What type of light is best for growing plants indoors?

Eric St-Cyr | January 17, 2023

If you cannot provide your plants with enough direct sunlight, you will have to use artificial lighting. This is especially true if you are growing your plants indoors, as they will need a substantial amount of supplemental light to grow healthily. In this guide, we explain different types of growing lights you can use and explain how to set up an indoor growing plant area. 

 

How can I tell if my plants need more light?

A consistent light source is one of the key things that plants need in order to survive. In addition to water and nutrients, natural sunlight or a significant light source is essential for the growth of healthy plants. If your plants are not getting enough light, they will let you know. 

Below are signs that a plant needs more light:

  • Lack of growth
  • Plant growing toward the light source 
  • Growing small leaves
  • Leaves are browning 
  • Plant not flowering 

 

What's the difference between grow lights and traditional lights?

Many people don’t realize that there’s a difference between grow lights and traditional lights. Whilst traditional LED lights are mainly there to provide artificial light, grow lights are built with additional blue light and red light to help with vegetation growth. 

Moreover, LED grow lights possess all the same benefits as traditional bulbs, such as being energy efficient, making them an all-around good choice. If you are growing things inside or in a grow tent, you will benefit greatly from buying a grow light bulb. 

 

What are the different types of grow lights?

Fluorescent lights

Fluorescent lights are one of the most common light fixtures used to replace natural light. They are extremely efficient and last longer than regular incandescent bulbs, so you don't have to worry about constantly changing them. Fluorescent lights come in two different types, a tube light, and a compact light. 

The tube light is long and thin so it fits well into smaller areas, and often requires a stand and a ballast to function correctly. A compact fluorescent light looks just like most regular bulbs, but it is far superior due to its increased energy efficiency and the large amounts of blue and red spectra that are found in each bulb. 

High-pressure sodium 

High-pressure sodium lights (HPS) are a favorite amongst more experienced and professional commercial growers. Although the technology used in HPS are over 75 years old, they remain extremely efficient to this day. If you want to get the most out of your HPS, you shouldn’t keep the bulb too close to the plant, but set it up at a distance as they are extremely powerful bulbs that generate an excessive amount of heat. Because the bulbs are so hot, they require additional equipment to make them safe to use. For example, it is essential that you set up adequate ventilation alongside the light. 

Light-emitting diodes

Light-emitting diodes, commonly known as LED bulbs, are one of the most popular all-around light sources. People use them in their homes as well as in grow tents designed to encourage plant growth. They are extremely popular thanks to the fact that they are the most energy-efficient option. They provide more than adequate light, especially since the light is extremely focused. Moreover, they can be used in different ways to benefit different types of plants thanks to the targeting of specific wavelengths in the bulb itself. 

Buy lights for your indoor growing area

 

Why should you get a grow light for your indoor plants?

There are different reasons why you should invest in a grow light for your indoor plants. Below are some of the key benefits of purchasing grow lights. 

It uses less energy 

You should invest in grow lights as opposed to regular lights thanks to the increase in energy efficiency. Although it offers intense light, it does so in an extremely efficient way, using 17% less light energy overall, allowing you to save on your energy bill. 

It controls the amount of light

When you install a grow light, you have full control over how much light your plants get. There is such a thing as giving your plants too much light, as too much light can kill a plant. When you have a grow light, you have full control over how light or dark your room is. 

Plants grow faster 

The aim of using a grow light is to ensure that your plants remain healthy but did you know that it can also make them grow faster? As you can control the amount of light that your plants are exposed to, you can ensure that they are growing in optimal conditions.

 

What light color is best for growing indoor plants?

Lights are placed on a light spectrum that is made up of an array of different colors. From warm yellows that create ambient light, to cool blues that create a harsh light, different colors have different effects, especially on plants. 

Here are some of the best colors for growing indoor plants:

  • Blue light can stunt plant growth if not properly used. However, when used correctly, it positively affects the chlorophyll content. 
  • Green light is an extremely penetrative type of light, which is why it is often used for plants that are within heavy vegetation. 
  • Red light is arguably the most important type of light needed for plant growth. It is essential for a variety of different plant functions, such as germination, stem growth, and leaf expansion.

 

Which bulb type is best?

If you are looking for a bulb that can produce bright light as well as the correct level of heat for your plants, then we suggest purchasing LED lights. The main reason we consider this type of bulb the best is due to the fact that it offers all the factors needed to grow healthy plants, namely full-spectrum light, whilst also being extremely energy efficient. You can sustain a large indoor garden with the help of LED lights and it will not affect your bill at the end of the month. 

 

How to set up an indoor plant growing area

If you don’t have a garden, setting up an indoor growing area is a brilliant alternative. Luckily, it is relatively easy to do. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up an indoor plant growing area:

  1. Choose the right indoor location. You need to ensure that your location is big enough to house all the plants you want to grow, has sufficient power outlets, isn't carpeted, etc. 
  2. Create a blackout. If you want to be in full control of your indoor growing area, you need to be in full control of the light, which means no exterior lighting can make its way into your grow room. 
  3. Choose your lighting. There are many options when it comes to grow lights. 
  4. Set up a light exchange system. Clean air is just as important as warm light, so you need to find a suitable air filtration system that will ensure clean air circulates in your growing area. 
  5. Bring in your plants. Now that you have your room set up, you can bring in your plants. Simply set them up in a logical arrangement and you are good to go. 

Top 5 lights to grow herbs in 2022

 

Grow light placement tips

Number of lights

Before you can decide on light placement, you need to know how many lights are going to be within your grow area. If you have too many lights, they will overlap and you will find hot spots on your plants. On the other hand, if you have too little light, your plants won’t benefit from the light source. 

Light height 

The height of your light will dictate many things, such as how much light is wasted on the walls, light uniformity, and overall light intensity. When you set the height of your light, make sure that it covers all the square feet of your grow room. 

 

How long should a plant grow light be left on?

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t leave your grow light on for more than 16 hours a day. Giving your plants between 14-16 hours per day within a 24-hour period is sufficient to allow them to grow into healthy plants. Even plants that like a lot of light won’t need more than 16 hours a day. 

 

Which plants benefit most from grow lights?

Below are some of the plants that benefit most from a grow light:

  • Peace lily 
  • African violets
  • Snake plant
  • Jade plant 

Virtually any kind of carnivorous plant will thrive under grow lights as they are common types of plants that need ample light. 

 

Shop for grow lights

One of the most important aspects of growing plants indoors is having a sufficient lighting system set up. Canada Grow Systems can help ensure you only have the best possible lighting in your indoor grow area. We sell LED, HPS, and fluorescent bulbs for all your lighting needs.  

We offer a range of products, including:

We stock a variety of different brands in order to make sure you have maximum choice and are able to find lights and accessories to facilitate growing needs. All our products are pre-tested so you can be sure that you are only getting the highest quality products on the market.

Browse our products