Too little light can cause a houseplant to slowly fade away. Deficient light, a common problem even for indoor plants near a sunny window, is easily solved by introducing an artificial light source into the plant’s growing environment. Factors that can affect whether an indoor houseplant grow light helps a plant thrive include the type of light, the color of the light and how long the light is used. Let’s take a look at these and some other things to consider when choosing an indoor grow light to help sustain a beloved houseplant.
Types of Lights
Varieties of light commonly used for lighting indoor plants in the home include incandescent lighting and CFL lighting, which stands for compact fluorescent lighting. When used to supplement light in a room with some sun, you can use only one type of bulb without worry that your plants are not receiving all the light they need.
Colors of Light
However, in rooms where artificial light is the only light source for houseplants, it is best to use two or more different types of lightbulbs to make sure that the full spectrum of artificial light is available for houseplants. In most cases, all this takes is mixing some CFL bulbs in with your incandescent lights to add missing light colors to a room.
Incandescent lights should be about half an arm’s length away from the plant. Because incandescent lights are warmer than CFL lights and could potentially burn a plant, incandescent bulbs need to be further away from the plant. CFL direct lighting can be placed slightly closer to plant foliage without worry of damaging a plant from heat.
Different types of plants require different durations of lighting depending on the amount of sun they need during the day. According to North Dakota State University, plants are divided into categories including short-day plants, day-neutral plants and long-day plants to indicate how much light they need. Short-day plants require around 8 hours of sunlight, while long-day plants require around 16 hours of sunlight, or more sun than dark. Day-neutral plants are plants that can thrive on both short-day and long-day schedules without significantly affecting the growth of the plants.
Growing houseplants indoors can seem like a simple task, but almost everyone knows a hapless houseplant lover who is forever tossing out plant friends who did not make it in her home. Keeping a plant healthy indoors essentially relies on three components: soil, light and nutrients. Knowing these three components of a healthy plant environment can help an unlucky indoor plant lover carve out a green thumb for indoor growing.
Resources About Indoor Plant Lighting:
North Dakota State University: Artificial Lights for Indoor Plants
University of Missouri Extension: Lighting Indoor Houseplants
Planttalk Colorado: Houseplants Artificial Light