In order for plants to live they must have different types of light. Plants absorb the light around them, converting it into food and resources to grow. Plants require different types of light in different quantities to promote plant growth. Understanding the types of light for plant growth enables gardeners to have healthier plants that yield higher bloom, seed and fruit volumes.
One type of light for plant growth is white light. White light is a primary light that used in normal household bulbs. However, plants need only small amounts of white light. The University of Missouri Extension warns that incandescent bulbs do not provide enough of the different types of light needed for plant growth.
The primary rays of light plants need are red. These are found in some quantities in incandescent bulbs. Plants can receive red light from artificial plant grow lights and from fluorescent bulbs. The University of Missouri Extension advises to use soft white fluorescent bulbs if indoor gardeners do not want to purchase and use specialty grow lights.
Rays of blue light are the third type needed for plant growth. Incandescent bulbs carry no blue light at all. According to the University of Missouri Extension, gardeners can now purchase "self-reflectorized spot lamps coated to emit more blue light." Plants must have a balance of blue light and red light to do well.
Many new indoor gardeners place plants near windows or in sunny rooms. They mistakenly think the plants will receive enough natural lighting to flourish. The University of Missouri Extensions advises plants further than 10 feet from a window will not receive adequate natural lighting. Some low-light plants will suffer from too much light if placed in windows receiving light from the south. If in doubt, the best windows for natural lighting are ones receiving light from the east and west. These windows give medium light levels.