How to Garden With Grow Lights


Grow a variety of plants including houseplants, seedlings and other indoor container gardens under grow lights. Few plants growing indoors or in a greenhouse won't benefit from a touch of supplemental lighting. Since plants require proper lighting for photosynthesis, the process by which plants use energy from the sun to produce sugar, plants that receive too little lighting may experience spindly growth, small leaves, less flowering and bud drop, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Provide your plants with adequate lighting to increase growth and vigor.

Step 1

Suspend grow lights over houseplants, seedlings or indoor containers growing vegetables or fruit. Use grow lights in a greenhouse to maximize light exposure for quicker seed germination.

Step 2

Place one warm-white fluorescent bulb and one cool-white fluorescent bulb in the fixture. Sunlight contains a full spectrum of colors. Achieve a full spectrum of colors when using a combination of warm-white and cool-white bulbs. Cool-white contains blue and yellow-green light, while warm-white contains orange and red light.

Step 3

Turn on lights for 12 to 14 hours per day. Give the plants a break at night, just as they would receive if outdoors.

Step 4

Move the grow lights up as the plants grow. Keep lights 6 to 12 inches away from houseplants and 2 inches away from seedlings or container gardens. Place your hand on the foliage to feel for warmth. If any area of the plant feels warm, move the light farther away from the plant.

Step 5

Rotate the plants each week. A fluorescent bulb's light is more concentrated in the middle than at the end.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm-white fluorescent bulbs
  • Cool-white fluorescent bulbs


  • Ohio State University Extension: Houseplants
  • Sherry's Greenhouse: Seed Starting Basics
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Starting Seeds Indoors
  • Gardener's Supply Company: How to Grow Seeds and Plants Under Artificial Light
Keywords: garden grow lights, using grow lights, grow lights gardening

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.