Light is necessary for a plant's survival. Using the correct type of light if you are not using natural sunlight is imperative. There are many different types of lights available to treat your plants to the light they crave. This light gives them lush green leaves, the most blooms, and the best fruiting you could expect, short of the plant's being out in nature itself.
Quantity and Quality
There are three important factors you need to consider when thinking of what lighting you will be using: How long will you be using it, how many lights will you need, and what is the quality of the light you will be using. Artificial lights increase the amount of light a plant would normally get based on daylight hours outside.
Red Light, Blue Light
Plants need both blue and red light to grow. The blue light gives them what they need for healthy, lush green growth and is excellent for starting out your seedling. The red light gives them what is needed for flower growth. When combined, these two types of light give plants everything they need to be healthy and to flower and fruit for much longer (when in a greenhouse or inside a home) than in normal sunlight.
More Light With Fewer Lights
To have the fewest light fixtures with the most light output, the best lights to start with are light-emitting diode (LED) lights. LED lights use less wattage, approximately 6 to 9 watts, than other traditional artificial light, like high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, which use up to 1,000 watts for the same square footage (approximately 4 sq. ft.)
The life expectancy of LED bulbs is around 100,000 hours; HPS may last 18,000 hours, but once over that may start pulling more electricity from extended usage. LED lights weigh less; have no glass parts or mercury, making them more environmentally friendly; and are only warm to the touch even after having been on for hours.
Using indoor fluorescent lighting does not give plants what they need. Fluorescent lights would have to be extremely close to plants for the plants to benefit from the lights, and the plants could burn up from the heat the lights put off.
- LED Grow Master Global
- ACF Greenhouses
- Oregon State University Extension Service
About this Author
Coming from Eagle Rock Va, Margo Prior has been freelance writing health, relationship and gardening article, as well as poetry,for over 15 years. She has an Associates in Social Science and is working on getting her bachelors in Accounting. She is currently working on getting a poetry book published.