How to Set Up an Indoor Grow Light

Overview

An effective way to enjoy an early garden harvest is to start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the average last frost date in your area. Since lighting levels indoors are much less than what your plants would receive outdoors, it's necessary to use grow lights. Grow lights will keep your plants from getting "leggy"--that's when they stretch out to reach for more light. Setting up an indoor grow light requires just a few tools and a little time.

Step 1

Drill two 1/8-inch holes, using a 1/8-inch bit, into a ceiling joist you've found with a stud finder. These must be the same distance apart as the mounting points on your fixture.

Step 2

Screw in a hanging hook into each hole. Tighten with pliers until sufficiently tight.

Step 3

Measure the distance from the hook to the top of your plants, using a measuring tape. The bottom of your fixture should be about 12 inches above your plants. This keeps the fixture close enough to be effective, yet far enough away to allow your plants some room to grow. Subtract the sum of the thickness of the light fixture and 12 inches from the distance of the hooks to the plants. Cut two hanging chains at this length, using wire cutters.

Step 4

Slip a chain over each hanging hook and attach them to the light fixture. Install the bulbs into the light fixture.

Step 5

Plug the light fixture into an automatic timer. Set the timer to 16 to 18 hours per day on and six to eight hours off.

Things You'll Need

  • Light fixture
  • Light bulbs
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Drill
  • Hanging hooks
  • Pliers
  • Chain
  • Wire cutter
  • Automatic timer

References

  • Wayne's This and That: Fluorescent Plant Lighting
  • Home Harvest: Plant Grow Lights for Indoor Gardening
  • ACF Greenhouses: Indoor Plant Grow Light Guide
  • Sage Gardener: Setting up Indoor Grow Lights
Keywords: indoor grow light, hang grow light, install grow light, ceiling joist, hanging hooks, light spectrum

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.