The Best Indoor Plants Lighting Ideas


As the world continues to urbanize, we seem to loose more and more touch with the natural world. In addition, more people want products that are organically grown, free of harmful pesticides. These dual streams of desire are part of the green revolution that is spreading across the globe, and a snapshot of that revolution can be seen in the number of people who are growing plants and/or gardens indoors. Can artificial light help in this process? Yes!

Incandescent bulb, for instance, transfers 80% of its energy in the form of heat, which can help plants to grow. Other types of lamps are even better (and more green) in helping plants, flowers, herbs and other vegetal life to sprout and thrive. Two options for using light to help your plants are: 1) placing a plant in a light fixture, and, 2) shining light on your plants from outside the plant holder.

Don’t forget to include daylight in your plant lighting plan

Plants in Light Fixtures

More and more pendant lamps are showing up with soil and plant life in them. The bulb at the top of the lamp shines down on the plant, which is fully enclosed, enabling the heat to stay trapped and thus create a mini-hothouse. These new types of lamps are as green as it gets, and they will be sure conversation starters as well.

Plants in Their Pots

More conventionally, people use light to help their indoor plants (in their own pots) to grow.  As you consider how to best use light in the growth process, keep in mind that many plants need abundant light to grow, and they might need more than what you turn on in the time that you are in your house or apartment.

For instance, flowering plants often need a total of 16 hours per day of light. If they are primarily receiving artificial light indoors, then the source needs to be about 12” from the plant (further away for non-flowering plants).

Thus, you might need a timer to keep the lamp turned on and feeding your plant even while you are away or asleep. Many people are turning to LED light strips with timers to ensure that their plants get the light that they need to thrive.

Mixing Light for Your Plants

This could be an issue if the bulk of your plants are in your living room and you don’t like the sight of five spotlights beaming down on them when you have company over. The solution? Use brighter light when guests are not around, then light from other sources when you favour mood lighting in the evening. Some plant lovers even opt for light under the plant during the less intense hours of “feeding.”

Of course, natural light is the best type of light for your plants and herbs, so you should consider how to maximise that first before turning to man-made sources. During the times when natural light is not flowing in, you will need red-orange light for flowering plants and blue-violet lights for other foliage. You can mix both warm and white lamps together to provide all of the wavelengths of light that you will need. Fluorescent lamps have proven to be the best bet for plant lighting to this point.

Living in the city or even in a house or apartment with no garden does not mean that you have to bid adieu to the plant world. You can grow a veritable jungle indoors with the right mix of natural and artificial light, distributed generously at all hours but not in a way where stalks of mint take precedence over humans in your place. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised by how well your plants do as you feed them a mixed diet of light as frequently as they need it.

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