Quite a few people have taken to growing plants indoors these days. After all, not everyone has ample space outside to grow decorative flowers or plant a nice herb garden. At the same time, having indoor plants offers numerous benefits, such as reducing stress, improving indoor air quality, and brightening your disposition. Still, if you’re like many people, you probably find that those plants you bring into your home don’t live long enough to provide those helpful effects. If that’s so, the problem could lie in the types of lights you’re using to nourish those plants or a lack thereof as the case may be.
Shedding Light on Your Houseplants
Countless people feel their green thumbs lose their luster when it comes to indoor plants. Many of them are right, but that’s not because they don’t try their best to keep those plants healthy and happy. Instead, it’s often because they’re not giving their botanical buddies enough of the right types of light to help them flourish. Companies like Agron offer grow lights, or lights that are specifically designed to generate the types of light plants require. They’ll give your plants a much-needed boost and keep them alive so they can benefit you in return.
Why Do Plants Need Light?
Plants need certain elements to grow and thrive. They require nutrients that they glean from the soil. They also need air to help keep their roots reasonably dry and their stems and leaves ventilated. Additionally, they need carbon dioxide from the air around them to help them create food. Like most living things, plants are made mostly of water. That means they must have a steady supply of moisture to keep them hydrated and healthy as well.
On top of all that, plants need plenty of light. Their leaves draw in energy from light. From there, the energy combines with carbon dioxide, moisture, and nutrients to allow the plants to create their own food. It’s a process known as photosynthesis. Without light, plants can’t carry out photosynthesis. Even if they’re getting all the air, water, vitamins, and minerals they need, they just can’t do anything with those components. Therefore, they turn brown and wither away before our eyes.
What Types of Light Do Plants Need?
Having said all that, not just any type of light will suffice. Those incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs in your overhead lights and table lamps won’t generally help plants to generate food. They may accent those plants, but they don’t produce the types and amounts of light your indoor plants are able to absorb. Grow lights, on the other hand, are designed to mimic the types of light plants would receive outdoors from the sun.
Different plants require varying types and amounts of sunlight. Some require full sunlight for at least six hours per day. Others crave a little sunlight but also need a certain amount of shade to keep them from burning. Some plants want very little sunlight but still need a bare minimum to generate their food. It’s important to research the types of plants you want to nurture indoors to understand their specific requirements.
In general, plants that grow outdoors often need different types of light depending on the season. They may crave several hours of strong blue light during the summer months but require a smaller amount of weaker red and orange light when autumn rolls around. Those changes in the types of light filtering down from the sun and alterations in the lengths of the days give plants certain cues. They tell the plants when to stop growing and start producing vegetables or when to start conserving food so they’ll have enough to last once the cooler, shorter days kick in.
Certain species only want the red and orange light they’d receive outside during the autumn months. Others are only drawn to blue summertime light. Sometimes, plants just aren’t that picky as long as they’re getting some variation of light that resembles what they’d receive in nature. Again, it all depends on what you’re growing.
Exploring Different Types of Grow Lights
Due to the varying needs of plants, several types of grow lights are on the market. Each one has its own benefits for growing indoor plants. It’s important to mention that standard incandescent lights can be used in some instances. If you take this route, you’ll need to keep the lights at least a couple of feet from your plants because they produce more heat than the plants can tolerate. Keep in mind, only certain types of plants can thrive with incandescent bulbs, and even then, that type of light works best when it’s combined with plenty of natural sunlight.
Some types of fluorescent bulbs can also be used to foster plant growth. They’re not quite the same as the fluorescent bulbs you may be using in your kitchen or laundry room, though. Those designed for plants generate a broader spectrum of light, so they’ll accommodate the needs of your plants. If you’re going to use fluorescent lights, be sure to find bulbs that are made for growing plants. LED blue lights are also available. Many of them produce a broad spectrum of light to accommodate the needs of several types of plants.
High-intensity discharge lights are also popular for growing indoor plants. Two primary types of lights fall into this category: high-pressure sodium and metal halide. Metal halide bulbs produce blue light, which is perfect for the vegetative stages of some plants. It’s also nice for species that typically only thrive outdoors during the summer months. High-pressure sodium bulbs generate red and orange light that mimics the sun in autumn.
Keeping Your Indoor Plants Happy
Growing plants indoors gives you the opportunity to enjoy their beauty as well as all their other benefits. It’ll also give you the power to cultivate herbs, vegetables, flowers, and other bounties all year long rather than only during the standard growing season. One of the keys to keeping your plants healthy, though, is ensuring they get the types and amounts of light they need to convert nutrients, moisture, and carbon dioxide into food. Though not all indoor lights foster the process, grow lights are designed for just that purpose.