How to Grow Plants Under Fluorescent Lights


You have many choices in artificial lighting for growing plants indoors. Although high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting is often recommended for many indoor gardening tasks, recent introductions and advancements in full-spectrum fluorescent lighting make this a viable alternative for indoor gardening. Using fluorescent lighting to grow plants inside is not difficult.

Step 1

Look for chain attachment hooks on your fluorescent fixture. Some fixtures designed for indoor grow-light usage will have built-in hooks. If yours doesn't, you will need to attach the chains using nuts and bolts.

Step 2

Measure the distance from the ceiling to the top of your growing surface using a tape measure.

Step 3

Cut four lengths of chain to the distance measured between the ceiling and growing surface. Use wire cutters or bolt cutters, depending on the thickness of your chain.

Step 4

Drill a hole in each corner of your fixture if it doesn't already have hooks to connect the chain. Make the holes large enough for bolts that will also pass through the chain.

Step 5

Attach the chain to the fixture corners with a nut and a bolt.

Step 6

Set the fixture on the table and screw hooks into the ceiling for the fixture's chains.

Step 7

Raise the light several feet above the growing surface.

Step 8

Install your full-spectrum tubes.

Step 9

Place your plants below the lights and lower the fixture until it is 2 to 3 inches above the top of the plants.

Step 10

Turn the fluorescent lights on. Leave them on for 10 to 12 hours per day.

Step 11

As your plants grow, raise the fixture to maintain a 2- to 3-inch gap between the top of the plants and the light.

Things You'll Need

  • Fluorescent fixture
  • Tape measure
  • Chain
  • Wire or bolt cutters
  • Full-spectrum fluorescent tubes
  • Drill
  • Nuts
  • Bolts
  • Hooks


  • University of Hawaii: Growing plants indoors under supplemental lighting
  • ACF Greenhouse: Indoor Plant Grow Light Guide
  • Wayne's This and That: Fluorescent Plant Lighting
Keywords: fluorescent lighting, fluorescent grow lights, indoor gardening

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for National Public Radio, the Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.