Plants require light to thrive, which is one of the first things we learn about them. Our homes, however, don’t always provide the type or amount of sunlight plants require. Luckily, you can use artificial lights instead, and your houseplants will thrive with a few well-followed guidelines. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about growing houseplants with artificial lights.
Plants Need Light in Order to Grow
Plants do not consume solid material for energy like humans do. There’s nothing to munch on, not even a chocolate bar. Water and carbon dioxide are converted into carbohydrates by plants with the energy from the sun. The process of photosynthesis is known as photosynthesis.
A lack of light causes plants to become stunted and experience an overall decline in health. You know what we’re talking about if you’ve ever kept a plant in a dark room.
Humans perceive color based on the wavelength of light. For photosynthesis, plants absorb light between 400 and 700 nm. The range of light emitted by photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) is called this. Nonetheless, plants are best able to absorb red (600-700nm) and blue light (400-500nm).
During their lives, plants absorb both red and blue light, and a balance of both produces healthy plants. Therefore, the type of light can affect the plant’s processes.
During the early stages of vegetative growth, blue light is especially important to the formation of chlorophyll. Induce flowering and fruit set in plants with red light, especially far-red light (700-850 nm).
Is Artificial Light Effective for Indoor Houseplants?
It can be very effective to use artificial light on indoor houseplants! Each type of light is different, of course. To find a setup that works for your plant, you may need to move your grow light around until you find the right amount of natural light.
You need to consider two main factors when choosing a light: intensity and spectrum.
A light’s intensity is measured in lumens and is a measure of its brightness.
It’s important to remember that how you use the lights also affects their effectiveness. In addition to the distance between the light and the plant, consider the number of hours the lights are on.
A plant that is placed far away from a powerful light will be weak even if the light is powerful. The light should also be kept on for enough hours to avoid problems.
Light distance/intensity and the number of hours the light is on are both critical, but don’t think one can compensate for the other. It is not possible to use a high-intensity light for five hours instead of a low-intensity light for ten hours.
Plants That Survive Under Artificial Light
Although many plants can be grown with artificial light, some perform better than others. When grown under artificial light, the following houseplants typically thrive.
- Snake Plant
- Peace Lily
- African Violets
Suitable Artificial Grow Lights for Houseplants
A person can easily become overwhelmed by grow lights when they start looking into them. Lumens and spectrum are important factors to consider, but you should also consider the type of artificial light you want. In order to make things easier, we have included information, pros, and cons about the main types of artificial grow lights.
An electric current passes through mercury vapor in fluorescent lights to produce light. Fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) provide this type of light. With CFLs, you get more light in a smaller package. High-output fluorescent lights (HO) are some types of fluorescent lighting.
You should check the lumens as well as the spectrum of fluorescent lights.
Some fluorescent lights are labeled as grow lights, but a generic fluorescent light can also be used. If you don’t see a spectrum listed on the light, you can look for a light labeled “cool white.” These lights contain a spectrum that is excellent for vegetative plants.
Perhaps the best grow lights for home growers are LED lights. These lights are not too expensive and are more energy-efficient than fluorescent lights. Diodes emit different wavelengths of light, so multiple diodes can be combined to create just the spectrum you want.
Certain LED lights can even turn on and off diodes. You can start by using blue light during vegetative growth and then phase in more red light once your plant begins to flower.
Generally speaking, fluorescent or LED lights have replaced incandescent lights. However, you can still find them if you look for them.
An important thing to remember about incandescent lights is that they emit a good amount of heat. Thus, keep them away from plants if you can.
In general, halogen lights are not the best choice for growing plants, but they can be used in a pinch. There is a full spectrum of light emitted by many types of halogen lights.
Metal Halide Lights
The metal halide (MH) light is a good choice if you want to grow leafy plants without flowers. Similar to incandescent lights, these lights produce light by passing an electric current through mercury and a metal halide gas. Nevertheless, they are more efficient and high-quality.
The high intensity of MH lights is one of their biggest selling points. A single elevated light can produce a lot of lumens, so you can use it for many plants.