Natural light is best for plant growth, but not every space has natural light. Whether it’s a windowless basement room or a cubicle at the office, you can still experience the benefits of having a plant in your space by using artificial light.
Plants need the following for growth:
- Blue light for the growth of leaves.
- For flowering and fruiting, use red wavelength light.
- Green wavelengths are reflected by plants because they don’t utilize them much, which is why leaves appear green.
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Can you grow plants under artificial lights?
It’s definitely possible to grow plants indoors under artificial light. You’ll need dangling tube bulbs positioned directly over your plants if you intend to undertake any major indoor gardening or start plants from seeds.
For regular indoor plants, you can use any lamp or light fixture as long as you choose the bulbs carefully and position the lamps where your plants can benefit most. You can purchase specialized grow light kits that come with fixtures and reflective surfaces.
Different types of lighting and how they impact how plants and flowers grow
Understanding the types of light available can help you get the most out of your indoor plants. One option is to purchase specialized grow light kits that come with fixtures and reflective surfaces.
- Incandescent lights
The leaves of plants should be put farther away from incandescent lights because they emit a lot of heat. When trying to stimulate plants to blossom, incandescent bulbs can be used to balance out the spectrum by supplementing fluorescent light with more red wavelengths.
Try utilizing a mixture of around one-third incandescent and two-thirds fluorescent by wattage if you wish to combine the two.
- Fluorescent lights
For indoor plants, fluorescent lights are by far the most convenient and affordable option. They are cold enough to place near plant foliage and available in tubes or compact bulbs (CFL) that screw into standard light sockets.
Look for “full-spectrum” fluorescent lighting or use a combination of “cool” and “warm” bulbs as conventional fluorescent lighting has a higher proportion of blue wavelengths.
If you’re unsure what type of light your plants need, opt for “cool white” products because white light has all visible wavelengths. Place fluorescents about a foot away from plant foliage for best results.
- Grow lights
Grow lights for plants are often sold in fluorescent tube form. They have all the wavelengths that blossoming vegetation like African violets require. However, other gardeners find that straightforward full-spectrum fluorescents perform well when beginning seeds or reproducing mixes.
Another reduced, cost-effective source of artificial light is LED lighting. Every LED light bulb is unique because the technology allows for so much customization, so make sure your lights generate the blues and reds that plants require.
You might wish to opt for horticultural LED grow lights rather than purchasing general-purpose bulbs since they only provide the wavelengths that vegetation wants to absorb.
Halogen lights can also produce full-spectrum light, but they also use more energy than fluorescents.
Simple Plant Lighting for Space with Inadequate Sunlight
Find a three-bulb freestanding light, preferably one with adjustable or gooseneck fixtures.
As long as you stay within the safe wattage rating for the fixture, use one incandescent bulb and two compact fluorescent bulbs with the greatest wattages possible.
Focus the lights on the plant table. Put the fluorescent bulbs closer than the incandescent ones if each bulb is independently moveable to avoid thermal harm.
Below your plants, place a mirror or other reflective surface to reflect light up onto the foliage.
Attach a timer with a 16-hour setting.
Things to Consider When Growing Plants without Direct Sunlight
While artificial lights can help you grow plants indoors, you do need to keep a few things in mind when choosing and using your artificial lights.
Is There a Grow Light for Every LED Light?
Not typically. Each bulb made with LED technology is unique and allows for great customization. The exact red and blue wavelengths that plants receive from sunlight must be produced by bulbs.
Luckily, you can buy LED grow lights designed specifically for plants, which only emit the wavelengths required by plants.
Why is this useful? If your light emits green and yellow wavelengths, which consume a lot of wattage and energy, that light is lost because the plant cannot absorb it.
These specialized LED grow lights provide your vegetation with all they require while using no energy or your money. However, the initial investment is not inexpensive.
A modest 19x5x3 LED grow lamp may set you back more than $200. A few high-quality, budget-friendly LED plant lights are available.
Do Houseplants Need a Lot of Direct Light?
For plants to remain healthy, thrive, and produce the fruit and flowers you desire from them, they require between 14 and 18 hours of light per day.
This typically indicates that they are periodic. If they are placed close enough to a window with adequate sunlight access, most plants receive enough light during the summer.
Even so, there may still be issues because windows facing east give proper light in the morning and worse light in the afternoon and evening. Windows that face west are the reverse. Windows that face south will have more time to receive light.
Advances of growing plants without any light
On a surprising or hopeful note to those of us that have little to no access to LED lights or natural lights, scientists have come up with a way to grow plants in complete darkness. To do this they use something called artificial photosynthesis.
Scientists produced acetate by converting carbon dioxide, electricity, and water using a two-step electrocatalytic process. Then, to develop, the food-producing plants ingested this acetate.
It’s interesting to note that this method, when coupled with solar panels, might boost the effectiveness of sunshine conversion by up to 18 times that of organic photosynthesis in specific foods.
Hopefully, we’ve answered many of your questions about growing plants with artificial lights. Let us know your best tips for growing plants indoors using artificial light in the comments!