How to Grow Plants with Indoor Lighting

Arican Violet image by Apes of Wrath/


Properly lighting your indoor plants for optimum growth can be challenging if your home does not receive an abundance of natural light. Plants need a balance of red and blue rays from the light spectrum to produce and maintain healthy growth. Normally, a sunny windowsill will give your indoor plants the light they need to thrive, but you also can improve their environment with direct and indirect artificial lighting.

Step 1

Plants like English ivy, peace lily, philodendron, snake plant, silver lace fern or African violets need little light to flourish. Place these plants in any room that receives low to moderate light and they will do well with proper care and water.

Step 2

Place plants that require more light in a sunny location, such as near a window or beneath a skylight. South-facing windows provide the best light for the longest duration, especially in the winter. In the spring, summer and early fall, south-facing windows may burn plants that do not require much light. East- and west-facing windows work well for plants that require medium light and north-facing windows work best for low-light plants.

Step 3

Purchase grow lights from your local garden supply. You also can use cool white fluorescent lights. Place the plants tips between 6 and 12 inches from the light source.

Step 4

Leave the plants that receive no natural light beneath the fluorescent or grow lights for 16 to 18 hours each day. For plants that receive some outdoor light, 12 to 14 hours each day will suffice. You should provide indoor lighting for your plants during the hours they would normally receive sunlight.

Step 5

Connect the grow lights or fluorescent lights to a timer so that your plants will receive consistent light every day. You can purchase a 24-hour timer at your local discount store. Set the timer according to the manufacturer's directions, plug the plant light into the timer and plug the timer into the electrical outlet.

Things You'll Need

  • Grow lights
  • Cool white fluorescent lights
  • Timer


  • About Indoor Plant Lighting

Who Can Help

  • Low Light Plant Options
Keywords: indoor plant lighting, plant lighting, lighting indoor plants

About this Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Photo by: Apes of Wrath/