Different Types of Light for Indoor Plants


Growing plants indoors can spruce up your indoor spaces or keep outdoor plants alive over cold winters. Some plants can live well both in sunny and in partially shaded conditions. Other plants will require that you augment window light with artificial light.

Natural Light

The simplest way to provide light for your indoor plants is to place them in a window. Some plants prefer the more regular sun of a south-facing window; others will do better with the morning sun of an east-facing window.

Incandescent Lights

Because they lack a full spectrum of light, incandescent lights provide a lower quality of light, but are inexpensive to install. If your plants aren't getting adequate light, you can install a simple incandescent lamp to supplement the natural light.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are more expensive to install, but cheaper to operate, than incandescent lamps. Basic fluorescent lights, however, do not provide a good spectrum of light.

Full Spectrum Lights

Full spectrum lights are fluorescent lights that provide a spectrum of light similar to the sun and are good for simulating sunlight.

Grow Lights

Grow lights are a very specialized form of fluorescent lights that emphasize the part of the spectrum that increases plant growth. Photosynthesis is more efficient and plants often grow faster under grow lights than under natural light or most other types of artificial light.


  • Indoor Plant Lighting
  • Indoor Lighting for Plants
Keywords: indoor gardening, plant lights, indoor lighting

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.