How to Use Grow Lights for Indoor Plants (4 Actionable Steps)

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By Chris Lipsey

Do you have seedlings or indoor plants that you want to grow better? Or maybe you’re thinking of setting up an indoor garden?

If so, you’ve probably been thinking about using artificial lighting. In my experience, these make all the difference in how indoor seedlings and plants grow and flourish.

If you’re a beginner, you may be wondering how to use grow lights and choose the best indoor grow lights for your plants so that they grow and flourish quickly. That’s what we’re going to answer for you today.

Interested in building your own grow space? This DIY grow light system might be what you’re looking for.

How to Use Grow Lights

To use your kit correctly, know which kind of light you have. The type of you decide on will determine its correct use.

how to use grow lights 1

First, choose and purchase the right grow kit for your seedlings or house plants. You’ll want to pay attention to any and all specific instructions for the grow lamp model you choose through the whole set-up and use process.

Let’s take a look at some tips for how to use grow lights below.

1. Pick your location: The great thing about having grow lights is that you have so many new options for where you can put your plants. In the past, you had to keep them near windows with natural sunlight.

2. Find the right position: The key is to ensure every square inch of each plant is getting an even amount of light.

3. Program your lights: If your lights allow for programming, be sure to choose a setting that will benefit the type of plants you have.

4. Care and maintenance: Every plant has its own specific needs and requirements. Make sure you know them and take care of your seedlings and houseplants in the correct way.

Why Do You Need Grow Lighting?

There are a couple of different circumstances in which you might need grow lighting. One is if your indoor plants are too far away from a window.

why do you need grow lighting

The other is if you have plants that need more brightness than what they can get through the window. Even if your plant does seem to get enough sun from a window, a grow kit can still help make it grow strong and healthy.

Plants need light for photosynthesis to take place. Photosynthesis is the process in which your plant makes food out of light energy. Different kinds of plants have different direct sunray needs. While some plants may do well without much brightness, others require a great deal.

If you plan to grow seedlings or plants inside the house that need more brightness than will come through the window, get a grow kit in advance. You want your plants to grow well from the very beginning.

Use a Grow Light for Indoor Seedlings

Using a grow kit is one of the best things you can do to give your indoor plants a good start in life. The light from a grow kit will help your seedlings grow and flourish. It will make your plant much more likely to grow successfully and stay healthy.

Grow Lights Help Your Seedlings Survive

When you grow seedlings using grow kits, they are more likely to survive. You will also be more likely to be successful when transplanting them to an outdoor garden later on. This means that you are much less likely to waste seeds and soil. If you want to avoid leggy plants, a grow light can help with this, as well.

Grow Lights Let You Grow Plants Anywhere

You can grow seedlings anywhere you like with artificial lighting-no need to keep them close to windows and natural sources. If you find there is less light coming through a window than usual, you won’t have to move your plants to another part of the house.

What Are the Different Types of Grow Lights?

You need to know what types of plants you have to know which grow kit you need. Different plants need different light wavelengths. Research your seedling or indoor plant to find out which wavelengths are best for them.

different types of grow lights

Generally speaking, the blue end of the spectrum most benefits foliage. The red end of the spectrum is usually best for fruiting and flowering. To cover your bases, look for a grow light that provides the full spectrum. This will mean you can use it for all your indoor seedlings and plants.

You can find grow kits with different types of light sources. There are LED, fluorescent, HID, and incandescent grow lights available on the market. If you’d like, you can use a combination of lights in your grow space.

But deciding on LED vs HID grow lights or even fluorescent lighting might be a little confusing. Here’s the difference between them all:

LED Grow Lights

Light Emitting Diode (LED) grow lights can be expensive but have low operating costs. An LED grow light offers many benefits, including:

  • LED grow lamps use a minimal amount of power.
  • An LED bulb will emit minimal heat, cutting down on the chance of heat damage.
  • An LED strip is usually adjustable or programmable.
  • Emit both the blue and red band spectrums you need for the best plant growth.

Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent light is the most well-known and works well for vegetative growth and germination. A Fluorescent bulb is affordable and doesn’t produce as much heat as an incandescent light. You’ll want to look for a newer model of fluorescent tubes that offer the full light spectrum if you’d like to use them for flowering.

Further Reading: LED vs Fluorescent Lighting

HID Lighting

Like LED, HID lights are considered a higher quality indoor grow light. HID stands for ‘High-Intensity Discharge.’ HID grow lights, such as metal halide, are an older technology, but overall they are as effective as an LED light bulb. One drawback of HID is how they affect your eyes. The light intensity can cause vision damage if you’re not careful.

Incandescent Grow Lights

If you’re looking for an indoor grow light budget option, an artificial light using incandescent bulbs might be an acceptable choice. This will only work for two or three plants indoors if there isn’t any sun coming from a window.

If there is some natural source, then it will work well as an extra light output. This kind of bulb can lead to heat damage, so keep it at least two feet away from your houseplant.

How to Choose Grow Lights

Let’s go over how to choose the right option for growing plants indoors.

How to use grow lights

1. Look For an Option That You Can Program

Not all grow lights are created equal. In fact, there’s a lot of variation in quality and capability. Try to find grow kits that you can program. With this capability, you can adjust the intensity whenever you need to. You should also be able to set up schedules for automatic turn on and turn off.

2. Get a Grow Light That Prevents Overheating

Any grow kit you get should have a cooling system. This is especially important if you plan to leave the bright light on for extended periods of time. Not only can too much heat hurt the bulb, but it can also hurt your plants.

3. Ensure Your Grow Light Has the Right PAR

PAR stands for ‘Photosynthetically Active Radiation.’ This is the component that helps your plants with photosynthesis when they cannot get sunlight. You need to consider what kind of PAR the grow light provides. A higher number doesn’t always mean a better product. Ensuring that the light has even distribution among your plants is the primary concern.

4. Make Sure They Are High-Quality

You don’t want to end up with a wimpy grow lamp. Your growth source is an investment, and you want it to last. Grow light construction is very important. 

5. You May Need Several Grow Lights

One won’t be enough if you have a large surface area. What do I mean by surface area? I mean all the plants you need the brightness to cover. Find out how much surface area you need to cover before purchasing your kit.

6. Don’t Forget About Your Grow Tent

Its important to have a grow tent. Check out the best grow tents for indoor gardening.