Did you know you can care for your plants indoors with indoor grow lights? Yes, it’s possible. Even though indoor gardening has never been a walk in the park, artificial lighting ‘grow lights’ have made it a bit simpler.
In this article, we are going to show you the best indoor grow lights for plants, how to choose these lights, plants that can benefit from these lights, some tips to grow plants with grow lights, and in the end, we have answered the most frequently asked questions.
It’s a long read, but worth of good information if you are looking to start using grow lights to cultivate different plants at any climate throughout the year.
These growing lights imitate natural sunlight; they encourage photosynthesis and provide the required lighting for plants to thrive.
A Word of Advice
Like any other product, when buying the best indoor grow lights for plants it’s important to familiarize yourself with some basics about what grow lights are, how they operate, and the different types you can get out there.
What Is A Grow Light?
A grow light is a manmade source of light used for indoor planting and mimics the natural sunlight that encourages plant growth and production. These types of grow lights use electricity.
They are easy to use as you just connect them to a source of power although they are designed with different levels of brightness for different types of plants.
They provide a light spectrum that stimulates photosynthesis the same way natural sunlight does. Usually, you can use these lights in areas with insufficient sunlight or if you need to complement the sunlight.
The good thing about grow lights is that unlike natural sunlight, is that they give your plants the needed light for an extended period hence speeding up plant growth.
How Far Should You Place a Grow Light from Your Plant?
How far from your plant the grow light should depends on the type it is. For instance:
A LED grow light needs to be 6 inches or more depending on the size of your garden.
A fluorescent should be about 12 inches. Make sure it does not result in burning.
HID should be 12 inches or more especially on high wattage.
Usually, grow lights are positioned above your plants the same way the sun hits the plants outdoors to encourage photosynthesis.
Note that you will need to up your grow light as your plants grow tall.
How to Choose the Best Growing Lights for Any Situation
Grow lights come in different types, each type with different features and abilities. Read on to learn how to choose the best grow lights for your indoor gardening.
Understand the grow light type
You can either use grow bulbs or lighting fixtures. The choice depends entirely on what you want from the grow light.
Grow light bulbs- Grow light bulbs are affordable and easier to use. You just buy the bulbs and then insert it in a ceiling light.
Grow light fixtures- Grow light fixtures are costly; however, they can be used to illuminate many plants. They supply the entire space (where they are fixed) with lighting in equal measures. These lights are purposely designed for indoor planting hence they imitate the natural sunlight.
Fluorescent Light Vs Incandescent light Vs Led light Vs High-Intensity Discharge Vs Plasma- Which is better?
Fluorescent lights are perhaps the most commonly used lights, especially during the cold months. These lights stimulate flowering and nurture plants from seeds.
They have a low heat signature and are cost-efficient and energy-efficient than their counterparts. You can buy these lights with the frame fixtures or just the bulb.
The bulb types for these lights include T5 and T8, and CFL. These days, T5 fluorescent ate the most popular because they are specially designed as grow lights. T8 are a bit cost-efficient as well and some people grow plants with them.
If you are just getting started with indoor gardening, we would advise you to start with T5s.
Incandescent grow lights
Incandescent grow lights aren’t as expensive as fluorescent lights. These lights are also energy-saving although they produce more heat. They might not be suitable indoor grow lights for particular plants.
LED grow lights
LED simply means light emitting diode lights. These lights are the latest on the market these days. They are energy-efficient; they don’t emit more heat and provide a decent light spectrum range.
Because they offer low heat, they are color optimized to stimulate plant growth, and are energy efficient; LED lights are the best indoor grow lights to grow plants unlike the two we have talked about in this article.
It’s important to note that, buying these lights is costly but are cost-saving in the long run when it comes to energy consumption rate.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
These types of grow light produce more light than the other ones above. They are particularly useful for experienced gardeners.
Usually, HID grow lights come into three sub-types namely:
- Metal Halide (MH)
- High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and,
- Ceramic Metal Halide (CMG)
They are all useful for different applications but in short, MH lights release higher amounts of light in the blue range of spectrum, HPS release more red and orange light, and CHM balances blue, red, and orange.
This is perhaps the latest grow light technology like the ceramic metal halide bulbs although this one is preferred for its efficiency and produces different ranges of the light spectrum.
Different grow lights are made with different materials. As a rule, the material used to make your grow light should be long-lasting, especially if you intend to use it for an extended period.
The case should be durable enough to withstand torture; a good case material is an aluminum. Grow lights that produce more than 1000 light hours are considered long-lasting and are ideal for high output gardening.
Here, you not only consider your safety but that of your plants as well. You don’t want a grow light that burns your plants or home due to overheating. For this reason, you must choose grow lights fitted with a silent cooling system.
What’s the ideal color light for plant growth?
Different color lights have different effects on plants at different stages of growth.
Red light on the spectrum range of 610 – 720 encourages flowering and budding.
Violet-blue on the nanometer range of 400 – 520 promotes chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth.
Given that photosynthesis is an essential process in the life of plants, grow lights should offer the required spectrum of light to encourage the process to take place.
For this reason, when buying your grow lights, make sure you understand the color spectrum it provides and whether it can encourage photosynthesis to take place in your plants.
Ideally, you should consider grow lights that provide a descent spectrum to your plants.
That’s why LED lights are the preferred ones for this matter. These lights provide are designed for general purposes for your indoor gardening.
With that in mind here are the best indoor grow lights for plants.
The Top Indoor Grow Lights for Plants
Undeniably growing plants indoors may not be the same as growing them outdoors since plants require light for photosynthesis and overall growth health. However, you can imitate outgrowing by using artificial light that is as good as natural sunlight to achieve the same results.
The only problem is that there are plenty of indoor grow lights for plants out there and choosing the best one for your indoor gardening can be challenging.
To help you make the right choice, we have pulled out the best of the best and reviewed them so you don’t have to scratch your head. Read our reviews and pick the one suitable for your indoor planting.
The Roleadro Led grow light is designed to care for your indoor plants at all stages of growth from seeding, vegetative, to flowering and production.
This LED light produces a red and blue spectrum range. The infrared light encourages faster growth and production in plants. What’s more, the light is designed with a 90 degrees optical lens to enable higher PAR and full light absorption to enable your plants to grow fast.
The good thing about this grow light is that it is easy to use, portable, and convenient.
The grow light also comes with UV and IR growth lights that are useful to boost overall growth. These additional grow lights also offer a different spectrum that helps to keep viruses from attacking your plants.
The lights are easy to set up and the system comes with a dual fan system and heat sink so the entire space is properly aerated and cool.
Another good thing about this LED grow light is that it has lower working temperature and hence it can stay longer for up to 20 hours without the lights going off so your plant’s growth cycle is shortened.
The bulb can serve your plants for more than 50,000 hours- just imagine how long it will take you to replace the bulb.
Note that to install this grow light, you need to follow the instructions provided by the company.
- The grow light comes with a cooling system.
- It is easy to install and lasts longer.
- It shortens the plant growth cycle.
- Suitable for all stages of plants’ growth from seeding to production.
- It is bright enough to facilitate optimum plants’ growth.
- You need to place it high up to avoid burning.
- Some indoor gardeners have complained that for large amounts of seeding, you will need to supplement the blue emittance of the light with blue spectrum light.
- It does not have sufficient mounting options.
Overall, if you are looking for an all-in-one full spectrum setup, Roleadro LED row Light would make the best option for you. The grow light is power-efficient and encourages faster plant growth.
If you are looking to a grow light you can adjust the spectrum yourself, then your search should end here. The Phlizon Plant LED Grow Light is simple to use and spectrum adjustable.
This grow light is designed with two color buttons you select based on the growth stage of your indoor plants. For seedlings, you can choose veg settings (to activate the blue and white LED lights only) and for flowering and maturity, you can use a bloom option (to activate red and white LED lights only). If you want a full spectrum, you can press both switches.
Did we say this grow light is energy-saving? Yes, it is and it comes with a variety of light waves such as red, blue, infrared, white, and UV spectrums. All these are designed to encourage plant growth and keep them from virus attacks.
The good thing about this LED grow light is that it does not have a reflector so you don’t have to worry about overheating issues. Moreover, it is designed with two cooling fans so your garden doesn’t get high heat at all times.
The drawback with the spectrum grow light is that it is a bit costly than other grow lights available out there, however, the versatility it offers is worth the price and given that a gardener can optimize the lighting using a single device.
This grow light is ideal for a small beginner’s three-square feet garden though.
- It is designed with an adjustable full-spectrum light.
- It has two buttons for seedling and blooming.
- The double switch system enables gardeners to optimize lighting based on different stages of plant growth.
- If you have a large garden, this grow light may not be the best choice for you.
Overall, if you have a hydroponics garden or you grow plants in containers, your plants need sufficient light for flowering, blooming and maturity. This 1200-watt double bulb grow light from Phlizon would make the best option for you. With this grow light, you can adjust the LED bulbs. It is also built to last.
AGROBRITE FL T24 T5 is fluorescent grow light that provides fully blue and red spectrum range. This grow light is also versatile in that it will care for your plants from seedling to early growth. And the good thing, it comes from a company with a long-standing reputation in the gardening sphere.
Hydrofarm is the company behind the manufacture of a wide range of remarkable grow lights that are aimed at helping indoor gardeners to be successful in their gardening work and this one is no exception.
The fluorescent grow light system comes in different sizes so you can choose depending on the size of your garden from smaller to larger gardens.
Usually, fluorescent bulbs are designed to provide the blue range of light spectrum and are useful for germination and seedling starts.
These bulbs do not emit high heat hence making them suitable for smaller and more enclosed gardening.
The good thing about this grow light is that you can mount it horizontally, vertically or above the plants. This enables lighting of hard to reach areas in your garden.
The bright blue light doesn’t overheat the space and provides the temperature required for fast seedling growth. The grow light also has a red spectrum that comes in handy at later stages of your plants’ growth as well.
- It comes in a variety of sizes to choose from.
- Full-spectrum range.
- It’s the best grow light for seed starting.
- Suitable for sensitive orchids.
- Some indoor gardeners complain that the grow light tends to produce heat.
- It tends to be heavy and needs to be supported firmly
Overall, if you are looking to get started with indoor planting, this grow light would be an ideal selection for you. With this grow light, you can adjust how close you want it to be to your plants so your plants will get the required lighting for healthier initial growth.
Another powerful yet affordable grow light with a range of adjustability options is the CF Grow Desk LED light.
You don’t have to make a dent in your pocket to get the best indoor grow light for your plants. This budget-friendly grow light, though small, comes with a central white LED light that’s also supplemented with two LED lights and two red LED lights.
Well, if you are looking for a grow light for your apartment gardening or you grow plants that do not need too much light; this grow light is for you.
The good thing about this pocket-friendly grow light is that it is flexible. It is designed with an adjustable neck so you can position it according to the distance you want from your plants throughout the stages of your plants’ growth.
Thanks to the built-in clip, you can install this grow light into a single pot.
Perhaps the drawback of this grow light is because it is suitable for supporting a single plant or for smaller plants grown on a single pot. However, if you need additional lighting for your plants to continue growing healthy and happier, this grow light would make the best choice for you.
If the grow light has been in use for an extended period, its housing may get hot so adjust it with caution.
What’s more, the grow light doesn’t produce noise during operation as it does not come with a cooling fan. The grow light is affordable, lightweight, and flexible.
The MARS HYDRO LED Grow light is designed to balance and optimize PAR value to enable the unit to produce a full spectrum range with broader light bands and infrared rays. All this is meant to improve plant growth and keep viruses from attacking plants.
Additional red lights encourage the production of bigger flowers and fruits thus giving you more yields per square foot.
The grow light is also energy-saving- per day the grow light it can consume around 192 watts.
This lighting is effective and can produce sufficient light for an eight-foot square garden when placed at 18 inches above the plants.
The lighting is also portable so you don’t need muscles to install it thanks to the hanging cord provided.
What’s more, the grow light has a daisy chain function so you can attach a series of the same lights from one power source. This way, you can create a smartly powered indoor garden. The system has a base fan and ventilation useful to keep the lighting system cool when in use.
- It can be used on multiple plants.
- The lighting system is energy-efficient.
- Balanced and optimized PAR value.
- Covers a wider space up to 8-feet wide.
Overall, if you are searching for a grow light to plant big flowers and plenty of fruit plants indoors, this lighting system would make the best option for you. The grow light supports all plants.
Phlizon never disappoints when it comes to the manufacture of quality products, but this time, the company has designed a grow light that’s above the standards of LED grow lights.
The Phlizon Cree Cob Series isn’t your standard grow light. This is a multipurpose professional lighting system that will care for your indoor plants at all growth stages. It produces incomparable brightness and stability, thanks to the integration of Cree and Cob full spectrum LEDs.
No matter what plants you want to grow in your garden, this lighting system will provide a full spectrum with a range of wavelengths for all of them.
What’s more, the grow light will speed up the growth of your plants and increase the yields.
As if that’s all, the grow light is also durable. It allows you to switch settings for seed germination, flowering, and maturity thanks to the remote it comes with. If you like, you can do the switching via the two buttons that are conveniently placed on the lighting system.
The four-fan cooling feature will keep the lighting system cool when in use.
- The grow light does not overheat thanks to the four-fan cooling feature.
- Suitable for all stages of your plants’ growth.
- It comes with full spectrum LEDs.
- Easily optimized- It is designed with two switches and you can also customize it using the remote.
Overall, this grow light is designed to last. You can customize the lighting with ease and it supports all stages of your plants’ growth.
The VIHIMAI is a 1000W LED grow light featuring a triple chip LED design. Some of the grow lights have their LEDs at 90 degrees but this one has its LEDs at 60 degrees.
This improves PAR more than what outdoor plants receive per day. If you are in search of a professional grow light for indoor planting or hydroponics agriculture, the VIHIMAI grow lighting system would be your best choice.
Similar to the Phlizon Cree Cob Series we have talked about above, this grow light also comes with a four-fan cooling feature useful to cool the LEDs. You don’t have to worry about burning your hands when you touch the light.
This product also features two buttons for Veg and Bloom to provide the required light at all stages of growth. You can connect more than 5 extra grow lights from the same power source, thanks to the daisy chain power connector.
- It comes with copper hanging hooks to support and keep it stable when installed.
- Easily customizable by the use of the Veg and Bloom buttons.
- Great LED bulbs.
- Ideal for hydroponics agriculture.
Overall, this 1000W grow light supports all forms of indoor gardening. It encourages optimum fruit formation and its powerful LED bulbs and hanging hooks keep it safe.
If you want a grow light you can hang easily then look no further than the Feit Electric LED light Fixtures.
Some grow light offer a purple or red-hued light but this one produces a full spectrum LED light that’s more of natural daylight hue.
Indoor gardeners who have used this light fixture applaud it for being easy to hang. The light features a versatile design.
It comes with eye-hooks and cables you can use to hang this grow light but you can use flush mount to attach it to a plant stand if you want.
Well, don’t mistake this LED grow light with fluorescent grow light since they look pretty similar as this grow light also has a long tubular design. What’s more, this grow light is durable and does not produce noise when operating.
When you buy this grow light, you can also connect more than seven other lights to one power source, especially if you have a larger indoor garden.
Aceple LED Grow light is another pocket-friendly light that is rated highly on Amazon and that’s why we have featured it in our list of the best grow lights for plants.
The good thing about this grow light is that it will provide small plants with sufficient heat required during germination. The grow light uses one bulb with six separate red and blue pieces.
When all the light elements are combined, they provide a similar-to-daylight spectrum that plants need.
The LED bulb enhances the grow light life to around 25,000 hours and when it dies, replacing it isn’t a hassle.
With the Yehsence, 1500W LED Grow light you can connect multiple lights from one power source, thanks to the daisy chain design.
This grow light is designed with two switches for Veg and Bloom. This way, when your plant is in the germination stage, you can set the Veg option and during flowering and fruiting stages you can switch to Bloom.
You can also turn on both switches to give your plants maximum spectrum at once.
Our last best grow light for plants (of course there are many but these are the best we have found based on our research and customer reviews) is the King Plus 1200W LED Grow light, a lighting system that produces a full spectrum of red, blue, white, yellow, UV, and IR lights.
This grow light mimics daylight fully. This grow light comes with a hanging hook for ease of installation.
Plants You Can Grow Under Grow Lights
It’s worth noting that not all your indoor plants will need artificial light all through, but when there is limited daylight, most plants will need it.
If you notice your plants are not growing fast, their leaves have started to turn yellow and dry, or they are not producing flowers, it’s an indication of insufficient light.
Here are a few examples of plants you can grow under Grow lights.
Orchids are easy to maintain but if you don’t give them enough light, they will not produce beautiful flowers or they will start to dry.
To grow healthy and happier orchids, you need to give them 10 hours of direct light a day together with the right temperature and high humidity. If there is insufficient sunlight, you will need to supplement them with artificial light. That’s where grow lights become handy.
Most succulents can survive with the amount of light they get indoors or outdoors. During the months where daylight isn’t enough or when planted in rooms without enough light, you will need to supplement the light to keep them healthier and happier.
African violets also require light to grow and bloom. Supplementing light during light lacking months would also help them thrive.
Although Gloxinia is stunning plants, growing them is no easy task. You need to give them enough light to encourage growth and propagation.
Other plants you can grow under grow lights are Begonias but remember to understand each plant’s light requirements so that you provide the plants with sufficient light possibly.
How to Grow Plants Under Grow Lights- Actionable Tips
Indoor gardening enables you to grow different types of plants the same way you could do with outdoor gardening. With the best grow lights for plants, you can grow healthy plants and maximize yields.
As a rule, for plants to thrive, they must get enough light. Some plants will flourish outdoors throughout the year while others will only during certain months. You will need to take these plants indoors during certain times of the year, especially during the winter months.
Indoor gardening is no easy task since you will have to keep the plants positioned in a window that allows light inside which means your plants will either get too much direct sunlight or insufficient light.
That’s where grow lights become helpful. Grow lights differ depending on the types of plants you grow.
Use these tips to grow plants under grow lights.
Decide the types of plants to grow
As mentioned earlier different types of plants require different grow lights. Once you determine the types of plants to grow, it would be easier to know the suitable grow lights to purchase.
Usually, if you intend to grow vegetables indoors, then you will need grow lights that produce more light.
Choose a suitable grow light
Once you have chosen the plants to grow, you can now decide to type of grow light to purchase.
Now here is the thing: T12 fluorescent lights produce more lights needed for seedlings. T8 fluorescent fixtures would be suitable for more mature plants.
T5 fluorescent bulbs are highly efficient that one T5 bulb can produce more light than two traditional bulbs.
LED grow lights, on the other hand, are the brightest and energy-saving of all. Note that these grow lights are a bit costly than fluorescent but are durable. They also do not emit more heat.
Understand the color light needed
Once you have decided on the types of plants you want to grow indoors, your selection process will flow smoothly. Choosing the color light needed for your plants will also be easier.
As a rule, most plants will require a full spectrum range, however, red and blue spectrum are the most crucial color lights. Well, once you research you will be able to know this better.
Pick your bulbs wisely
For a superior source of red light, choosing incandescent bulbs would do better because these bulbs are commonly used in most homes. Note that, incandescent bulbs produce poor blue light.
Fluorescent bulbs will produce 3 times more light intensity than incandescent bulbs. You can get different bulb options here; however, cool white bulbs would work well with plants that require blue and yellow-green light. Full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs are versatile. You can plant different types of plants under these bulbs.
If you are growing many plants or if you have a larger garden, purchase high-intensity bulbs. They save energy and produce more light than the three above. Their cost is also high.
Grow your plants under the right temperature
For seeds to germinate faster, you need to provide your plants with warm temperatures. In this case, you may want to get a seed heating medium.
After germinating, give your seedlings cool temperatures. Keep the room temperature at 5 to 10 degrees cooler during the night. Make sure you invest in a good digital thermostat for this matter.
Observe the distance of lighting
Your grow lights shouldn’t be too far or too close to your plants. Ideally, seedlings will need 14 hours of light every day.
Once they produce their first leaves, position your plants either 2 inches below if you are using fluorescent lights, or 4 inches if you are growing plants under high-output LED lights.
Change the position of your plants regularly.
Keep your plants rotated every week. Note that at the center of the bulbs there is too much light than at the ends. Once you rotate your plants they will get enough light evenly.
It’s easier for indoor plants grown under grow lights to dry than those grown outdoors. Keep your plants watered regularly.
As for seedlings, keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering your plants will kill them faster than fungus.
Fertilize your plants as needed
Indoor plants consume a lot of nutrients from the soil quickly than plants grow outdoors. You need to fertilize them with organic fertilizer once every week.
How far from plants should a grow light be?
As said earlier, although incandescent grow light bulbs are great when it comes to growing indoor plants, they produce more heat. For this reason, keep the distance between them and the plants at 24 inches above your plants.
LED lights and fluorescent do not emit more heat so you can place them at 6 and 12 inches above the plants correspondingly.
What’s the ideal size of a grow light?
Here, you need to consider the growing space as well. For instance, a standard LED grow light needs to consume 32 watts per square foot of garden space. Ideally, 50 watts up to 80 watts LED lights would do better per square foot of grow space.
What’s the right grow light for indoor plants?
If you want to give your room just the required light or if you are growing low-light indoor plants like ferns, vines, and dracaenas, incandescent lights are the right ones to use.
Should you use normal LED light to grow in-house plants?
In short, you can use any type of light to grow indoor plants. Note that you need to be careful not to burn your house or your plants with grow lights. And when it comes to LED lights, you need to research to know the best ones for your plants.
What is the best light spectrum for plants?
When it comes to spectrum, plants will need it warm during flowering and cool blue for vegetative growth.
Whether you are a hobbyist or you are a beginner indoor gardener, these best indoor grow lights options will help to grow healthy and happier plants at any time of the year.
We have picked those that are portable, versatile, and provide light spectrum during certain stages of plant growth.
As a rule, when choosing a grow light for your indoor gardening, you must make sure it can support your plants at all stages of growth and has a cooling system that keeps your plants and house from burning.
We would be happy to know your favorite grow lights in the comment section. If you have a question or concern regarding our selection, let’s hear that in the comment section as well.