Growing plants indoors with artificial lighting is not as easy it sounds. Thoroughly research each type of plant before applying grow lights in order to determine which type of lighting is most natural for each plant. Following these rules will help you successfully grow a multitude of plants using artificial lighting.
Light and Colors
Healthy plant growth requires the full light spectrum, which is the type of light you get from the sun. Blue light controls the amount of growth a plant will achieve, while red light does exactly the opposite, making plants grow taller. Red, yellow, blue and violet lights are all necessary for photosynthesis. Using multiple lights, each with a different color, all at the same time according to the needs of the plant, is the best way to grow plants with artificial lighting. Some plants require more red light in order to grow tall, while others require more blue or yellow light. Know in advance what your particular plant requires.
Because the light bulbs are hottest at the center of the bulb, do not leave the same plant directly under the bulb for too long. If the foliage feels hot where the light hits it directly, your lights are too close to the plant. Raise the lights until you can no longer feel that heat. Rotate the plants at least once a week, but check the heat each day if the plant directly under the light is tall. Keep plants of similar natural specifications together under the light.
Light and Dark
The amount of light to give to the plants is determined by how much light the plant would require in its natural environment. A desert plant will require a large amount of light, but a plant native to deeply forested areas will need less light for a shorter duration. All plants require periods of darkness each night as a resting and respiration time. Keep the lights on about 12 to 14 hours each day; a timer will conveniently control the light duration for you. Use the natural light from the sun as your guide. If it is summer, you will need less light as you will get adequate amounts of solar light. If there is no natural light where the plants are growing, set the timer to sunrise and sunset according to what is occurring naturally in your region at that time.