Gardening indoors allows you to grow herbs, fruits and veggies as if you are outdoors, but without being victim to bad weather. A simple set of grow lights helps seeds develop into strong and tough plants.
By learning how plants use grow lights and about the different types of light fixtures, you can select an indoor lighting system right for the plants you want to grow.
7 Tips to Get the Most Growth Under Grow Lights:
1. Pick the right light
T12 fluorescent bulbs provide ample light for seedlings. T8 fluorescent fixtures provide more light, which can be better for more mature plants, and some are Energy Star rated. High efficiency T5 fluorescent bulbs are so bright that one T5 does the work of two traditional bulbs. LED tube lights are the brightest and most efficient choice. They cost a little more than fluorescent, but last for decades, use 43 percent less energy and give off very little heat.
2. Lights out
Plants need rest. Almost all plants benefit from six or more hours of darkness a day. A good rest allows plants to recuperate from a long day of growth and setting of buds and fruit. To make this task easier, use a timer to control lights.
3. The perfect temperature
Warm conditions are ideal for seed germination, so invest in a seed-heating mat or keep plants in a warm location. Once germinated, seedlings benefit from cool temperatures. Lower the room temperature to be five to ten degrees cooler at night. A digital thermostat can be added to do this automatically.
Seedlings need 14 hours of light a day. When you see the first leaves sprout, move plants two inches below florescent lights or four inches below high-output LED lights. Lights suspended from chains can be easily adjusted to accommodate growing plants.
Rotate plants weekly. The light is more intense in the center of the bulbs than at the ends, so this will help them grow more evenly. As seedlings grow, move them to 4-inch diameter containers with potting soil to accommodate roots. Allow enough space between plants so the leaves barely touch.
Plants grown indoors under lights will dry out quicker than others. Check water daily. Seedlings should be moist, but not soggy. Overwatering is the number one killer of plants.
Plants grown indoors will quickly consume the nutrients from the soil. Give plants a boost with an organic fertilizer every other week.