Planning to grow plants indoors? Whether you are planning on growing traditional house plants, caucus, or vegetables, choosing the best grow light for indoor gardening is one of the most important. So let’s figure out what kind of light is best for indoor plants.
The first thing you need to do is understand the basics of what light is.
Let’s take a general look at what light is for us non-scientists.
The light that we see merges all the rainbow colors, which means that white light can be split into colors. If you have ever looked at light through a crystal, then you know just what I mean.
We see most light as white; however, your plants see the world very differently.
Why is this important to know when choosing the best kind of light for indoor plants?
Your plants need certain colors of the rainbow to grow.
Plants use the light emitted from the blue spectrum to grow green lush foliage.
They use light from the red end of the spectrum to grow fruits and flowers.
So if you are growing things like leafy house plants, you should be more concerned about giving your plants blue spectrum light.
For vegetables and flowers, you need to think red.
But how do I know what kind of light I am buying?
Every light sold comes with a standard label. Learning to read these labels correctly can ensure your plants get the right kind of light.
Lumens vs. Kelvins
Lumens are the brightness of the bulb. The typical 60-watt incandescent bulb is 800 lumens, and in comparison, a 100-watt incandescent bulb is 1600 lumen.
Kelvins indicates what color the light is. DON’T be confused by the term color on the Kelvin chart. Lights will still appear white to your eye! Our eyes are not able to distinguish light color spectrum; however, your plants can.
The terms lumens and Kelvins are not actually related, and it does seem odd, but you can have a higher bulb in lumens and lower on the Kelvin scale and the other way around.
There is no lumen to Kelvin’s calculator or conversion chart. A warmer or high kelvin number may seem brighter because our eyes interpret light, but the numbers have no relation.
I like to think of lumens and Kelvins in simple terms. Lumen is how bright we see the light, while Kelvins is how a plant sees the light.
In other words, a really bright light isn’t automatically good for your plants.
The light that is best for your plants is dependent on what you are trying to accomplish.
When starting seeds, the best light for your plants is on the blue side of the scale.
This means that you need to have a light that has a kelvin spectrum around 5000k -6500k. Plants use this end of the spectrum to grow stems and leaves and giving your seedling easy and plentiful access to blue light will help them grow bigger and stronger.
To grow more flowers and fruits, choose red light.
When your plants are grown and it’s time to start producing flowers and fruits, the best grow light for your indoor gardening goals will be in the lowest Kelvin range, and a 2700k to 3000k will give your plants the energy they need to produce fruit.
Are blue and red lights the best kind of lights for indoor plants?
I like the red and blue lights. They are simple to use because regardless of what your goals for your indoor gardening are, they will provide the right kelvin. You can set up a light and ensure that your plants will always get their light needs fulfilled.
There are many varieties of these color lights available. The main thing you need to know is that at night the light will appear colored. They give off a colorful glow to your room. Some people may not appreciate the colors, and it is a personal choice.
Having a mix of both types of lights can be a helpful way to manage your indoor garden. The lights that I make and sell at my store are a mix of both red/blue grow lights and white light in one product. I prefer to see white and still give my plants the extra benefits of the perfect light.
What lights are NOT the best grow lights for your indoor plants?
- Never choose a grow light based on its lumen number or brightness. Remember that brightness is not something that your plants care about. A really bright light in a 4500-kelvin range is not nearly as helpful to your plants as a light with a lower lumen number in the right color range.
- Don’t try to get a light that will hit both ends of the spectrum by purchasing a light in the 4000k range. Unfortunately, you can not find the center to satisfy both ends. What will happen is that you will not be helping either the foliage or fruiting
The distance from the grow light to your plants’ matters
Different types of lights have different effective ranges.
An incandescent light will be effective only if your plants are very close to the light. However, with incandescent bulbs, there is a problem. Incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat, and this heat can burn your plants. So never put an incandescent bulb closer than 24″ from your plants. These bulbs are not the best grow lights for indoor gardening because of this problem.
Fluorescent grow lights are a better choice. They give off just a small amount of heat. These bulbs typically come in long lengths, so setting them up over a shelf or window is easy. The light does disperse quickly, so they are most effective within 12″ of your garden.
LED grow lights may be the best choice. These lights can be placed as close as a couple of inches from your plants up to 36″ from the top of the leaves. The distance will depend on the wattage of the light. In general, the higher the watts, the farther you can go.
LED grow lights allow a lot more flexibility in setting up your indoor gardening space
What about the cost to run grow lights?
All lighting packages include the information as seen above, and the packages also include the cost of running the light.
Knowing the best type of light, knowing the cost, and using grow lights with natural light will lead to a great indoor garden without a huge expense.
LED Grow light tape
This is my favorite kind of light because it is so easy and flexible to use.
I hope that you found this information helpful. Please remember to like, and follow me. Thanks