Plant lighting does not have to be complicated. Sometimes you can set houseplants at a sunny window or alternative well-lit location and they will thrive, but other plants need better lighting and will require something more. Options you might consider include fluorescent lighting with either white or full-spectrum lights, or even incandescent light with conventional bulbs or heat lights. In most cases, fluorescent lights work better for plants than incandescent lights do.
The Quality of Light
No matter how bright or how alluring a light is, if it is not the wavelength that plants need, they won’t ever grow. Sensors need blue light waves, found at one end of the light spectrum, for the rise of foliage. They require red light waves, from the opposite end of the light spectrum, to support both flowering and fruiting. Since heat lights emit loads of red light but nearly no blue, plants wo not grow if just a heat lamp is used.
The Intensity of Light
Light intensity refers to how bright the light is as it reaches the plants. 1 indicator of this is the wattage of the bulb being used, but the intensity drops much since the bulb is moved further from the plants, which makes much of the light unavailable to them. For best results the light should be just a few inches from the surface of the plants. Fluorescent lights are cool enough for this, but lights bulbs — especially heat lights — are much too hot and will damage the plants if placed that close.
Heat Lamp Considerations
Heat lamps are a sort of incandescent bulb and have the exact benefits and problems as incandescents. They’re a source of red light waves, even if the light appears white to the human eye, and emit almost no other light wave colours. Heat lamps are also a rather inefficient supply of light as much of the energy used to run them is given off as heat and not as light. While the heat may be advantageous in very cold temperatures, plants can’t get enough light from heat lights alone to permit them to live.
Plant Lighting Options
Fluorescent lights are appropriate for many kinds of houseplants; utilize warm or full-spectrum lights to present red light along with the blue for plants. Simple shop lights hung about 4 inches above plants are acceptable for houseplants that don’t flower. Placing plants near a sunny window or alternative source of natural light can supplement fluorescent lighting. Adding an incandescent bulb to fluorescent lighting can also help with flowering, but the wasted energy and the extra heat may cause more difficulties than the light solves.