Indoor garden lighting is probably the most important thing for your garden. Plants need light. Ideally sunlight, but you can also supplement or entirely replace this with artificial light from indoor grow lights.
Different plants have different needs for sunlight supply. Some prefer shade while others like direct sunlight. You’ll need to refer to the instructions that came with the seed packet or plant.
For indoor plants that require direct sunlight, window sills are the obvious place to put them. My herb garden is on the kitchen’s window sill, which gets the morning sun. Remember to keep curtains or blinds open to maximise their exposure.
Another option is to put plants needing lots of light into a conservatory if you’re lucky enough to have one! Large glass sliding doors are great for letting light in. We have these in our flat and it works wonders. We have lots of light.
The important thing to remember with artificial indoor lighting is that plants require the certain spectrum of light to grow properly. Ordinary incandescent light bulbs don’t supply the range of light needed for grow lighting.
These are the traditional non-energy saving light bulbs we’re familiar with. They provide a warmer glow. This can supplement the natural light of plants that only get some sun, but need more than they are getting (maybe because of the season).
They can also be used as decorative lighting on plants. Be careful not to put them too closely to the plant. They generate heat and may burn the plant’s leaves. They are also inefficient.
Look at halogen lights (those little bulbs often used for down lights) for a more intense light that serves the same purpose.
Fluorescent light was designed to provide a more sun-like spectrum of light than normal light bulbs. This makes them more appropriate for horticultural lighting. Fluorescent bulbs include the new energy-saving bulbs (CFLs = compact fluorescent light bulb) that we’re switching to to reduce energy consumption, as well as the strip lights that are used to light offices and fish-tanks.
When using fluorescent grow lights for your plants, you may want to combine a cool white one with one that provides slightly warmer light to expand the spectrum provided to your plants.
There are other indoor garden lighting options that are more likely to suit an experienced gardener:
- HPS Lighting. High Pressure Sodium lights stimulate flower and fruit production more than any other type of light bulb.
- Metal Halide lights. MH lights provide a lot of light in the blue spectrum. Blue spectrum light keeps plants compact and is great for leafy growth. Best used in conjunction with HPS.
HPS and MH lights are called High Intensity Discharge lights (HID lights). They are very efficient at converting electricity into light.
LED grow lights are a newer option for indoor garden lighting. A lot of people think they shouldn’t be used for decorative lighting of plants because they give the plants an unnatural glow. The benefit is that they are incredibly energy efficient.
To make best use of the available indoor light, you can follow some of these tips:
- Use shelving to position plants so they receive the most light
- If using artificial lighting, use grow light reflectorsaround the light to make most effective use of the light
- When looking for cheap grow lights, remember you’ll have to consider a lot more than the upfront cost!
For your indoor garden, lighting is one of the key things you need to get right to ensure proper growth. This is especially true if your home is not well lit.