Gardeners with limited space or mobility often like to bring plants indoors, as do many decorators and urban gardeners. Growing plants indoors brings an element of the outside into the home, and plants add beauty to a room. Growing plants indoors requires that the gardener provide adequate light to keep the plants healthy.
Indoor plants can survive on natural light if they receive light throughout the day. This will determine the placement of the plant. South-facing windows get the most light and are the best option for indoor plants. However, the plants can block light from coming into the room itself, and even a sunny window might not provide enough light for your plants, especially during the winter.
Grow lights are designed for indoor plant growth. They provide light from the portions of the visible spectrum needed for growth, including red, blue, green and yellow light, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Grow lights can be purchased as decorative lamps and placed over or near the plants to provide light. The lights vary in intensity and can be turned on or off depending on the time of day.
Grow Light Bulbs
Grow lights do not use traditional incandescent light bulbs. These are too hot for most plants and do not provide the right kind of light. The University of Missouri Extension recommends cool-white fluorescent lights as the best bulbs for grow lights. They provide energy without scorching the plants. Halide light bulbs can also be used for spot lighting a plant that needs extra heat and light, such as some exotic plants.
Most plants do not require direct light at all times. Plants can be left in the dark at night, and many plants only need enough light to supplement natural light. Plants that receive some light from a window may only need a grow light for a few hours each day to receive the energy they need to continue growing throughout the year.