How to Choose Grow Lights for Indoor Plants in 2020

How to Choose Grow Lights for Indoor Plants in 2020

Whatever indoor plants you’re planning to raise inside, starting seeds or full-grown greens, the process can always be tricky, especially when your plants are not exposed to sufficient light. In this case, most people may have thought about getting grow lights for your indoor plants.

Yet, all grow lights seek to help a plant grow better by reproducing the same kind of light that the sun makes, which is the best grow light for your indoor plants to thrive? In this article, we will show you what you should consider when choosing suitable grow lights for indoor plants and how to make the right choice.

Key Considerations when Choosing Grow Lights for Indoor Plants:
Types of Grow Lights
Light Intensity and Color Spectrum of Grow Lights
Convenience of Use
The Size of Your Growing Space

Types of Grow Lights

Designed to offer the spectrum of light that your plants need, grow lights can help your indoor plants to photosynthesize and thrive as if they were receiving the same light from the sun. But the plants will only grow better if you choose the right kind of light. Different types of grow lights can offer different ranges of the light spectrum, so depending on what you’re growing, your lighting choice may be different.

Fluorescent Grow Lights

Nowadays, many indoor gardeners are still inclined to choose fluorescent grow lights to encourage the plants by supplementing light for them during the winter months. That’s because compared to the incandescent grow lights, fluorescent grow lights have a lower heat signature and are much more efficient. In general, most fluorescent lights tend to produce more blue lights, which are more beneficial for houseplants and seeds.

HID Grow Lights

As its name implies, a high-intensity discharge lamp provides the highest light intensity, and the HID grow lights are very effective and still widely used for large indoor plantings. Generally speaking, there are two main types of HID grow lights, including metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). The MH lights emit more blue lights, so they are better suited for foliage and plant growth, and the HPS bulbs give off more red light, making these best for the fruiting and flowering plants. Dual arc lights combine HPS and MH lights in the same bulb in order to provide both spectra of light to your plants. All that said, they are effective but expensive and difficult to use.

LED Grow Lights

With the led lights becoming more popular over the past few years, the trend of using led grow lights so far goes viral as well. The reasons for using led grow lighting over other types are that they last much longer and cost less. They are affordable compared with other types and consume a smaller amount of electricity. What’s more, LED grow lights only generate little heat so it can keep the environment away from becoming too hot. And you can put LED grow lights more closer to your plants.

grow-lights-type

 

Light Intensity and Color Spectrum of Grow Lights

When growing most houseplants, the light intensity and color spectrum of the grow lights are two critical factors that can affect your planting’s growth. What are the best “light intensity” and “color spectrum” for indoor plants? Let’s scroll down to have a look.

Best Color Spectrum for Indoor Plants

When shopping for grow lights, you’ll notice they are labeled with numbers like 2700K, which tells you the temperature of the light according to the Kelvin scale of measurement. Or in other words, this refers to their relative warmth or coolness on the color spectrum in grow lights. The higher the number, the cooler the light. That said, the grow lights with a Kelvin rating of 6,000K will have a white or bluish tint, whereas a 3,000K one will be yellower.

According to some extensive experimental research, plants need different spectra at different growth stages:

  • For foliage growth or growing leafy greens or seedlings: the best color spectrum for your indoor plants is generally best around a higher color spectrum like 6,500K;
  • For producing flowers, and thus fruit: your indoor plants may need a period of warmer light, i.e. low color spectrum around 3,000K.
  • Surely, full-spectrum lights take out the guesswork and offer cool and warm light for either starter or established plants. So, getting the grow lights that are available in full-spectrum form can perfectly simplify things.

Best Light Intensity for Plants

When it comes to the term “light intensity”, most of you may think that getting the grow lights that have higher light intensity do more work for your indoor planting. That’s only partially true. In fact, let your plants receive optimal light intensity is the key for them to achieve maximum productivity, as very high light intensity burns plant tissue and partial shading of plants significantly increase the risk of leaf deformations, tumors, and issues with fruiting. Different plants need different light intensity. And you can easily adjust the light intensity by moving your grow lights closer or further away from your plants.

grow-lights-intensity-color

 

Convenience of Use

Whatever we buy, we always wish it to be as simple and convenient as possible. Keep that in mind when choosing the grow lights especially if you have a large field of plants. The following functions may save you a lot of time and effort when growing indoor. Consider them when you buy new grow lights.

  • Dimming

Nowadays, most LED grow lights have dimming knobs. You can simply change the light intensity for different plants and growth stages without moving the grow lights.

  • Set Timers

Your plants don’t need lights 24/7 since they also need rest. If the grow lights allow you to set timers, you don’t need to remember to turn on and off them.

  • Group Control

If you have many grow light, simply turn them on/off or tune them would be a huge work. That’s when the group control function comes in. The more grow lights you have, the more time you save with this function.

  • Remote Control

Imagine, after working hard on your plants, you finally get back to your room for a rest. Then you suddenly realize that you forget to adjust the light intensity. You need to get up and go back to your plants. Such a bummer, right? But you will have no such concerns if you can remote control your grow lights. Simply finish all the work when lying on the bed is an ideal choice for many people.

grow-lights-function

 

The Size of Your Growing Space

Plants grown indoors need to be full-covered by the light source. So before making your purchase, ensure your grow lights can illuminate your entire planting area. You can figure out what size of grow light is best for your indoor plants based on that.

Then to help you determine the desired wattage based on your grow space, we’ve made a quick reference chart below. If you have a larger grow space, you can scale up from these numbers based on a good rule-of-thumb for grow lights - 1 sq ft of grow space requires about 32 watts of actual wattage.

Grow Space
Wattage
2 sq ft (2x1)
~60
4 sq ft (2x2)
~120
6 sq ft (2x3)
~200
9 sq ft (3x3)
~300
12 sq ft (3x4)
~400
16 sq ft (4x4)
~500
20 sq ft (4x5)
~640
25 sq ft (5x5)
~800

Based on the 4 factors mentioned above, we believe that you already decide which grow light to choose. If you’re still hesitating or have other questions, welcome to comment below or chat with us. We’re more than happy to help every grower find their dreamy grow lights!


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