Growing plants indoors can seem like a challenge, but it doesn't have to be! In fact, many plants can grow perfectly well indoors based on artificial lighting alone. That being said, there are several different types of lighting, so all of these intricacies can be confusing for a plant newbie.
Thankfully, we have done all the research for you and are here to tell you everything you need to know about growing plants indoors so that you can achieve the indoor greenhouse of your dreams.
The Best Types of Plants to Grow Indoors
Before we get into talking about different types of light for indoor plants, let's first go over some of the best types of plants that you're able to grow indoors.
Indoor plants have become especially trendy recently and for good reason! They can provide a lot of benefits to your home. Many people assume that they can't show off their green thumb if they live in an apartment without a yard or garden, but that simply isn't true. In fact, apartments are great environments for indoor plants with the right selection and care.
Here are some of the best types of plants that you can grow indoors:
- Spider Plants: These plants allow you to really show off your green thumb as they grow quite quickly. In fact, you can easily re-pot sections of this plant to add some more plant babies to your living space. They need a decent amount of light and weekly watering in order to flourish.
- Peace Lily: These plants are quite beautiful and can add a calming presence to any space. The more light that you provide these plants, the more white 'blooms' they will grow. That being said, they can still survive in low light areas, they will just be more green rather than white. These plants are quite tolerant of both overwatering and underwatering, but still, make sure to check on them once a week to see if they need to be watered.
- Aloe: Aloe is a great plant to have around the house that can actually be used for healing and medicinal purposes! If you have a bad sunburn, all you have to do is cut off a chunk of aloe for amazing relief. Aloe plants prefer indirect light and need to be watered every week or two for optimal growth.
- Bromeliad: These plants are very long-lasting and do well in an indoor environment due to the fact that they have an ideal temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure to keep these plants away from cold drafts that may negatively affect their growth.
- Orchid: These plants are beautiful and are perfect for indoors because they prefer low light and humid climates. Place your orchid in a place that gets indirect light and introduce a humidifier into your home if you really want to help it grow. They need to be watered every week or so for optimal growth.
When you think about your 'typical light bulb,' you're probably thinking about incandescent light. People tend to buy incandescent light bulbs because they are initially inexpensive. That being said, they are also extremely inefficient and have a relatively high heat output.
This means that using an incandescent light on your plants can effectively 'cook' plants by using too much heat. When it comes to indoor plants (and your home in general), it's best to stay away from incandescent lights that provide a lot of heat and aren't very energy efficient.
Fluorescent lights don't typically come in the classic Edison bulb shape, but rather in a tube.
These lights have a lower heat output when compared with incandescent light, making them a good option for plants that prefer low to medium light. They also produce an ideal spectrum of light for growing plants indoors.
That being said, this can be a more expensive option so if you're looking to save some money, it's best to keep looking.
Compact Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescent lights may be a more affordable option at the end of the day when compared with incandescent lights that are cheaper up-front but will cost you a ton of energy bills and fluorescent lights that are more expensive up-front but are more energy-efficient.
These lights act as a happy medium between the two. Just make sure to consider the wattage for specific plants. That being said, carnivorous plants like venus fly traps and phalaenopsis orchids do well under compact fluorescent lights.
Unless you have a huge inventory of indoor plants that you're looking to light altogether, then you probably don't need to use halide lights. Instead, halides are usually used in larger spaces like commercial environments or on larger plants because they are able to cover a wider space with light.
That being said, if you're looking to start your own indoor greenhouse, this might be a solid option.
The last type of light available for indoor plants is LED light. LED lights have exploded in popularity in recent years because they are super-efficient and are actually 90% cooler than traditional incandescent bulbs meaning that you can save 85-90% of your monthly electricity used for lighting.
That being said, they have a low heat output and offer an ideal light spectrum range for your indoor plants. These lights are definitely the most common grow light used for indoor plants these days and are also being used all throughout the house to save you on energy bills.
There are even 'smart' LED lights out there that you can actually control from your smartphone! This is a great option for those who want to take care of their plants and make sure they get enough light while you're out for the day and can't physically turn on the switch.
What About Temperature?
Even though the type of light is important when it comes to growing indoor plants, the temperature is important as well. Light is produced on a spectrum according to its wavelengths and ranges from red at high wavelengths to blue and purpose at low wavelengths.
Here are some tips that can help you determine what the best temperature of light is for your indoor plants:
- Violet-blue light from 400-520 on the spectrum encourages chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and overall growth.
- Red light from 610-720 on the spectrum encourages flowering and budding.
- Full-spectrum lights are the best choice for indoor plants as they best mimic the light that is naturally produced by the sun.
How Much Light to Provide?
The amount of light that you need to provide your indoor plants will really depend on the type of plant, so make sure to read up on the care of your plant as soon as you get it! Many people obsess over their plants getting a ton of light, but darkness is actually important to plants too. After all, the sun doesn't shine all the time and, therefore, your plants shouldn't be getting light 24/7 either.
As you can see, LED lights are the best type of light for growing plants indoors since they are energy-efficient, have a low heat output, and can best mimic the range of natural sunlight. Companies like Boundery offer amazing LED light products that you and your plants will love.