Do-it-yourself plant lights meet several needs for enthusiastic gardeners. While commercial lighting comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and capacities, creating your own grow lights allows you to direct light exactly where needed, including places you might not normally grow plants. Whether you are maintaining indoor houseplants, maintaining a winter herb garden or giving seedlings a jump-start on spring, consider using new kinds of grow lights to tailor indoor gardening to your needs.
Innovative Lighting Technology
Examine the variety of plant-growing lights available. Originally available in fluorescent tubes only, growing lights or fluorescent equivalents can now be found in spotlight and compact bulb form. If you do not find a wide variety of lighting specifically labeled for plants, explore fluorescent options for home lighting.
Using Existing Fixtures
Evaluate your existing light fixtures before purchasing others. Sometimes just installing a new plant-spectrum light tube in the fixture over your kitchen sink lets you use the windowsill and surrounding area for plants; an artificially sunny kitchen windowsill can grow herbs and other plants as easily as one lit by nature. Downward-facing wall sconces are another asset for plant tables or single large plants placed on the floor.
Using Space Creatively
Get creative with spaces that may be suited to plant culture. The windowsill isn't always the answer. An apartment dweller can even install fluorescent tubes under a large table and grow African violets on the floor below. Consider rigging lights over old-fashioned laundry sinks in the basement or on a mudroom shelf over the coat hooks. Bay windows that lack spectacular views beg for grow-lighting and a display of pretty houseplants.
Plant Lights and Decor
Create and adapt existing lighting fixtures to serve as grow lights. A gooseneck floor fixture can be fitted with plant-nurturing spotlights or compact bulbs. Coolie-shaded work lights are inexpensive and highly adaptable, often clamping to a simple wall bracket. Newly fashionable teardrop and pendant lights can be placed exactly where needed for plants while enhancing your decor.
The Dark Side
Remember that for healthy growth, plants need dark periods too. Resist the temptation to keep the plant lights on 24 hours a day. Perpetual daylight confuses plants and exhausts them by excessively stimulating them to grow. Plants, like people, need sleep for healthy growth.