Grow lights are great for many plants, especially if you notice that your plants look leggy or never seem to flower. If you find that your plants never look as good as they did outside in the natural light of the garden center, a grow light is an ideal investment for you.
You probably have many questions if you are new to using grow light bulbs. You may be wondering, will my plant grow better with grow lights? Is it possible to harm my plant with grow lights? Which plants benefit from using grow lights? Are there downsides to using grow lights?
Here is the complete guide as to are grow lights suitable for plants and more!
Do Plants Grow Better with Grow Lights?
The short answer is usually. The long answer? Well, it depends on the plant you are growing and how much light you get in your house. If you have a south-facing sunroom in the middle of Arizona, you probably do not need a grow light for your pothos or snake plant.
On the other hand, if you have a peace lily that doesn’t seem to want to flower, a grow light that produces red light could help you achieve that beautiful bloom you have been trying to achieve for ages.
Can Grow Lights Damage Plants?
Grow Lights can damage plants depending on the type of plant and the bulb you are using. If you choose to use incandescent lightbulbs, you mustn’t place the light too close to your plants as they can cause yellow spots and burning. If you are using incandescent lights for the light source, it is crucial to monitor your plant as each bulb is different, so there is no one answer to how far to keep them from your plants.
Also, one tip to limit the damage to plants is to move the lamp as the plant grows. For instance, as the plant grows tall, so should the lamp bulb height. You want to keep a safe distance between the bulb and the plant to limit the damage.
When Should You Use Grow Lights for Plants?
One of the most exciting things about grow lights is that it allows you to produce vegetables out of season. If you are the type of person that only eats your vegetables in the season but desperately miss the summer greens like lettuce or herbs, using grow lights works wonders to get your fix of leafy greens in the middle of winter.
Should You Buy or Not Buy a Grow Light for Plants?
Consider how the plant or plants look when deciding whether to buy grow lights. For example, are you happy with how your plants look? If you have a couple of house plants and feel content in their health, don’t worry about getting a grow light!
However, if your plants look droopy, leggy, aren’t producing enough chlorophyll, and don’t seem to have any flowers like they did when you brought them home, then it is probably a good idea to invest in a grow light.
What Indoor Plants Benefit From Grow Lights?
Of course, most of us probably immediately want to answer cannabis to this question, but there are a lot of plants that can indeed benefit from using grow lights other than everyone’s favorite herb. Plants such as succulents can benefit from growing lights as they typically need bright light, which is hard to produce inside without using an artificial light source. Flowering plants like the peace lily described above benefit from growing lights and leafy greens like lettuce, kale, etc.
How Long Should You Leave the Grow Lights on for Indoor Plants?
Grow lights imitate natural sunlight, so it follows that you should keep your grow lights on for the amount of time your plant would naturally see the sun in a day. This light time translates essentially to eight to ten hours a day. However, this can vary depending on different types of plants.
If you are growing a tomato plant, you can use the amount of light you give it to stimulate flower growth and thus fruit production. Using this same idea, you can use the quantity of light to deter herbs from flowering so that you can keep eating the herbs for a longer amount of time before the plant goes to seed.
What is the Best Bulb for Growing Plants?
The answer to this question requires you to answer more questions first. First, are you trying to produce more vegetative growth, or do you want your plant to flower? What is your budget? There are many options when choosing artificial lights that all have different pros and cons.
If your primary concern is cost, incandescent bulbs are the ones you will likely look for. They have low light but high heat output, which makes them one you should be wary of when using too close to your plant, as described above. In the light spectrum, incandescent bulbs tend to produce more red light. Thus they would be ideal for stimulating flowering.
If you are looking for something more energy-efficient and aren’t so concerned about cost, compact fluorescent lights or CFLs may be your choice. These lights have a full spectrum of light, which would help with all plant growth. Led bulbs or light emitting diodes are the most popular lights for growers because they are energy-efficient, low cost, and produce a full spectrum of light. High-intensity discharge or HID lights are another types of light fixture that can be used but are primarily for large-scale growers.
Any Downsides to Using Grow Lights for Plants?
There is not much regarding the downsides of using grow lights, except for the cost. The cost of using grow lights is the cost of the actual lights and the increased cost of your electric bill. Using led grow lights, though, can help with these expenses!
Conclusion: Should You Use Grow Lights for Your Indoor Plants?
In summary, Grow lights are great tools to stimulate flower growth. Using the knowledge of wavelengths of red or blue light, how many lumens your plant needs, and the hours of light a day your plant needs, you can grow your best, most beautiful houseplants. Using grow lights as a plant’s light source is an excellent investment for those of us that need to give our leggy, flowerless houseplants a boost!