5 Types Of Grow Lights For Your Indoor Plants

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As the temperatures drop, you may need to bring your sun-loving houseplants back indoors for the winter. Chances are, your plants look strong and healthy after a season outside, and you do not want to lose all that new growth when you bring them in. Adjusting from the natural environment outdoors to low light and humidity can be hard on plants, but there are some ways you can help ease that transition.

Increasing the humidity in your home is vital to keeping plants, mainly tropical varieties, alive and thriving. Lively Root states the humidity level in most homes averages around 35%, which is way too low for many plants. To keep your greenery happy, you will need a space with at least 50% humidity or higher for tropicals. Keeping your plants close together, adding a humidifier, misting regularly, and using pebble trays all help increase humidity. Once you have figured out how to produce enough moisture in the air, it's time to make sure you provide sufficient lighting, and there are many options from which to choose.

1. Incandescent

Incandescent grow lights are easy to find and inexpensive. Available at most hardware stores and online, you can buy a single bulb like the Philips Indoor Grow Light on Amazon for a simple clip-on light fixture for around $5. According to the University of Missouri Extension, incandescent bulbs are not considered the best choice for grow lights because they do not provide the amount of blue light plants need to encourage new growth. The bulbs also get hot, so if they are placed too close to a plant, they can scorch delicate leaves.

There are also some benefits to incandescent grow lights. If you have some natural light and need to supplement as the days get shorter, this may be a good choice for a small grouping of indoor plants. These bulbs also produce the same white light as a standard lightbulb, so your bulb can double duty as a grow light and task lighting in your living space.

2. CFL

Compact fluorescent lamps, known as CFLs, are another inexpensive grow light option to help keep your plants happy indoors. Unlike incandescent bulbs, not all CFLs work in just any standard light fixture, states 1000Bulbs, and some require specialty fixtures explicitly made to provide indoor lighting for plants. More basic CFL options, like the SunBlaster SL0900151 on Amazon, also fit in any standard light fixture. Epic Gardening suggests selecting a fixture with a reflector, or make your own with aluminum foil, to get the most light from your bulbs.

Although some options are more expensive, CFL grow lights last much longer than incandescent and produce less heat, so they can be placed closer to plants without burning them. Fluorescent lights are also much more energy-efficient, so even if you opt for pricier models, your initial investment may save you money in the long run.

3. Fluorescent tubes

Consider fluorescent tubes if you are setting up a shelf and need inexpensive lighting for several plants. There are different kinds of tube lights, but for growing plants, look for T5 tube grow lights which are the smallest of all the bulb options, with a diameter of only ⅝ inch. Because the bulbs come in three different sizes, ensure you get a light fixture that fits the T5 option when shopping.

Like CFLs, T5 fluorescent tube lights emit very little heat, so even if your plants are a few inches from the bulb, they will not get scorched. The benefit of the T5 tube over a standard T12 fluorescent light is that it is considered an intense lamp, states Smart Garden Guide. This bulb produces 200% more light than other tubes and a broader spectrum of light, making it the best option for a fluorescent tube grow light. And, like all fluorescent lights, the T5 is exceptionally energy efficient.

4. LED

LED grow lights are increasingly becoming the most popular option because they come in many shapes and sizes, along with several convenient features. You can buy single LED bulbs that fit in a standard fixture for about $30, or you can spend hundreds of dollars on a full-spectrum professional grow light. There are even smart LED bulbs. An adjustable tabletop or clip-on lamp, like the EZORKAS Grow Light on Amazon, is economical and efficient for the houseplant enthusiast just trying to keep their plants looking healthy over the winter.

Super Bright LEDs states many reasons to choose LED lights over other options. LED grow lights are designed with the full-color spectrum to mimic the full spectrum of sunlight, providing your plants with all the light they need to thrive. Like fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are also energy efficient and emit little to no heat. Since there are so many options to fit your specific needs, you can choose one with all the bells and whistles or a simple one that you can plug in to let it work its magic.

5. Natural sunlight

If you are fortunate enough to have a large south-facing window or a sunroom, then you might be able to get by simply using what you have. Generally speaking, indirect light from a window is not enough to keep a plant that requires direct sun thriving during the winter, but there are a few things to consider. South-facing windows get the most light, while windows on the north side of your house will get the least. A shelf in front of a large south-facing window might be exactly what you need to keep your plant alive, although it will be less likely to grow as quickly or bloom. Of course, you could supplement sunlight with any other grow light options.

According to Global Solarium, sunrooms are the perfect place to make the most of natural sunlight for indoor plants without supplementing with artificial light. A large grouping of plants in a sunroom will produce quite a bit of humidity themselves, and the sun will provide the full spectrum of light needed for plants to continue growing and blooming all winter long.