Using artificial grow lights for your indoor gardening is difficult & complicated. But proper guidance and proper lights help to achieve success.
You must know what kind of bulbs are suitable for your plants, as lights produce wavelengths that human can see and some of the wavelengths are invisible for humans like microwaves and infrared light. Plants can detain the wavelengths in blue and red parts of the spectrum between 400 to 700 nanometers to use during photosynthesis.
There are numerous bulbs available in the market incandescent and fluorescent. Incandescent are not much appreciated as they produce good source of red rays but a poor source of blue rays. Overall, it produces too much of heat for most plants.
Florescent must be better choice if only one type of bulb will be used. As it is cool white bulb so it produces small amount of red rays in addition to orange, yellow, green and blue rays but still do not provide quite enough light for optimum plant growth. As compare to other bulbs fluorescents blub are more expensive. These have a higher output in the red range to balance the blue output.
To reduce the cost and still have optimal growth, a home gardener may use a combination of specially grow lights and cool white fluorescent bulbs. You can use one special plant-growing tube to each one or two cool white tubes.
If you guys notice there are some “T” numbers on fluorescent bulbs. These refer to the diameter, in eights of an inch, of tubes. So a T8 tube is 8 or 1 inch in diameter. Elderly tubes are T12 with most new bulbs T8 or T5. These recently launched bulb more energy efficient and even with lower wattage can produce more light because of new technology and materials in their production.
The placement and quantity of light source are also key factors to consider. As fluorescent tube does not produce so much heat, so we can place them as close as 2 to 6 inches above seedling or plants. Incandescent and similar bulb gives more heat so they need to be a foot or more above plants. Most stands that hold the fixtures are adjustable and allow the light to be moved up and down.
The quantity and durations light need to be differing from plant to plant. Light for growing is commonly measured in foot candles. Chinese evergreen and peace lily are low-light plants so they need 50 to 250 foot-candles. Medium light plants such as African violets, begonias, dracaena, dumb cane and seedlings need 250to 1,000. High-light plants like orchids and most herbs need over 1,000 foot-candles.
No worries! What light’s you are using be sure to not to keep them on continuously, as plants need darkness too. A simple timer can be used to turn lights on and off.