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Everything you want and need to know about grow lights for your beloved houseplants!

If you want to grow different types of plants in your home, but you're not sure how to create the perfect environment that promotes growth, then extra insight into grow lights can be super helpful! There are various reasons why grow lights are used, but of course mainly to ensure the health of your plants. In this blog you will read why grow lights are good, what types of grow lights there are, what the difference is between the various colours of light in grow lights and how long your plants need light.

What is a grow light and why are grow lights good for your plants?

Grow lights produce more or better light (for plants) than regular bulbs. The intensity of the lights from a grow light helps to increase the rate of photosynthesis. It ensures that our beloved plants have enough energy to grow. Grow lights are lamps that emit certain colours of light that simulate the light of the sun.

When the cold, short days of winter arrive again, your plants will not get enough light for photosynthesis. You want the best for your plants of course, so it is a good idea to invest in a grow light. If you like to experiment with cuttings and other BabyPLNTS it is also advisable to place them under a grow light. The chance that they will grow into a beautiful adult plant is greater! Also, if you have very special tropical RarePLNTS, it is of course safer to put them under a grow light as well. These beauties are used to a lot of light and warmth because of the place where they originally grew! A grow light is not a must but your plants will certainly be happy with one.

There are three things to keep in mind when placing a grow light near your plants: the intensity, colour temperature/spectrum width and duration (how long do I keep the light on).

What kind of grow light do you buy for your houseplants?

LED (light emitting diode) grow lights:

LED grow lights are the most popular option for many reasons: they use little electricity, produce little heat and last a long time. This means that you can provide some additional light for your plants while the room does not change into a crazy colour. Ideal for your living room, for example. TL lamps and LED lamps do not burn your plants, so you can place them fairly close to your plants without fear.

HID (high intensity discharge) grow lights:

If you start researching grow lights yourself you will probably find a lot of research on these ultra bright and super efficient grow lights. The average houseplant owner will probably not need these strong lamps. These are much more intense than is needed and therefore more intended for bigger work like growing in bigger greenhouses. For example, you really don't need a HID grow light for your Ficus Lyrata.

Which light intensity and colour temperature is best for your houseplants?

Light intensity

When considering the light intensity of a grow light, you normally look first at the number of lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the more intense the light that the lamp radiates. Lumen and/or lux actually only indicate the strength of the light for the human eye. The light intensity for plants is actually always measured in PPFD, Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density. PPFD indicates how much light reaches the plant at a particular location. It is a difficult quantity to measure, it is very technical and PPFD meters are expensive.

To be sure of a grow light with the right intensity we advise you to buy your grow light at a reliable company. After that it is important to test the best distance from the lamp to your plants. If the leaves seem to be burning or drying out then the lamp is too strong and too close to your plants. If nothing happens and you do not see any (faster) growth, then the lamp is too far from the plants or perhaps it is not very intense. Place it closer to the plants and see if it goes better then!

Example: We tested our Rudi Grow Light Bulb on a Caladium bulb (this bulb had 3 small growths). We had this lamp (1200 lumens, 20 watts, colour temperature 3500K and E27 fitting) at about 60 cm from the bulb/plant and on for 16 hours a day. After a week, we already saw 5 growing points , one of which even reached 12 cm above the potting soil!

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Colour temperature

Colour temperature describes the visual appearance of light. Most of the light used by plants comes from the blue cool and red warm ends of the spectrum. Blue light stimulates vegetative growth, or the growth of leaves and roots. Red light stimulates the plants to produce flowers and fruit. Most grow lights today provide full spectrum light. To make sure that your plant receives the correct colour temperature, a grow light with (white) full spectrum light is recommended. This is because it contains all the colours. So a plant mainly uses the blue and red spectrum during its growth, but it still needs the light from the other parts of the spectrum for optimal growth. This is a good thing, because that is why you can easily install grow lights in your home.

Example: if you grow a basil or mint plant under a red/blue light, it will no longer taste as it should. Remarkable, isn't it?

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How long do you turn on a grow light for stable growth?

How long you leave a grow light on depends on the intensity of the grow light. It also depends on the light requirements of your plants, of course.

If you have a lower-intensity lamp or a higher-intensity lamp that is placed/hung further away from your plant, leaving it on longer (12 to 16 hours) can be almost as good for the plant as leaving a high-intensity lamp on for eight hours. To our knowledge there is no official research that says your plant should not get 24 hours of light per day. But we do recommend that you turn off the grow light at night and let your green friend sleep for a while. After all, it is dark at night in nature too.

Installing a grow light on your plants is a matter of trial and error. Start by placing one or two lamps on intuition. Play with the distance to your plants and the duration from time to time. See how they react and what works best. It is fun to experiment a little. In the end, you want the best for your plant.

Do grow lights consume (much) more energy than regular bulbs?

To enable grow lights to emit the necessary wavelengths without overheating, they do use a little more energy. Ordinary LED lamps cost approximately €0.002 per hour (in the Netherlands). The cost of our Rudi Grow Light Bulb is €0.12 (in the Netherlands) when you leave it on for 12 hours a day. This is approximately €3.45 per month.. Yes.. you have to spend a little extra money for your green children!

How do I combine a grow light in my interior?

If you're someone who loves interiors and design, then it's understandable that you're picky about having some less than stylish lighting in your home. You want to find something that also works in your interior or at least doesn't look too much like 'WoW, crazy plant lady'. The amount of plants probably already gives that impression.... (hihi☺️). The best tip, of course, is to replace the lamps in your home with grow lights. Just choose a stylish pendant, table or wall lamp. We'd also love to show you how to style grow lights with some inspiring photos:

We love to see how you have plants and grow lights in your home. That's why you can always use #PLNTS or #BabyPLNTS on Instagram. This way we might use your picture in a blog or on our socials. How fun is that?

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Manon

Manon is the biggest PLNTSlover you'll find. Her love for and knowledge about plants is huge, what makes her a true plant care expert! In her blogs she will share all her plant care tips and hacks with you!

January 19, 2022
Hi, I'm Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!