How to Grow With T5 Fluorescent

Overview

Unlike metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS) grow light systems, T5 fluorescent grow lights provide both blue and red spectrum lighting to support the growth of plants during their vegetative, flowering and fruiting stages. T5 fluorescent grow lights are effective, energy efficient and cool enough to place within inches of your plants. When T5 fluorescent grow lights are used properly, successfully growing fruits, flowers and vegetables indoors is an enjoyable task that can provide your family with access to their favorite fruits, flowers and veggies.

Step 1

Choose a T5 fluorescent grow light system with bulbs that emit both red and blue spectrum lighting. Note that 5,000k to 6,500 watt T5 fluorescent bulbs emit stronger blue spectrum light to promote the growth of healthy, green foliage, while 2,700 to 3,000 watt T5 fluorescent grow light bulbs emit stronger red spectrum lighting to promote healthy flowering and fruiting.

Step 2

Install your T5 fluorescent lighting system in your grow room in a way that allows it to be raised or lowered, depending on the height of your plants. Many indoor gardening shops offer grow light systems that make this easily possible.

Step 3

Position your T5 fluorescent grow lights no more than 24 inches above the tops of your plants. Position your grow lights closer to the tops of your plants, if possible. Use this simple test to determine how to position your grow lights. Place your hand just above the tops of your plants. Reposition the grow lights if you can feel the heat coming from the grow light system. Raise the light fixture 1 to 2 inches at a time until you can no longer feel the heat on your hand.

Step 4

Leave your T5 fluorescent grow lights on for up to eight hours each day for short-day plants such as azaleas, begonias and chrysanthemums. Provide long-day plants such as spinach, barley and wheat with 14 to 18 hours of T5 fluorescent light exposure each day. Expose day-neutral plants such as geraniums and African violets to 8 to 12 hours of T5 fluorescent light per day.

Step 5

Replace your T5 fluorescent grow light bulbs when the ends darken. Note that once the ends have darkened, your T5 fluorescent grow bulbs may be producing as little as half of their stated light output.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid allowing the temperature of your indoor grow room to rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or the extremely warm temperatures may be detrimental to plant growth.

Things You'll Need

  • T5 grow light system

References

  • Hydroponic Basics; George F. Van Patten; 2004
  • Gardening Indoors; George F. Van Patten; 1995
  • Gardeners Supply Company: Gardening Under Lights
  • ACF Greenhouses: Indoor Grow Light Guide
  • Wayne Schmidt's Fluorescent Lighting: Plant Lighting

Who Can Help

  • Specialty Lights: T5 FAQs
  • Jason's Indoor Guide: Fluorescent Grow Lights
Keywords: T5 grow lights, T5 fluorescent lighting, T5 indoor gardening

About this Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally for 10 years. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines as well as the book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." She is currently enrolled in the Travel and Tourism Specialist program at the Penn Foster Career School.

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