Are you looking to bring a little sunshine indoors? Maybe it’s time to start your flower and vegetable seedlings.
Perhaps your houseplants are drooping during the short days of winter, or sulking in a new home. Or maybe you simply want to enjoy the taste of your own fresh herbs year round.
Whatever your need, grow lights can instantly provide hours of mock sunshine that your plants need for vigorous, healthy development.
They can provide any color spectrum required for every stage of growth and are easy to set up. The lamps run cool to the touch, are low wattage, energy efficient, and have long lives. This also makes them economical. And by starting your own seedlings, you’ll quickly recover the cost with fewer trips to your local nursery!
But they do come in a huge array of shapes, sizes, and configurations. To simplify matters, we looked for units from reliable brands that are well-designed, easy to set up and use, and provide effective coverage – and collected a few recommendations from our own writers, of course!
Here’s our take on 3 of the best grow lights for indoor plants and seedlings.
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If you’ve ever done research when wanting to buy grow lights for your indoor plants, you probably saw that there’s a variety of choice of both types and brands. How do you choose the one to buy then? Well, as long as you keep in mind the essential features that the plant lamp you purchase should have in order to keep your indoor plants healthy, you’re safe. So, without further ado, let’s talk about the crucial features to have in mind when choosing.
There are two types of grow lights that are both good for indoor plants – LED and fluorescent.
The choice will depend on your preferences and needs. While both of them will help your indoor plants grow healthy and lush during every growth stage, LED lights are more energy-efficient. Even though modern fluorescent grow lights save more energy than in the past, LED will still use less electric power because it only produces blue and red light that your plants need.
That’s why fluorescent lights will be white, and you’ll be able to use them indoors without problems because they won’t be unpleasant to look at if your plants are close to the everyday rooms in your home. When it comes to LED lights, they do produce purple light so they can be a bit hard to look at and that’s why they are the better option in closed growing tents or rooms that you use only for the plants.
Depending on the growth stage of your indoor plants, they will need a different color to produce energy and grow, so you should use grow lights according to that fact.
However, it’s always better to have grow lights that emit full-color spectrum because those are versatile and can be used for every stage and many different plants.
If you want to be sure you’ve bought good-quality grow lights, you should choose those that are made of high-quality, sturdy material, preferably stainless steel.
Why? Because grow tents and area around plants, in general, can be humid. Since the water will constantly be close to the grow lights, they should be water-resistant in order to last you for a long time.
Even though the material should be sturdy, the grow lights you buy shouldn’t be too heavy, especially if you need to hang them. Lightweight grow lights will be easier to adjust, and there won’t be any risk of them falling on the plants.
As you’ve already noticed, some models offer the possibility to choose between different lighting intensities, which can also be very useful.
This feature offers a lot of versatility and allows you to use the same grow light for different kinds of plants and stages of the same plant. So, if it’s possible, invest in the model that offers this solution.
If you travel often or spend a lot of time outside your home in general, you should opt for grow lights that have an integrated timer, or at least those that can be connected to the timer you own or want to buy.
The timer will allow you to choose the intervals in which your plants will receive light. Usually, you can set them up to automatically turn on and off every 3, 6 or 12 hours, and some of them can be programmed to do that every day at the same time. Pretty convenient, right?
It’s always better to choose a simple product, right? With that in mind, purchase a grow light that will be easy to install, use, and even bring with you if necessary.
Also, it’s very convenient to purchase grow lights that have the option of being connected with the daisy chain cables because then you will need only one power outlet for multiple grow lights – mess-free installation!
When choosing the right grow light among all of the choices on the market, it’s always better to look for those that can be easily adjustable. This is important because every plant will require a different distance from the source of light.
And not only different plants but also the same plant in various stages of growth. That’s why, if you plan on hanging the lights above the plants, you should be able to adjust them when needed.
The following tips will help you to get the best results from your indoor garden:
1. If you’re new to starting seedlings indoors, begin with non-fussy plants that are easy to germinate and transplant.
Basil, coleus, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, marigolds, melons, nasturtiums, peppers, snapdragons, spinach, tomatoes, and zinnias are all good choices for the novice.
2. Use a high-quality, sterilized soil formulated for starting seeds. This is important, to prevent bacterial and fungal infections in tender sprouts.
Gardener’s Supply has horticultural-grade, finely ground coconut coir– excellent for germination and producing healthy seedlings.
3. Most seeds, even for cool weather crops like lettuce and spinach, require warm soil temperatures in order to germinate.
Household temperatures that reach 70-75°F for several hours each day should provide adequate soil temperatures.
To check your soil temperature, an ordinary kitchen thermometer works fine, or you can purchase one designed for horticulture
Keep soil temperatures within the range recommended on the seed packet, and if necessary, use a heat mat in cool cellars or unheated garages.
4. It’s also important to keep the lamps very close to the seedlings, within 2 to 5 inches. Raise the fixture as plants increase in size.
5. Air circulation needs to be monitored as well. If your setup generates temperatures over 80°F, heat stress becomes a concern for tender shoots. Use a small fan to gently move the air if needed.
6. Water the soil with a gentle touch. To ensure delicate seeds aren’t disturbed by a strong water flow, water the soil thoroughly before planting. Then keep the soil evenly moist with a spray bottle, or allow trays to soak up water from the bottom.
7. Once seedlings have developed true leaves, gently separate any crowded clumps with a small fork, then replace in the tray until you are ready to transplant.
Even if you don’t know anything about grow lights, you can still make a smart buying decision with the right information in hand. At Swipereviews, we perform extensive research in every product category. To avoid bias, we always decline offers from manufacturers for “free” samples. We want to be your go-to source for honest, thorough product reviews you can trust.