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Grow Lights For Your Plants: 10 Recommendations

Grow Lights For Plants

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Grow lights for plants have changed indoor gardening forever. You don’t even need a south-facing window anymore – or any window for that matter. Can you grow fruits and vegetables in your dark basement? You bet! And for very little cost.

With grow lights, you can start your seeds indoors in winter and not have to wait for spring to start planting. In addition, your plants can have a “sunny” day every day with no clouds in sight. This could make a big difference to their healthy growth and to your eventual harvest.

Grow lights are used in a major way in commercial food production, and to that end there are grow lights that cover huge greenhouses. However, this article is for the home gardener who wants to grow a few vegetables, herbs or fruits in their home. You need just a few lights – or even one bulb – to replace the natural light outside that allows them to grow and thrive.

The choice of grow lights for plants, however, is extensive. We’ve made some recommendations at the end of this article, but first here’s some basic information to help you make sense of it all.

Some Light Basics

Plants need light to grow and thrive since light is needed for the photosynthesis process. The energy plants absorb from light enables them to create the sugars that they use for food.

Natural daylight (also called white light) that plants use outdoors consists of all the colors of the light spectrum, from UV to infrared. Some plants, depending on their stage of growth, need just a few these colors whereas some need more colors of the light spectrum.

All grow lights for plants emit red and blue light which are the most essential colors for good plant growth. Blue light ensures plants will have strong, healthy stems and leaves, while red light helps plants flower and produce fruit. These types of grow lights are usually fine for some fruits and vegetables.

But, as a general rule, you may get better results if you use grow lights that emit other colors also. The optimum is full spectrum light which mimics daylight. That said, we have recommended a couple of grow lights with just red and blue light since they have excellent reviews.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)  

For home use, you can’t go wrong with an LED light, whether full spectrum or a combination of red and blue. There are also incandescent and florescent lights that could do the job, but they have several disadvantages such as higher heat output and running costs.

LED lights on the other hand have the following advantages.

  • Do not produce much heat
  • Inexpensive to run
  • Easy to install (just plug in)
  • Long lasting
  • Can be placed almost anywhere and easily moved around
  • Have a lot of flexibility in terms of the type and brightness of light output
  • Can be flexed so your plants are totally covered
  • Most have automatic timers with several settings

plants growing

How much Light Do Plants Need?

Not all plants have the same light needs and, in addition, each plant has different light needs at various stages of growth. Most fruits and vegetables need a lot of light, especially at the seedling stage. They use a lot of energy to grow roots and produce fruit. Typically, they will need between 14 and 16 hours of light a day. On the other hand, some shade-tolerant vegetables and herbs will be fine with less light. So, beware of giving your plants too little light. Conversely, don’t overdo it either since plants need time to “rest” overnight.

Which LED Grow Light to Buy?

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a LED grow light.

  • LED lights are generally either full spectrum or they emit just red and blue light. Which you choose will depend on the individual needs of the seedlings or plants.
  • Make sure the LED light is designed for plant growth.
  • Check with your supplier as to the light needs of your specific plant.
  • LED grow lights come in different shapes and sizes. Know the number of plants you want to cover before buying. In general, the more arms and the higher the Wattage, the more plants the light will cover.
  • Most LED grow lights come with clips (as opposed to a stand). Make sure you have a surface such as a shelf or table to attach a clip to.
  • Some designs have circular bulbs, some lamps’ arms are elongated.
  • Make sure the lamp height can be adjusted as your plants grow.

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Lights to grow plants

Which Grow Light to Buy?

If you do a Google search for LED Grow Lights you may find the choice overwhelming. To make things easier, we’ve listed some of the most highly recommended ones here and summarized their main features. You may be surprised to learn that grow lights for plants in the home are relatively inexpensive. And, because of the flexible color and dimming features, they are all suitable for seedlings and growing plants.

Red and Blue Grow Lights

Ezorkas 80W Grow Light

  • Red and blue lights
  • 4 elongated flexible gooseneck lamps
  • 3 timing modes (3, 9, 12 hours)
  • 9 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 lighting modes (red, blue, mixed)

Ankace 40W Grow Light

  • Red and blue lights
  • 2 elongated flexible gooseneck lamps
  • 3 timing modes (3, 6, 12 hours)
  • 5 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 lighting modes (red, blue, mixed)

Full Spectrum Grow Lights

Vogek 72W Grow Light

  • Full spectrum light
  • 3 elongated flexible gooseneck lamps
  • Can turn off individual lamps (24W each)
  • 10 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 timing modes (3, 6, 12 hours)
  • Replaceable bulbs

GHodec 40W Dual Head Grow Light

  • Full spectrum light
  • 2 elongated flexible gooseneck lamps
  • 3 timing modes (3, 9, 12 hours)
  • 10 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 color modes

Ezorkas 80W Grow Light

  • Full spectrum light
  • 4 elongated flexible gooseneck lamps
  • 3 timing modes (3, 6, 12 hours)
  • 5 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 color modes

Juhefa 40W Grow Light

  • Full spectrum light
  • 2 circular flexible gooseneck lamps
  • 3 timing modes (3, 9, 12 hours)
  • 10 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 color modes

Ankace 90W Grow Light

  • Full spectrum light
  • 3 elongated flexible gooseneck lamps
  • 3 timing modes (3, 6, 12 hours)
  • 5 brightness/dimming modes
  • 3 color modes
  • Replaceable bulbs

Grow Light Bulbs

If you have a light attachment on a ceiling or wall, or a if you have a table or floor lamp that you can place your plants under, you may simply need a grow light bulb that you can screw into an E26 socket on an existing fixture to turn it into a grow light. You will, of course, need to turn the grow light on and off yourself, unless you can attach it to a separate timer.

Sansi 24W Grow Light Bulb

  • Full spectrum
  • Coverage area: 4.20 sq ft
  • Ceramic LED (conducts less heat, uses less electricity)
  • 5-year unlimited warranty
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Expensive – similar cost to grow lights

GE 9W Grow Light Bulb

  • Full spectrum
  • Probably covers just one or two plants
  • More natural light than most full spectrum lights
  • The least expensive option of all grow lights

Sansi 15W Grow Light Bulb

  • Full spectrum
  • Coverage area: 2.8 sq ft
  • Ceramic LED (conducts less heat, uses less electricity)
  • 5-year unlimited warranty
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Medium priced bulb

Final Thoughts

You don’t need natural light to grow fruits and vegetables in your home. All you need is a grow light. When buying a grow light, you can’t go wrong with any of the LED lamps listed in this article. They are inexpensive, easy to install and effective and will give you more options to help you grow your own food all year round.

Amy Martens

Amy Martens

My interest in growing my own food stems from many sources: enjoyment of gardening, concern about chemicals and pesticides, and the desire to eat fresher, healthier fruits and vegetables. I believe the more we do this, the healthier we’ll all be, while helping our planet at the same time.

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