Indoor Plant Lights
The gardening season is far too short for many gardeners. By using indoor plant lights, the gardening season can continue despite the weather conditions or the light limitations. You can use plant lights to start seedlings and cuttings, to overwinter tender plants, or to grow a special collection of plants such as succulents, orchids, or African Violets.
The basic requirements for indoor plant lighting are either fluorescent light tubes or incandescent light bulbs. The fluorescent lights are much better than the incandescent bulbs. Always buy full-spectrum light tubes when possible. These tubes are more expensive than the common fluorescent tubes but they have the full complement of light rays that plants utilize during their growth cycle.
You can buy pre-built light carts. We have many styles to choose from, ranging from table top fixtures to moveable carts on wheels. You can also build your own light cart to meet your specific needs. Be sure you can adjust your light fixtures whether you buy a pre-built cart or build your own. You will need to be able to change the light placement for different kinds of plants.
You must consider the light requirements of your plants to determine the correct light placement. The closer plants are to the light source the higher the intensity of the light they receive. Seedlings and other plants with high light-intensity needs, such as blooming plants and cacti, need the light to be within four to six inches of the leaves. Foliage plants, tolerant of lower light levels, will tolerate the light being a foot or more away from the leaves and still grow well.
Wherever you choose to place your plant lights, make certain the air temperature is suitable for the plants you’re cultivating. It would be futile to grow tropical orchids, which like warmth, in a cold basement even with lights. Annual seedlings may germinate more rapidly in a warm environment, but their growth will be stockier and healthier if the temperature is kept cooler after germination.
Since plants require a period of darkness for good health it’s wise to put your lights on timers, otherwise you may forget to turn them on and off as needed. Plants need about fourteen to sixteen hours of light but they also need eight hours of darkness.