Why you need a grow light for your indoor plant
Plants need light to grow
Growing indoor houseplants is a pleasure.
Watching them develop into the plants you wanted.
Seeing them mature into something to be proud of.
But what happens when the sun goes in or is not there for long during winter ?
The plants food factory slows down to a crawl.
It doesn’t look it’s best.
You feel like you should be doing more.
Well…what if you could – what if you could add a bit of light to your plants life.
All plants need light to grow and nowadays with the advent of double glazing to help keep us warm, snug and safe.
The amount of useful light for plants is reducing.
Where is the best lighting for a plant… outside.
Not always practical when they need to be kept at above ambient temperatures.
Or even outside if they are used to longer days throughout the year… they need more light…
Or if it not practical to place them all on the windowsills – do you have an alcove begging for a plant to be placed in – but you know if you do you will be moving it again in a week when it fades.
Why not show them off to their best, help them do what they do naturally and give them more light.
even if you plants grow too big for your aerogarden lights – you can remove them and add supplementa lighting.
What choices have you got
On the market place you have three main technologies for home use.
These are now the ‘old fashioned ‘ bulbs that were the only type you could get a few years ago.
With their heated filament, getting the glass so hot in minutes that touching it left fingerprints on it.
The color of the light was more often a warm white – or yellowy white.
And were slightly fragile when hot – trying to move the bulbs resulted in filament breakage and bulb replacement.
Fluorescent or CFL bulbs
These used to be only in shops, long tubes high up to illuminate with their ghostly light.
But they developed into a usable replacement for the filament bulb.
More efficient, lower power and more light output than traditional filament bulbs.
There were a few downsides.
They a very small amount of mercury within them, along with multi coatings of phosphor.
These phosphor coatings produce bands of light – we see it as white, but it really is multiple narrow bands – that’s what you plants see.
They are as fragile as the filament bulbs in a way with their glass tubes, now woven into intricate patterns to fit the same space as their former bulbs.
Led or Light Emitting Diode
These modern technology marvels have reduced the power and are able to cover the same spectrum as the filament bulbs and more.
The tiny bits of silicon with different added chemicals produce different light colors.
Or back to the phosphor, they can produce a warm white or a cool white.
They last thousands of hours, if treated right – keep them cool.
Highly directional, the light output can be easily focused on one area or spread over a wider area with built in optics.
Personally out of the three technologies I would always now pick led lighting for the convenience of low power, high brightness and long life.
Adding more light for your plant in the right place now doesn’t mean cooking it with a filament bulb, or illuminating your plant with multi spectrum light from a fluorescent but being able to have lighting close to the plant where it does some good with leds.
To get the light where you want it, you have some choices of fixture.
Where a clip, or clamp can be used to fix the light base to a shelf or the edge of a saucer.
Most of these lights come with gooseneck lights to allow positioning them at whatever angle you want.
They come with either bar or bulb lights .
The bar light allows a broader spread of light but at a lower intensity.
Whereas the bulb is more intense and suitable for the more compact plant.
The panel light
These lighting panel are suspended above the plants – similar to the sunlight they simulate.
If you can make the height adjustable then you can keep the intensity of the light almost constant allowing the plants to grow naturally.
If the light is positioned too far above, then seedlings will start to grow leggy and have weak stem, not able to support the mature plant.
Floor standing lights
If you have tall architectural plants that could do with a boost over the short day period then there are floor standing models available.
These have a short tripod and a boom fitted with the lighting element at the top so they can be tucked out of the way and can remain discreet behind the plant.
They are adjustable in height to cover a wide range of heights.
They come with either panel elements, bar elements or bulb elements.
They tend to feature a gooseneck for positioning the lighting element.
When placing the plant in an alcove you can create accent lighting with wall mounted lighting, with a remote control you can adjust the color of the lights to show the plant off in its best light.
But remember to go back to the broad white light for most of the day to assist the plant in growing healthily.
This sort of lighting would need to be fitted by a qualified electrician, so if you have a need of this sort of lighting then definitely call out an electrician to at leas fit an electrical outlet in the alcove where you can then add led strips or panels.
What color does your plant like
Sunlight cover the whole of the human visible spectrum and a whole lot more.
Well into the ultra violet ( tanning rays) and up to the infrared (some plants reflect this for insects to find them).
What we tend to do with plants is to assume that they only need visible light.
And there has been a vast movement to show that blue light is needed for growth and red for flowering.
Well the plant needs the whole spectrum of visible lighting and more.
But it is really beneficial to have loads of light.
There are loads of blue red lights on the market – and if this is something you like ( with both of these on the plants look black…) then go for it.
But personally, if the plant is in the living space no one want the intrusiveness of this type of light.
Ok… to have the white leds is to have less efficiency, but they output a pleasing light and cover the whole spectrum, rather than just very narrow bands.
But the plants will thank you for it with the infill light in the yellow and green areas.
And in the winter the extra lighting may help you with the symptoms of SAD ( seasonal Affectorial Disorder)
To get the most benefit if you are after leaf growth then go for a cool white – the leds allow more of the blue light through.
And if you are after flowering then the warm white is better, as there is slightly more of the red spectrum.
If you want to get technical then these are some spectra of different lights – showing the difference between a filament bulb (covering the whole of the visible spectrum and more), a cool white led ( again covering the visible spectrum) and a flourescent ( with bands of light – not ideal for plants)
Fauna 80w led grow light (#ad)
This clipon grow light wll clamp to surfaces up to 3 inches with a soft grip allowing most surfaces to be clamped onto with out damage.
The warm white light output from its four 9 inch arm is sufficient for most plants.
They can be placed up to 25 inches away from the base for versatility and coverage of more than one plant if necessary.
With a lifetime of up to 50000 hours ( over 11.5 years at 12 hours on/off) you won’t need to replace the bulbs.
The built in timer can switch the light on for 3, 6 or 12 hours a day and then off for the rest of the time.
The 4 modes set the number of lights on at any one time and can be used over the day to simulate the sun moving around the plant – if there is enough light out of one bar then this would improve the strength of the stems of your plants.
The 5 dimmable levels can adjust the supplemental lighting to compensate for a lack of sunlight.
The fully FCC certified lamp unit is safe to use and with its 12 month warranty plus a 30 day money back guarantee leaves you in the knowledge that this light will last for years.
I would recommend this light for the larger pot plant with lots of vegetation needing lighting up.
ACKE Grow Light #ad
This full spectrum light covering the 380 – 708nm covers the full spectrum required for all the growth stages of your plants. The main color is warm white – the yellowy white one.
The focused light of the dual lamps afford the smaller plant the benefit of extra ‘sunlight’.
With the simple operation of an on/off switch making it easy to operate – combining this with a plugin timer gives you the versatility of adding daylight to your plants day after day without worry.
TheÂ 18 inch flexible gooseneck allows the easy positioning of the light where it is needed.
Powered from the mains via the 5 ft cable and drawing only 12w these lights are very economical to use.
On a 12 hour on/off cycle Â these lights will go for 7 days before they use up one unit of electricity.
With its cool running temperature you can placce the lights as close as needed to the plants.
This intelligently controlled light allows you plant to have more sunlight over the darker times.
The 60w dual head grow light with 130 long lifetime ( 50000 hours) leds will give your plants consistent light out put for yrears to come.
The on/off timer with 3 settings ( 3,6 and 12 hours on) allows you to set the operation of the light so that it works around you rather than disturbing your sleep.
The 5 brightness levels are easily settable to allow you to adjust the light to your plants needs.
You can switch either light on or have both on using the mode switch, this could be used to simulate daylight over the day.
The clip can secure your light to surfaces that are up to 2 inches.
GrowLED LED Umbrella Plant Grow Light #ad
This cool white light umbrella led grow light gives your plant the light it needs – where it needs it.
Placing the stem of the light into the pot directly, this light can be set at any angle to direct the light onto your plant, helping it grow.
The automatic timer is set for 16 hours on and 8 hours off making sure your plants absorb enough light for the day.
Easy 2 step installation means you will be lighting up your plant in no time.
The stylish umberella design is height adjustable to allow growing room for your plants.
It is adjustable in height from 4 in to 24 in ( allowing 4 inches inserted into the pot)
The 5 ft power cord allows the unit to be powered from a computer or a utility outlet with an adapter.
The low voltage lighting means this is safe to touch and will stay cool in operation
The power consumption of this grow light will only use a unit of electricity every 100 hours of operation, and as it is on for amaximum of 16 hours a day this will be in 6 days.
For the taller plant or bushier plant there are different options like this floor standing 70W twin panel led grow lamp.
The full spectrum light output is perfect for your plant at whatever stage of growth.
This easy to assemble, height adjustable light allows you to position the two panel heads where the light will do most good.
The height is adjustable with the supplied two extension rods from 15.7 inches to 54 inches.
The tripod base is made extends out 11 inches from the center pole
Each light head has its own switch for individual operation, with excellent light coverage over a two foot square area.
This 75w panel grow light is ideal to supplement the lighting in the winter months.
With a dimension of 11″ a side with a thickness of just ove half an inch this panel is perfect for suspending above your plants.
With its daylight color simulation it will assist your plants in all of its growing stages, from seedlings right through to maturity.
This panel power is taken straight from your utility outlet and draws a miniscule 30w. so with a timer set to 12h on/off this panel will use 1 unit every three days.
The rear aluminium heatsink will run cool even after prolonged use, so no fear of burning you or your plants.
Unlike other higher power panel you will hear the silence with this one – no fans to annoy you.
Each led is housed in its own focusing cone to give your plants the maximum light benefit.
Need larger area lit – this 338 led panel will cover your needs.
With its 22 inch by 11.7 inch footprint – you can illuminate a lot of plants for that over the winter time.
The warm white color is suitable for all stages of plant growth from seedling right through to maturity.
This 65w panel will only use one unit of electricity every 15 hours of use.
It will last over 5 and a half years minimum, you will never need to replace a bulb again.
This panel will help you grow your leafy veg over times when there is little light.
Suspend it above your growing area and watch your plants and develop at an amazing speed.
Combine this panel with a plugin timer and you have full control of your plants lighting needs.
Doesn’t get too hot to touch – even after running for a long period.
High light output low power led grow light to help save you money per lumen.
Ideal for a 4ft square area- so group all your plants together for the winter – make sure you are giving them the best you can.
You can string these lights in series for more coverage.
2 quiet fans keepng the light cool operating when necessary- more light power in a smaller space.
With its compact size of 7.9 in by 12.2 in and 6 leds per reflector this lighting panel has the power to accelerate your plants growth.
Too much light – don’t adjust the height – jsut turn the light ouput down with hte simple twist of a knob.
Suitable for the full life of your plant – from seedlings right through to maturity.
With its 5ft power cord and included hanging kit you can place this grow light where you want to
From your african violets to your succulents to your herbs this light will help all of them grow.
This clamp on light is designed to help your plants have extra lighting.
With its full spectrum light output (380-800nm) it gives off a warm white light.
Ideal for all growing phases of your plants.
With the adjustable three heads you can position the lighting where it is needed.
A 3/6/12hour operating peroid will add the lighting that your plants need. set it to come on at dusk to extend the daylight period and it will do this day after day.
With its stable Â stable c clamp you can attaach it to any flat surface between 0.4 and 2.3 inches
You can have one, two or three lights on at once and adjust the light output level with its 5 dimming modes – for the optimum light leve lfor your plants.
Drawing only 40w of power this light can be used for a long tie before it costs you money at a 12hr on/off two days will cost you one unit of energy.
For the taller plant you need something like this.
Whether it is your fiddle leaf fig, your yucca or your parlor palm – they all need extra light during the short low light days
This tripod mounted three bar grow light is ideal for those palnts less than 4 ft tall
The light bars with their gooseneck able to adjust to any angle – there is no leaf that cannot get any extra light
Using the inline controller you can set the light level to any of the 6 preprogrammed ones to suit your plants needs.
Have the light come on automatically for 3, 6 or 12 hours a day – never worry about turning it off
All the bars on too bright for you – then use the controller to switch on , two or all three off at any time.
The light output is a warm white light ideal for growing any age of plant, from your seedlings right through to your mature plant.
It takes less than 5 minutes from getting it out of the packaging to fully assembled and workingÂ Â -very easy to setup.
Very long life leds – no need to replace the bulbs.
Which one is best
Well the above 10 growlights are all for different purposes.
With the clip on spot lights for the smaller compact plant – like the succulents, to the clip on bar light for the leafier plants.
The taller plants need a taller solution of the floor standing light
So which one are you going to choose to help your plants over the low light period?
Let me know in the comments below which led growlight for your indoor plant you are going to choose and what sort of plants you have.
Indoor Led Grow Light FAQ
Are led lights any good ?
led grow lights are more efficient than any other lighting at the moment.
And with either the right narrow colors or the whole spectrum lighting they are excellent for supplementing or being the only lighting for plants.
Can you use a grow light bulb in a regular lamp?
You have to remember that there is still some heat created, and in a standard lamp the cover will not allow this heat to escape.
And one thing that will reduce the life of leds drastically is heat.
And heating the controller electronics up above 120F (50C ) will cause premature failure
So it is better to go for a designed low voltage lamp rather than a high voltage one.
Can you use any led lights to grow plants?
As long as they are the right color and the right power – yes.
So you can use the strips of leds as long as there is enough of them and they are the warm white type.
These can line an alcove to illuminate the plants residing within to allow it to grow healthily
Do grow lights work for houseplants?
They most definitely they do.
Almost any indoor plant over the winter or very cloudy days can do with some supplemental light.
With double glazing on the rise , less light is allowed into out homes – so any indoor plant will be slightly starved of natural sunlight
It is not always possible to place your plants in the optimum position.
Do you need a grow light to start seeds indoors?
To start seeds off you need heat light and moisture.
Growing sedlings indoors requires a lot of light at the right time .
So trying to get a head start on the season means adding supplementary lighting for a few hours a day.
This will prevent leggy spindy seedlings from growing and produce healthy seedlings which will grow into very healthy plants.
How do you make grow lights?
Get a timer to control how long the light is on and off.
Get some full spectrum leds
And a power supply suitable for leds.
And connect them up.
Make sure you follow good practices for extending the lifetime of the leds and don’t overload the controller.
Alternatively as they are reltively cheap why not invest in a properly made one.
How long should plants be under a grow light?
Plants, like us, need a resting period.
They reset themselves for the next day when in darkness.
So allow them at least a 6 hour resting period with no light or even 8 hours.
This allows them to grow healthily.
How much does it cost to run a 1000w led grow light?
If your 1000w light actually takes 1000w then in 1 hour you will use a unit of electricity.
But most led lights are promoted with hte maximum power the leds are rated at.
And are run at half or less of this power – always worth reading the specs.
So 1 unit is 1kwh or one kilowatthour – so if you use up 1 kilo( 1000) watts in one hour then you have used a unit of electricity.
What is a full spectrum grow light?
A full spectrum grow light is not one made up of different colorÂ leds
It covers the visible spectrum of sunlight as a minimum and works with phosphurs.
This is the reason you can get warm ( more red) and cool( more blue) leds.
To balance the light output you are better off looking at the warm white leds.
What kind of led lights grow plants
You can use the two colors of led red and blue, but if it is in the living space this may not be the most attractive of beneficial for the eyes.
Adding other colors will make it more like the white light of a flourescent tube and ‘fill in’ some of the colors.
And yes these do work.
But for having in the living space a warm white light would be the best compromise.