories of HID lamps: metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS).
These lights provide cool white light that encourages compact, leafy growth. It doesn’t affect distorted illumination, so it’s a great light to use if you’re growing your plants in one of your living spaces. These bulbs usually last a year.
HPS bulbs emit strong red light, which promotes flowering. The illumination they provide is distorted, however, so they don’t provide flattering lighting for living spaces. These bulbs usually last a year and a half.
If you’d like a cheaper option for grow lights, high-intensity fluorescent lights are good.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
This light is less intense, so you can’t grow the same vegetables. If you’re only trying to supplement natural light, this is a great option. Fluorescent tubes come in cool, warm, or full-spectrum, and these tubes should be replaced every year and a half.
Final Thoughts on Indoor Growing Lights
Knowing how lighting affects different vegetables will help you determine the type of lighting you need. You have to make sure you place your plants at the right distance, give them the proper amount of light, and make sure you’re using the correct light.
Excited to start your own indoor garden? Have any tips for choosing lights that we missed? Let us know in the comments!