You may want to grow seeds, herbs, or flowers indoors but face a light shortage. In this case, you can consider a supplementary light source, which you set up to help grow your indoor plants.
But, before we go further, what are grow lights, and what are their benefits? This article is a guide to what grow lights are, their types, and how you can use them to grow your indoor plants. We've also given a step-by-step procedure for the grow light setup in your room. Take advantage of the tips you can use to make the whole process inexpensive and effective.
You can buy a complete grow light set up from several manufacturers. However, the DIY grow light system is less expensive and much more affordable than the one you buy. Read through to learn the best approach to growing plants indoors using grow lights.
How to Set up Grow Lights - The Complete Guide
Follow the steps below to set up your indoor grow light systems.
Assemble the shelving. Be sure to follow the instructions as given in the user manual. You should put the shelving units adjacent to the electrical outlet.
Attach the grow lights into place on the light fixtures. Fix the grow lights to the shelves using S-hooks and chains.
Put the heat mats on the shelf's base.
On top of the heat mats, put the growing trays.
Configure the timer settings. You can set it to fourteen hours in a day. You can be flexible enough and set it to eighteen hours per day.
Plugin the mats into the power strip. Do the same to the lights.
Connect the strips to the timer and connect it to a power source.
Note that you need to raise the shelf or the grow light as your plants grow taller (increase in height). Also, ensure to include a timer in your setup. A simple tip to consider is as you increase the brightness, reduce the timer time intervals.
What Materials Will You Need
To set up a grow light, you need the following list of materials.
Grow lights (four feet)
Shop lights (four feet)
What Is a Grow Light
A grow light is an artificial indoor light source made from an electric lighting system to replicate natural sunlight. This light is essential in the growth and photosynthesis process of indoor plants. In doing so, you'll be able to grow healthy indoor plants.
The grow light is set up based on the color spectrum of natural sunlight. They try to replicate all the colors in the spectrum, ranging from red to violet, to create the same effect as natural sunlight. You'll need LED grow lights for your indoor home growth.
Fluorescent bulbs grow lights are also good alternatives. However, commercial growers should consider additional and more advanced lighting options for their in-growth.
What Are the Types of Grow Lights?
There are several types of grow lights, which may make choosing one that suits you challenging. However, the four most common types are fluorescent, LED, HID, and incandescent.
Incandescent Grow Lights
You're most likely to walk into an incandescent grow light more often than any other grow light type. They are also more affordable than other options and locally available in stores. Despite their pros, this type of grow light produces much heat that may be unconducive for plants' life. They have a scorching effect on indoor plants. They also consume more power and have short durability.
Fluorescent grow lights are made from fluorescent tubes. They can also appear in the form of spiral bulb designs. They produce the right amount of heat which is conducive to indoor plant growth. These lights have lower power consumption and last longer than incandescent grow lights.
What's amazing about this type of grow light is that they produce the full spectrum. This feature makes it resourceful for flowering and vegetable plants. The only downside is a higher price of these grow lights.
LED Grow Light
The Light Emitting Diode grow lights are made from several tiny diodes, each emitting light. They are considered the more advanced grow lights because of their wavelength range.
They also produce little to no heat, making them ideal for plant growth. LED lights are also energy-efficient, and you can customize them depending on the specific color needed for your plants. However, they are pricier than other options, making them unaffordable.
HID Grow Lights
High-Intensity Discharge lights are grow lights made with electrodes and bulbs. An electric current application causes a reaction with the gas, producing bright light. They are widely used by commercial and greenhouse growers. They produce more intense light ideal for large-scale growth. This grow light is the closest to the natural sun as it has a wide range of colors and grow light intensity.
HID grow lights exist in two categories; High-Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide. The High-Pressure Sodium produces yellow light while the Metal Halide produces blue light. The HID grow light may be better than LED grow lights.
What Light Color Do You Need?
With all colors having specific uses in the growth of your indoor plants, grow lights come in different colors. Below, we have discussed the various colors in the color spectrum and when to use them.
- The cool spectrum includes violet, blue, and green. This color spectrum is essential in the plants' smell, test, and color. They range from four hundred to five hundred nanometers. The chlorophyll absorbs blue light to use in photosynthesis, thereby helping the plant make its own food.
- The warm spectrum includes red, orange, and yellow colors. These colors are essential in growing strong plants, flowering plants, and the growth of more vegetation. The red color is the key player here.
The red color still plays a role in germinating seeds indoors, while the yellow and orange come in handy in the overall plant growth. They range from five hundred and eighty to seven hundred nanometers.
- The full-spectrum grow lights are the best as far as indoor plants are concerned. They are the closest to the natural sunlight, emitting all the colors for the best plant growth. Red and blue are the most important colors in the spectrum for plant growth. However, using these colors alone may weaken your plants and make them grow slowly.
The Proximity of the Grow Light to Your Plants
How far or near the grow light is to your plants is a key consideration when setting up the grow light. Keeping these lights too close or far from the plants may affect the quality of the plants and their growth rates.
First, you need to hang the grow lights above your plants. This arrangement ensures an even distribution of light to the plants. Putting the grow light at an angle will cause the plants to grow towards the direction of the light.
The amount of heat the grow light produces determines how far you place the light. For instance, put the grow light at least two feet from the plants if using an incandescent grow light. This feature is because this light produces a lot of heat which may scorch your plants.
A separation distance of one foot is enough if using fluorescent grow light. However, LED lights can be as close as six inches to your plants because they do not produce heat.
What Plants Can You Grow Indoors Using Grow Lights?
There is a wide range of plant varieties you can grow indoors using grow lights. Among them are:
- Indoor herb gardens - You can grow culinary, recreational, or medicinal herbs, including marijuana, indoors during the winter seasons. These herbs need more light to have dense foliage. The grow light provides the extra light needed for healthy growth.
- Indoor vegetables - Grow lights are very effective in growing leafy and root vegetables. Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and much more need ample light for healthy and fast growth, which the grow lights provide.
- Indoor microgreens - These indoor plants are immature edible greens grown under a controlled light environment. These plants grow well under grow lights ensuring the right nutrients and flavor.
Benefits of Using Grow Lights
Grow lights have the following benefits when you use them to grow your indoor plants.
- Grow lights are less expensive. When you compare the cost of purchasing garden transplants to that, you'll incur to set up grow lights, and you will realize that it is more affordable to set up the grow lights.
- The grow light allows you to grow a variety of plants indoors, including those limited by nurseries.
- It allows you to control the plant quality. You can customize the grow light depending on the specific plant needs, ensuring quality control for healthy plants.
- Grow lights ensure continuity of plant life even in unconducive weather conditions like snow during winter seasons.
How to setup grow lights indoors
Grow lights are resourceful in ensuring indoor plant growth. It has proven effective in growing herbs, vegetables, and microgreens, including your cannabis plants. The best grow light to use is LED grow lights because they produce no heat to scorch the plants.
They also have a wide wavelength range, ensuring fast and healthy plant growth. Large-scale indoor growth will require you to consider HID grow lights that have the right intensity and color range.