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Sometimes the toughest part about having houseplants is creating an environment for them to thrive. Worrying about your plants getting proper sun exposure can be difficult, but grow lights are a simple solution! There are so many options for indoor lighting. Here's how to begin in your search for the best grow lights for indoor plants.
How Grow Lights Work
The first step to gardening with grow lights is, of course, understanding how they work. It is not a one size fits all for any plant or setup. Grow lights mimic the sun’s photosynthetic spectrum and provide plants with artificial sunlight. Grow lights are different from standard light bulbs because traditional bulbs do not emit the particular wavelengths of light that plants use to create energy. Plants use blue, red, and green light for photosynthesis.
Many LED full-spectrum lights have peaks in these wavelengths that correspond with important functions and aspects of plants, such as Chlorophyll A and B, Chlorophyll Synthesis, Carotenoids, Carotene, and far-red Phytochromes. Blue, red, and green light must work in combination for a grow light to render the best reaction from a plant. Blue and red light are the most efficient for promoting photosynthesis, but green light is also important for driving CO2 fixation on the lower side of leaves. Full-spectrum white grow lights provide all three hues in the appealing white color we are accustomed to seeing in our homes. This allows for a natural integration of grow lights into home decor!
What is the difference between grow lights?
However, you may not be used to seeing a full spectrum grow light. You can likely imagine a grow light in your head. Depending on your familiarity with Soltech as a brand, it also may not be that flattering of a perception. If you’ve conjured up a mental image of a bluish/purplish beam, like you would see in an industrial complex, keep reading! Sure, some people might find this lighting perfectly tolerable, but if you don’t, then Soltech is the answer for you. Here’s why:
There is a difference between the light mainly used for the process of flowering and the light used to complete the process of photosynthesis. The process of flowering, and subsequently, fruiting, is mostly red light. Since this light can often appear harsh on the eyes, Soltech has managed to balance the light produced by our fixture to be ideal with the needs of photosynthesis. Our technicians have accomplished this by creating an ideal spectrum which incorporates blue red and green to produce a beam which, to the eye, appears as a warm white.
The intensity of light also matters. The intensity of these industrial strength grow lights is productive for fruiting and flowering, but not for growing healthy foliage.
Light intensity is also a factor in Soltech’s lights being more suitable for the home. Sitting in a harsh glare is no one’s ideal way to spend their time off indoors. These intense rays won't cause sunburn, but they do have the potential to do thermal damage, especially to retinas. Mostly, however, the intensity of this light produces heat, which can be uncomfortable at best and harmful to you, your house, and your plants at worst.
Indoor growing, much like outdoor growing, will always be limited by certain factors. There are plants which fruit or flower better in cooler temperatures, while some prefer warmer conditions. Soltech cannot ensure these conditions as it stands, but they can ensure the optimal sunset spectrum for the growing of green foliage in most conditions, meaning you can even overwinter certain plants indoors using our tech.
Soltech lights can sustain life in some flowering plants, but they really do best with foliage plants.You can, of course, give them a try for fruiting or flowering plants- and some of our customers have found great success implementing them in this way, especially for citrus plants. Really, though, Soltech was created as a decor element with plants in mind, not an agricultural tool.
What are the best plants to grow with grow lights?
Grow lights are invaluable tools for indoor gardening, providing artificial light that mimics the spectrum of sunlight to support plant growth. When it comes to selecting plants for cultivation under grow lights, there are numerous options that thrive under these conditions. Here are some plants that can benefit the most from the use of grow lights:
- Herbs such as basil, parsley, cilantro, and mint are well-suited for grow lights. These plants require ample sunlight for optimal growth, and grow lights can provide a consistent light source, ensuring they receive the energy needed for robust development. The Grove™ Bar Light Grow Fixture is a great option for indoor herb gardens, with a unique shape perfectly suited for kitchens and underneath cabinetry. This creates the perfect and convenient setup for tighter spaces, and even better, you’ll keep all your ingredients within reach!
- Vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, and arugula are excellent candidates for indoor cultivation with grow lights. These leafy greens typically thrive in well-lit environments, and grow lights can help maintain their vibrant color and nutritional content.
Culinary and Aromatic Plants:
- Plants like lavender, rosemary, and thyme, known for their culinary and aromatic qualities, can thrive under grow lights. These plants often originate from regions with abundant sunlight, and grow lights provide an effective solution for recreating these conditions indoors.
- Orchids are popular ornamental plants that often require specific light conditions for blooming. Grow lights allow orchid enthusiasts to control the light exposure, promoting the development of beautiful and exotic flowers.
- While succulents are generally hardy and can adapt to various light conditions, grow lights can enhance their growth and coloration. This is particularly useful for maintaining vibrant and healthy succulents in indoor settings.
- Grow lights are essential for cultivating microgreens, which are young and tender vegetable greens harvested just after the emergence of the first leaves. With proper light exposure, microgreens can reach their full nutritional potential.
- Cacti, known for their resilience, can benefit from grow lights, especially during the winter months when natural sunlight may be limited. Grow lights help maintain their growth and prevent elongation of stems.
Of course, some of these plants are edible. However, they are still known for their leaves, not a fruited element of the plant. Grow lights open up a world of possibilities for indoor gardening, allowing enthusiasts to cultivate a diverse range of plants. From culinary herbs to ornamental flowers, the use of grow lights ensures that plants receive the light they need to flourish, regardless of the external environmental conditions.
Why introduce plants indoors at all?
A lot of gardeners see the practice of gardening as more utilitarian than anything else. They don't see much purpose in growing plants which don't result in a crop yield. This is not necessarily the case with all plants grown indoors, as herbs and other edible varieties actually do perform well under our lights. However, if you want to make a full indoor gardening setup, you can consult this article here. It just may be more of an experiment than an assurance of a bundle of fresh tomatoes in January.
Meanwhile, we can assure you of the benefits of growing other species indoors. Here is a list of the results you can expect from indoor growing.
A more beautiful space:
This may seem like an obvious benefit, but it's true. Plants not only add a beautiful bit of freshness and texture, they also open up a space to seem more open and inviting. There are many creative ways of setting up your plants, especially with the freedom of grow lights. Now, you won’t have to crowd the window sill anymore- you can bring light and life to every corner in your home!
Yes, plants can be air purifiers. Plants filter the air, but they do more than just remove toxins from the surrounding atmosphere, they also help to moderate the humidity in spaces. Plants create their own microclimate, producing and utilizing the available moisture to both maintain the proper conditions for their own growth, but also to keep a space comfortable for the people occupying them as well. Dry air can cause a slew of health gripes, as can overly humid air. The regulation plants perform serves to prevent all these ailments.
Better mental health:
Taking care of any living thing can be beneficial to human mental health, instilling a sense of productivity within us that inspires us to take better care of ourselves. However, over committing to responsibilities like pets or kids can leave us feeling burnt out. Caring for a plant is a very forgiving way to find meaning through caretaking, without the high stakes of parenthood. Plants also inspire us to take care of our non plant related chores, requiring you to do tasks like sweeping, or cleaning windows in the case your foliage is reliant upon natural light sources.
Going along with better mental health through decreased stress, there is also the benefit of better sleep through introducing plants, especially aromatics like lavender, to the bedroom. What a better way to unwind, especially since natural light mimicking lamps can actually help make our circadian rhythms more effective. Set the timer on your Aspect™ hanging pendant light and watch yourself fall into the perfect sleep pattern night after night.
Better health in general:
Of course, better sleep walks the line between being more related to mental health and physical health. Better sleep is often the result of doing such health related initiatives such as managing stress, but it also comes from physical aspects of our lives such as getting exercise throughout the day, limiting caffeine intake, and eating right. All these things lead to better health, especially of the cardiovascular system. Most health is circular, so plants could help all of these outcomes, even if it’s indirectly.
Bringing plants indoors is certainly beneficial, and definitely worth the effort. Soltech makes the decision simple, with lights that require minimal renovation to install and are pleasant to live with all day, and all year, round! So invest in yourself, and harvest the benefits of houseplant gardening with the benefit of grow lights!