Artificial lightning for indoor plants

It’s easy to think that plants grown indoors can do without light. This is largely untrue as every plant needs light to photosynthesise. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants use light (photon) as well as carbon dioxide and water to produce (synthesise) their own food. So for your plants to grow, produce leaves, flowers and fruits, it needs light.

Growing plants indoors can be a little challenging if the rooms do not have windows or if light penetration is shaded off by a tree or another building. Whatever the case maybe, artificial light sources can be used to grow plants.

Although sunlight is the perfect balance of wavelengths necessary for plant growth and development, identifying artificial lights that can supply these wavelengths is the key to growing plants indoor. Blue wavelengths encourage foliage growth, while red light encourage flower growth.

Fluorescent lights, LED (light emitting diode), HPS (High pressure sodium lamps) and HID (high intensity discharge) lights are popularly adopted as grow lights but LED lights are recommended by many gardeners for the following reasons:

  1. It produces less heat.
  2. It has high intensity.
  3. Full spectrum options are  available.
  4. It encourages space saving designs.
  5. It is suitable for growing leafy greens, vegetables, herbs and potted flowers.
  6. It has a long life span of about 50,000 hours.

If getting a full spectrum LED light is not forthcoming, you could combine blue and red bulbs. When adding green LED to the setup, ensure that its contribution does not exceed 25%. LED lights should be kept 10”-16” away from the plant.

It is important to set a timer for 12-18 hours per day, as plants also require darkness for growth.

In choosing artificial lightning, it all comes down to what you want to grow, the available space and your gardening design.

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