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How Do I Choose the Best Indoor Gardening Lights?

By Helena Reimer
Updated May 17, 2024
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The best indoor gardening lights are those that mimic the light color of the sun, because they are able to accommodate a wider variety of plants at different stages. In addition to lots of light, plants also need darkness, and thus a good indoor lighting system should have a timer that controls the light duration. There are four types of indoor gardening lights from which to choose: incandescent, fluorescent, high-intensity discharge lamps (HID) and light emitting diodes (LED). Each type of grow light is able to provide the plants with a slightly different growing environment, thus some indoor gardening lights will work great for some plants but not so great for others. Researching which types of lights work best for the plants you want to grow can help you choose the best indoor gardening lights for your needs.

The color temperature of the indoor gardening lights is measured in kelvin, and can range from 2,200-6,000 kelvin. Higher temperatures give off a bluer color, which is closer to that of sunlight, and the lower temperatures give off an orange or red color. In most cases, a single type of grow light will do, but for large, flowering and fruit plants, an indoor lighting system of various color temperatures can help bring about greater results.

Incandescent lamps are great for starting seeds, but they generally do not help with the growing process of the plants. Fluorescent grow lights, on the other hand, are great for all stages of a variety of plants because they are available in higher color temperatures that resemble the sun. The bulbs also are highly efficient and usually have a long life span. LED lights also are efficient, but some of the cheaper ones are not as effective in producing a good harvest.

HID lights are another good type of indoor gardening lights because they are suitable for all stages of a variety of plants. These grow lights are very effective in producing good results and thus are often used by growers who grow larger crops. There are several types of HID lights, such as sodium lamps, metal halide lamps and mercury vapor lamps.

The metal halide lamps are able to produce shorter and stockier plants that resemble those grown naturally in the sun. Sodium lamps have been shown to be able to increase the harvest because of the orange and red spectrum that they produce. These two lamps work well when combined in a lighting system in which both lamps are used on the plants. Mercury vapor lamps, which were one of the first growing lights on the market, are not as commonly used anymore because of the effectiveness of the metal halide lamps and sodium lamps.

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