Grow Lights: Podcast Ep#63
Any houseplant parent can feel at ease knowing you don't need to put every plant next to a window in order to be successful. You can find the perfect grow light for your living space. Whether you need budget friendly, a sleek design, increased flowering, or herb and houseplant foliage growth; there is a grow light option for every plant parent!
Why Grow Lights?
People use grow lights to supplement the natural light that isn't available to grow plants. Some simply don't have enough light, some want to be able to place plants anywhere in their home (regardless of where a window is) and others are trying to grow vegetation for cooking or healing.
Types of Light
This can be overwhelming to anyone trying to figure out what kind of grow light you need. I am only giving you the types of light you may run into for houseplants:
Full Spectrum Light: This is what the sun is providing and is the best option for optimal houseplant growth. Typically this is a combination of a range of white, red or blue light.
Red Light: This is used to promote flowers, fruit or vegetation. Only continued red light could cause plants to become leggy and not as compact growth.
Blue Light: Most successful to promote foliage growth. Only continued blue light could cause leaves to form smaller or deformed over time.
Types of Grow Lights
Adjustable Clamp Grow Lights: These are the most versatile options and are usually the most cost effective.
Black 3 Adjustable Lights, Dimmable Levels with Timer (USB): I have this one and love it! I only wish it wasn't USB but make sure to have an AC Adapter or wall plug that accepts USB plugs.
Silver Aluminum 3 Adjustable Lights, Dimmable Levels with Timer: This has a regular adapter, not USB.
Black 4 Adjustable Lights, Dimmable Levels with Timer and Adjustable Stand or Clip: You can place this on the floor with the stand feature or you can remove the stand and clip it onto a shelf with the clip feature
Panel Lights: These are great to place under and shelf or in a concealed place.
Dommia 2Pc Ultra Thin Plant Light: I have these on my plant shelf and love them! The only downfall is that they produce a yellow/orange light.
Acelpe 9-Level Dimmable Thin Plant Light: I don't have these but if you are looking for more of a regular white light, these are a great option!
Light Bulbs: If you have a lamp or fixture you already like or want to use this this is a great solution and sometimes the most cost effective. Just know, in order for grow lights to be effective, they need to be relatively close to your plants.
Soltech Solutions: These are the most expensive but can fit easily into any home with their sleek designs. If you decide to purchase the lights with the fixtures, there is some installation involved with wall and ceiling mounting.
Sansi Light Bulbs is a brand other houseplant parents online were raving about. They aren't too expensive, come in a variety of wattage, and have a 5 year warranty.
Full Spectrum Bulbs 3pk: I've bought bulbs similar to this from hardware stores. They may not provide the same intensity of the Sansi bulbs but they do help provide increase light.
GE Grow Light Bulb: I've also seen this recommended by a few houseplant accounts as well. Although this may not fit into every fixture, you could find a solution that fits on Amazon.
Fixtures: Just in case you don't have a lamp, a fixture or a bulb, here are some options:
Twisted Rope Pendant Lights with 3 light fixtures on the strand
I asked followers if they had any specific plant questions I could address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for the Oxalis...
"Can they stay on 24/7 or does your plant need to sleep?"
You do need to give your plants a rest at night to develop to their best potential. I wouldn't give them more than 16-18 hours of sunlight. Even some plants like Holiday Cactus or Poinsettia benefit from longer, darker periods to produce blooms.
"Best grow light on the market? From where?"
Based on the options I have seen in the market for houseplant parents, Soltech seems to be the highest quality light available that keeps design in mind. Since these are singular bulb fixtures, I don't think it is the best option for someone like me who has multiple places in my home where I need to add light.
"How much faster can I expect my plant to grow with a grow light versus regular window?"
This very dependent on your "microclimate" and the plant needs. Sun exposure in a north window is very different than a plant in a south window. Just know that providing something consistent like a grow light is much intense than any window in your home. In a window, the window panes themselves block some sunlight, there may be obstructions outside and with the earth's rotation the sun is always moving so you will never achieve the same consistency in a window.
"What's the best one for a beginner? For a plant stand? Stick on or lamp??"
I would base the answer off your space and your plants. I don't think you need to splurge on an expensive grow light when you don't know if it works in your space or if it is the right solution for your plants. You can easily find something like this on Amazon between $15-30. I would suggest getting a light with a timer, the ability to dim the light, and easily movable and adjustable light "arms" so you have the ability to experiment and see what works for your space and plants.
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Love, Holly (Owner & Creator of Houseplant Homebody LLC)