How to Grow Plants Under Lights in the Winter

Overview

During the winter, natural light might not be enough for some plants. If you are growing plants indoors, supplementary lights may help your plants grow. If you have many plants, you might want to consider a commercial high-intensity discharge system. But simple fluorescent lights can make good grow lights for small or medium indoor plantings. You can use either fluorescent tubes or a series of compact fluorescent bulbs for most leafy green plants.

Step 1

Drill four holes in the ceiling above the place where you will hang your light fixture. Each hole should correspond to one corner of the fixture. These holes are for mollies, little plastic pieces that hold well in sheetrock, where screws may not hold well. The holes should be slightly smaller than the mollies.

Step 2

Press or pound the mollies into the holes, with the screw holes facing downward. Mollies expand when you drive a screw or, in this case a cup hook, into them.

Step 3

Screw the cup hooks into the mollies.

Step 4

Screw or bolt appropriate-length chains to your fixture. How you will do this will depend on the design of your fixture. You may need to drill holes in the fixture for bolts to attach the chains to the fixture. The length of your chains depends on the height of your ceiling and your growing table.

Step 5

Place the plants on the growing table. This will help you adjust the height of the light.

Step 6

Attach the chains to the hooks in the ceiling. Use the links in the chains to adjust the height of the fixture, which should be 2 to 3 inches above the plants. Fluorescent fixtures do not generate much heat. It is safe to place them very close to the plants. As your plants grow, adjust the chains to keep the fixture a constant 2 to 3 inches above the plants.

Step 7

Insert the lights. Plug the fixture in, and turn the lights on.

Things You'll Need

  • Cup hooks
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Mollies
  • Light fixture with power cord and plug
  • 4 lengths of chain
  • Screws, nuts and bolts
  • Fluorescent bulbs

References

  • Texas A&M University: House Plants
  • ACF Greenhouse: Indoor Plant Grow Light Guide
  • University of Georgia: Growing African Violets
  • The Orchid House: Indoor Plant Lighting
Keywords: indoor gardening, indoor lighting, grow lights

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.