My Advice for How to Use Artificial Lights for Houseplants


There are different types of artificial lights available, each with its unique characteristics and strengths.

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Rooms with low-light and short days in the Winter can be really tough for houseplants. Houseplants do not like the lack of sunlight! I have taken steps to ensure we do not have any houseplant casualties by supplementing our plants with artificial light to keep our plants happy and healthy no matter the time of year!

If you don’t have the best natural light in your home,  adding LED grow lights can make all the difference! Adding artificial light gives them what they need to stay happy and healthy! I have one in my bedroom, my foyer, one in our dining room, and one in our sunporch. They’re all on self-timers that we adjust depending on the time of year. When you see our house from the street, it looks beautiful and perhaps a little crazy.

Sunlight provides the perfect balance of wavelengths necessary for your plants to grow and thrive. But you’ll find that most homes are low in ideal natural light, and unless you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse or solarium attached to your home, providing sufficient light to your houseplants will likely be a challenge.

Luckily, artificial lights can substitute sunlight, stimulating photosynthesis and providing the right color spectrum for your houseplants to grow and flourish. With the correct information on how to use artificial lights for houseplants and the perfect grow lights, you can have happy houseplants all year round or even delicious tomatoes in the dead of winter. Isn’t that wild?

There are different types of artificial lights available, each with its unique characteristics and strengths. Your houseplants need blue wavelength light to grow, which encourages photosynthesis, chlorophyll absorption, and foliage growth. They also need red wavelength light to promote budding, flowering, and fruiting. Artificial lights have different wavelength outputs, so be sure to check when buying.

The Lights We Use:

My advice/tips for using artificial lights for your houseplants.

1. Fluorescent Grow Lights

Fluorescent lights are the most popular choice for houseplant lovers for supplementing light during the winter months. They are ideal for plants with low to medium light requirements, such as African violets, and excellent for starting plants off with seeds and encouraging flowering.

They are by far the most economical and easy choice for houseplants and have a low heat signature, so you can put them close to plant foliage. Generic fluorescent bulbs and tubes are higher in blue wavelengths, so go for full-spectrum or use a mix of “warm” and “cool” bulbs.

2. LED Lights

LED artificial lights offer the latest technology on the market today. They are exceptionally energy-efficient, have an ultra-low heat output, and provide an ideal light spectrum range, making them the most efficient and effective way to grow houseplants.

LED grow lights typically provide full-spectrum lighting, but many can also be customized to the specific wavelength your plants need. This means you can use it throughout your plants’ cycle. Depending on the plants, leave them on for no more than 16 hours daily to best simulate ideal sunlight conditions.

3. Incandescent Grow Lights

Incandescent lights are perfect for growing low-light houseplants, such as dracaenas vines or ferns. They put out only about 10 percent of their energy as light while 90 percent is heated, so they aren’t ideal for growing light-loving houseplants like succulents, tropicals, or cacti.

Since incandescent bulbs produce a lot of heat, don’t place them near plant foliage. These grow lights also produce more red wavelengths, so you can use them to encourage your plants to bloom or supplement fluorescent lights and balance out the spectrum.

4. HID Lights

High-Intensity Discharge or HID lights are extremely energy efficient. High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) lights are the best artificial lights for houseplants. MH lights produce blue light, while HPS lights produce red light.

If you want to promote vegetative growth, the MH lights are ideal, but you’ll have less flowering. On the other hand, the red hues of HPS are perfect for producing buds and flowers, but plants will be less sturdy. To get the best results, use them in tandem, starting with MH lights to promote leafy growth before swapping in HPS lights to encourage your plants to flower.

Grow lights are no match for a sunny day, but sometimes it is necessary to supplement natural light with artificial light. They are a great way to provide your houseplants with optimal conditions to flourish.

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