With the efficient, cheap grow lights available now, there's just no excuse for growing pale, spindly house plants.
Light is food for a plant. Some plants will tolerate shade, but they may not grow or bloom without more light. Fortunately, it's easier than ever to supplement natural sunlight with artificial light indoors. And your options have changed quite a bit in recent years.
Whether you're starting trays of seedlings, or you just want to keep your African violet in bloom throughout the winter, you'll find the right kind of light here to suit your needs. Here are some of the best values on quality, low-cost grow lights.
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Fluorescent lights are efficient in giving off the blue and red rays that plants need. In fact, you can grow plants under fluorescents where there isn't any natural sunlight at all -- adding new life to a dark corner table or shelf.
To create a light garden under fluorescent lights, the light tubes or bulbs should be placed 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) above the tops of the leaves. Plants that require full sun, such as herbs and many flowers, can be placed a little closer to the light.
As a rule of thumb, give your foliage plants 12 to 14 hours a day under a grow light. Flowering plants need more time under the light -- 16 hours a day will give them more blooming power.
Be sure to turn the grow lights off. Plants need a rest, too.
Using an automatic timer with your lights will ensure that your plants get the same hours of light each day. It couldn't be easier -- just set it and forget it.
While many common house plants will grow well under ordinary fluorescent tubes, some require a more balanced light quality with full-spectrum grow lights. Give plants that prefer full sunlight (herbs and vegetables grown indoors) full-spectrum lighting.
Get more options for fluorescent grow lights plus some tips for choosing the best lights for your plants.
Need more space? These multi-tier indoor plant lights provide the room you need for your plants with built-in light fixtures.
Starting seeds indoors? Get the basics on seed starting plus find out what type of light you need to grow healthy seedlings.