Plant Grow Lights: When And How To Use Them

Plant Grow Lights_ When And How To Use Them

Plant grow lights are artificial lights that mimic natural light sources to help plants grow. Naturally, they have increased in popularity as urban agriculture has flourished in the US. Read on to get expert tips on growing your plants under artificial lights.

The Necessity Of Plant Grow Lights

If you live in a home with limited sunlight, you might experience challenges growing plants naturally. Even miniature gardens need light to grow. In fact, in such a living situation, grow lights can help grow beautiful, healthy plants.

Grow lights can help cultivate many indoor plants, including houseplants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. So, learn how to use them properly to get the best results.

How Grow Lights Work

All plants need light to grow, but they have different needs.

Some plants need direct sunlight to survive, while some can grow in low light. Other plants need different amounts of sunlight. Some need less than eight hours of exposure, while others require more. Additionally, plants will need light from different ends of the color spectrum.

Grow lights help plants achieve optimal growth by mimicking the natural light plants need most. So, if you use the correct grow lights, your plants should photosynthesize adequately and thrive.

Choosing Grow Lights

The first step in helping indoor plants thrive is to choose the right grow-lights. This step involves considering the light’s type, wattage, color, and lumens. To start, determine which options will work best for your setup.

Plant Grow Lights

Types Of Plant Grow Lights

The most common types of grow lights are light-emitting diodes (LED) and CFL (fluorescent).

Due to their proven effectiveness, home gardeners have been using fluorescent lights for indoor plants for decades. Fluorescent grow lights are an affordable and readily available option for plants in need of artificial lights.

LED grow lights are relatively new in the market, and many consider them an upgrade from fluorescent lights. They last longer, cover a wider area and put out more light than traditional fluorescent lamps. However, LED lights can be expensive, some systems costing up to $3,000.


Check the wattage when choosing plant grow-lights. Basically, the wattage determines how much electricity an appliance needs to run. By knowing your lights’ wattage, you can calculate how expensive it will be to run your lights.


The color of your plant grow lightswill affect a specific plant activity. Here are some examples of the different effects of light color on plants:

  • Red light: essential for stem and leaf growth
  • Blue light: affects the chlorophyll and leaf thickness
  • Green light: can penetrate through thick canopies to support the leaves underneath


Lumens are a measure of how much light an apparatus gives off. In short, the more lumens grow lights produce, the more growable energy they have. Typically, plants need about 300–800 lumens per square foot to thrive.

Using Plant Grow Lights

Once you’ve decided on which grow lights you want, determine the type of bulb you need for your space. As a rule, plants need 20–40 watts per square foot. Divide your light bulb’s wattage by 40 and 20, and you should get your light intensity range. For example, if you’re using a 1,000-watt light bulb, it should cover about 25–50 square feet.

Grow Lights for Plants

Lighting Transplants

Seedlings and young plants grow well under full-spectrum lights, in both blue and red wavelengths. You can use either fluorescent or LED lights for such plants.

For best results, keep the light source within six inches of the plant.

Lighting Flowering Plants

Flowering plants need red light waves to prosper. Make sure to choose bulbs specifically designed to grow plants. They produce more red light waves than regular light bulbs.

Place your grow lights 12 inches away from these plants, and provide 16-hour light access daily.

LED Lighting

Timers And Automation

Given plants’ particular needs, it’s best to use plant grow lights that have timers. Advanced grow lights will adjust to shade movement, temperature controls, and watering schedules.

Research your plants’ needs and set automatic timers to match them.

Plant Grow Lights – The Wrap-up

No matter what floor size and sunlight availability your place has, you can grow healthy plants with plant grow lights. In fact, with a little research, the right lights, and dedication, you can turn any area into a beautiful garden.

Frequently Asked Plant Grow Light Questions

Not necessarily.

Remember that plants have different needs. You have to know how much light is ideal for your plant before using grow lights. Some plants will continue to grow despite being exposed to light indefinitely.

However, exposing them to light for too long can affect their growth cycles and ability to bloom.

LED grow lights have many advantages over fluorescent ones. They last longer, cover a broader area, and put out more light. But they are also typically more expensive. LED grow lights can sell for as much as $3,000. Some people are not willing to pay a premium for these advantages.

Fluorescent lights are excellent for personal use in small spaces.

Before buying grow lights, determine first how you’re going to use them. Think of your garden space, the amount of light you need, and the type of plants you’re growing. Afterward, you can choose the style, wattage, color, and lumens that will help your plants grow best.

Grow lights are artificial lights designed to help plants grow by recreating light spectrums similar to natural light sources.

No, plants can’t grow without light. They need it to survive. Light is crucial in photosynthesis, which enables plants to convert carbon dioxide and water into food. Without light, plants can’t photosynthesize and get the nutrition they need to grow.

If your living area doesn’t have enough sunlight access, you should consider getting a grow light for your plants.


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