Light is an important contributor in the growth of plants. Outdoor plants mostly use natural sources of light to fulfill their needs. To provide indoor plants with sufficient amount of light, different artificial lights can be used.
Following are some of the artificial light sources that can be used for indoor vegetation.
Fluorescent lights are suitable for plants that have a very low requirement of light. It is one of the most economical options for plant lighting and can do the job on a budget. Since they don’t emit large amount of heat, they can also be put close to plant foliage.
Fluorescent lights come in tubes and bulbs, and emit blue light which is good for the foliage growth. If you are growing leafy vegetable indoor, then this is the lighting fixture for you.
The problem with traditional fluorescent lamps is they don’t provide a full spectrum of wavelengths. Therefore for indoor lighting, they should be accompanied by other types of artificial lights. Fluorescent lights are now available in compact casing which is more efficient than conventional T5 fluorescent tubes.
Apart from leafy vegetables, compact fluorescent lights can be used to grow carnivorous plants and moth orchids.
Light emitting diodes (LED) is also an economical and energy sufficient lighting option. Due to more customizing options, LED lights can be selected in a number of color wavelengths depending on the type of plant you’re growing. If you have flowering and fruiting plants indoors then blue and red LEDs can assist their growth.
Instead of using LED lamps for general use, you can get horticulture light bulbs especially designed to light indoor plants.
The incandescent lamp is one of the oldest forms of electric light. It has been in use for nearly 100 years. However due to its heat emission, it is not suitable for many plants.
Incandescent lights only use 10% of their energy to produce light. Therefore, they are only good for plants that don’t need much light such as ferns and dracaenas.
Halogen lamps can be a good lighting option if you have large indoor vegetation because they are capable of covering large areas with their emitted light.
High Intensity Discharge Lamps
High Intensity Discharges, commonly known as HID lamps, are the brightest light source available for indoor gardening. Due to their greater luminescence, they are an expensive lighting option. There are several HID lamps available in the market so let’s discuss the ones that are suitable for indoor plants.
Metal Halide HID Lamps
Metal halide HID lamps can be used as primary light source of lighting for indoor plants because it is good for the growth of leaves and stems of indoor plants.
High Pressure Sodium HID Lamps
These HID lamps emit red-orange wavelength which is good for flowering plants. High pressure sodium lamps can be used as supplementary light source with metal halide lamps to create an ideal lighting environment for almost all types of indoor plants.
Which type of artificial light to use and how long should they be kept on depends on the type of plants you want to grow. Most plants need 10 to 12 hours of light per day while there are some fruiting plants that need up to 16 hours of light daily.