How to Build a Plant Lighting System

Overview

Usually plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to grow, which is not a problem for outdoor plants but indoor plants need supplementary electric lighting of some sort, specially since they fail to receive sufficient natural light. A lighting system comprises of a stand and lights that provides indoor plants artificial light, so they can practically grow in any setting. The amount of artificial light your system should comprise of depends on the sunlight requirements of the contained plants.

Step 1

Take one 10-foot long PVC pipe and measure one 36-inch mark on it, two 21-inch marks, two 10-inch marks, one 13-inch mark and three 2-inch marks. Do the same for the other three 10-foot long PVC pipes as well. Cut over the marks with a PVC cutter and place the different pieces together.

Step 2

Hold a 2-inch piece of pipe and attach an L-fitting on one end and a T-fitting on the other. Attach a 10-inch length of pipe to the other side of the T-fitting, and secure a second T-fitting to its other end. Repeat this procedure until you assemble four combinations of PVC pipes this way. Make sure the end T-fitting of each combination is 90-degrees to the other T and L-fittings so the lighting system is square. Two of the combinations will be mirror images of the other two.

Step 3

Insert a 13-inch PVC pipe to attach two mirror image combinations to each other. Do the same with the other two mirror-image combinations. You will now have two long combinations, with the corner L-fittings facing the same direction. Join both these combinations with four 21-inch pipes, two at the ends and two attached to the inner T-fittings, to complete the upper frame.

Step 4

Take a 2-inch pipe and attach an L-fitting to one corner, and an X-cross fitting to the other. Attach a 10-inch pipe to the other end of the X-fitting, with an L-fitting at its other end. Repeat this process to make four identical combinations of PVC pipes and fittings, two mirror images of the other two.

Step 5

Attach each of the two identical combinations with two 13-inch pipes the same way as you did for the upper frame. Combine them using four lengths of 21-inch pipes, two at the corners and two inside. The lower frame for your lighting system is complete.

Step 6

Connect the upper and lower frames together by inserting four 36-inch PVC pipe lengths into the unused fittings. Cap four 2-inch pipes and attach them to the openings at the base to serve as 'legs' for the lighting system.

Step 7

Attach your fluorescent lights to the upper frame with the chains provided with them, or attach them to S-hooks with chains for added length. Attach shelving strips to the base of the system with plastic fastening strips, and apply caulking at their ends to cover sharp edges. Connect the system to an electric outlet with an extension cord and timer.

Things You'll Need

  • Four 10-foot long PVC pipes, 1-inch diameter
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • 12 T-fittings
  • 8 L-fittings
  • 4 X-cross fittings
  • 4 1-inch caps
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Chain and hooks
  • 2 48-inch shelving strips
  • Caulking tube
  • Extension cord

References

  • "University of Florida IFAS Extension: How to Build a Plant Lighting System"

Who Can Help

  • "University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Plants"
Keywords: indoor plants, plant lighting system, indoor plant lighting

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.