One of the most important things when cultivating your own indoor garden is light. Sunlight finds its way into our homes through windows, but a lot of factors go into whether or not the amount of sunlight is sufficient for your plants to grow.
Most people who start their own indoor gardens do it with artificial lighting, specifically called “growing lights” because they are used to do exactly that — make plants grow.
The question everyone has been dying to know, can you use any type of LED light to grow your plants indoors? Absolutely! And here’s how.
What is indoor gardening good for?
Gardening is not for those with a short amount of patience because it can take a while before you start to really see your plants grow at all.
Once you get the hang of it, though, and discover that you’ve actually got that green thumb… you reap what you sow. Literally.
But just like everything else in our lives, gardening is known to be seasonal. You can just be getting the hang of it, and then winter comes rolling right around the corner, leaving you back at square one.
Luckily, people who’ve come to know and love this hobby have discovered that gardening doesn’t have to be limited to the seasons and outdoors. It can be done right in your own home.
Indoor gardening is both practical and enjoyable, and the possibilities are endless. Maybe you don’t have the time or patience to keep an eye on your outdoor plants, or maybe you don’t have the outdoor space to start a garden.
Or maybe you live in an area with a climate that is just not suited for your plants and products of choice to flourish in.
Then indoor gardening may be right for you. This can be done almost anywhere, in your home, office, school, or anywhere that may be willing to work with it.
Of course, indoor gardening isn’t limited to plants. You can grow your own fresh produce. Different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even grasses will thrive indoors with proper care.
It also improves air quality inside the home. Plants are known to produce oxygen, but they also absorb most volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which contaminate and reduce the overall quality of air.
Other times, you don’t even need to just do indoor gardening, it can just be an alternative during seasons where it is too harsh to leave your plants outside. You can build them a little plant nursery to survive cooler climates and then bring them back outside when weather conditions permit.
How does indoor gardening work?
Indoor gardening allows us to be in charge of a plant’s growing environment and reduces the risk of any pests or simply mother nature’s (sometimes harsh) ways.
You’ll need to create an environment that mimics the same environment and gives the same nutrients that a plant would get outdoors.
A list of things you would need includes:
Space. Some people who garden indoors usually do it because of a lack of space outside. Keeping a good amount of space ready indoors to house your plant babies, be it an entire room dedicated to them like an indoor nursery, or even just a single windowsill could do the trick.
Soil. Indoor plants need a slightly different type of soil, something that is light and fluffy to absorb the moisture it may need but also drain the right amount when watered since most of these plants will be in pots or limited space where it cannot distribute moisture.
Water. Of course, water is a very important thing for plants both indoor and outdoor. Each plant may need different amounts than another, as well as need different watering methods. Some plants will need bottom watering so that even the deepest of roots get moisture, while other plants like to be watered from above.
Humidity. The amount of moisture in the air inside your home, as well as the temperature, will also affect how the plants grow and how much water they will need throughout the year.
Light. Probably the most challenging to provide is light. A lot of a plants’ growth has much to do with the sunlight it gets because of photosynthesis. The right kind of light and its color spectrum is crucial to indoor gardening.
What kind of lighting do I need for my indoor garden?
Grow lights have been developed specifically for indoor gardens and are designed to adequately substitute natural sunlight. They come in both bulbs and fixtures.
Grow light bulbs are the more affordable option, they can be used on old lamps or ceiling fixtures. Grow light fixtures can cost more, but provide adequate and more even light distribution among plants.
There are a couple of options to choose from. Incandescent grow lights may cost the least, but they are not as energy-efficient and tend to generate heat a lot quicker.
Fluorescent grow lights have low heat output and provide a somewhat accurate color spectrum needed to grow plants.
Light-emitting diodes (LED) grow lights or even just regular LED bulbs, in general, prove to be the most energy-efficient, have little to no heat output, and provide the ideal light spectrum range.
They also last the longest and do not contain any harmful elements such as gas, mercury, lead, or filaments.
So to answer the question, yes, you can use LED lights to grow your plants! It might even be the best option.
Although, it is important to note that plants also have specific needs, like color. The sun provides the complete spectrum of light, which means all the colors. Indoor plants need the full-spectrum that they get from the sun, which is why your bulbs should produce both cool and warm light.
Is there a difference between LED grow lights and regular LED lights?
Yes. Grow lights, in general, were developed specifically to promote plant growth, which means they produce electromagnetic radiation, almost the same way as the sun does. These bulbs support all plant stages of growth and promote photosynthesis.
LED lights to contain somewhat narrow wavelengths and might emit higher amounts of heat, but in general, they do function better than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.
If you’re wary about whether or not you can use LED lights for your indoor sanctuary, just note that while it is better to use grow lights, if they’re not available to you regular LED lights will do the trick.
Just be sure to monitor your plants and give them everything else they might need. Don’t put bulbs too close to the plants for comfort!