Color matters when choosing what light to use for indoor plants. Red, orange and blue are the best colors to promote plant growth and there are a variety of bulbs that emit these colors.
Red light is very beneficial to plants, promoting a high degree of flowering and budding due to the effect of red light on photosynthesis.
Orange light is beneficial to plants, though not as much as red. Some lights that emit red will also emit the orange range of the spectrum.
It's not the color of the light bulb but the color of the light rays emitted that makes the plants grow. So using red- or orange-colored light bulbs will not help plants grow.
Cool-white fluorescent bulbs produce red and orange light as well as yellow-green and blue rays and are popular with home gardeners, according to the University of Missouri. Incandescent light bulbs emit red light but these may burn too hot for plants and they are not energy-efficient.
Plants vary in their need for light and can be divided into low-light, medium-light and high-light plants. Flower World USA lists several common plants according to their need for a low, medium or high level of light (see Resources).
- Little Greenhouse: Plant Grow Guide
- University of Missouri: Lighting Indoor Houseplants
- Flower World USA: Foliage Plants
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About this Author
Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.