How to Grow Houseplants With Grow Lights


The biggest obstacle for indoor gardeners remains how to provide plants with proper light. While some survive just fine with the diffused light they receive through windows, many plants require more direct lighting. For cases such as these, indoor grow lights provide an alternative to natural sunlight you would find outdoors. When used properly, growing lights are quite effective. They can even be placed on a timer, which is certainly more than can be said for the sun.

Step 1

Choose a type of light bulb consistent with the type of plants you are attempting to grow. You can select metal halide (good for green leafy plants), high pressure sodium (causes budding and flowering, best as a secondary light source), fluorescent (great for seedlings and low-light plants), light-emitting diode (LED) and incandescent (both of which are only suitable as a secondary source).

Step 2

Move the lights up away from the plants as they begin to grow to avoid scorching. How much distance is needed depends on the type of plants and the kind of grow lights you are using. Leave at least a few inches of space no matter what you're growing.

Step 3

Determine the best light cycle for the plants you are attempting to grow. For instance, some plants require 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness, while others require more or less light.

Step 4

Connect your lights to a timing device to ensure consistent light cycles. It is easy to forget and miss a cycle, which can have detrimental effects.

Step 5

Replace bulbs when they die out. This requires keeping a close watch on your lighting system. A close watch is also a good idea to avoid any safety hazards, such as wires touching light bulbs.

Step 6

Maintain a healthy temperature in your grow room and proper moisture in the soil. If necessary, employ fans to keep things cool.


  • University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Houseplants
  • ACF Greenhouses: Indoor Plant Grow Lights
  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Growing Indoor Plants With Success
Keywords: grow lights, growing plants, indoor gardening garden

About this Author

Mark Rhyman has been working as a freelance writer since 2005. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, such as "Kotori" magazine and "Inside Lacrosse." He has his bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from the State University of New York at Brockport.