Using Plant Grow Lights During the Winter Months

Plants cannot thrive without light. However, not all plants can survive outdoors in harsh winters. If you want to grow juicy tomatoes and violets in the dead of winter or produce fresh garden herbs and salad throughout the year, grow lights will make it possible for indoor plants to flourish any time of the year in all weather conditions.

There are different types of grow light systems, depending upon the type of plant you wish to grow. For the beginner, choosing the right indoor grow lights may be a bit daunting. Fortunately, using plant grow lights is a simple and great way to kick start your year-round gardening season. Just go through our guidelines below on using grow lights during the winter months to grow a wealth of stock, green seedlings. This video may also help:

Type of Plant to Grow

Since vegetable plants need more light than many exotic plants, you need to decide what type of plant you wish to grow indoors, based on the amount of electricity you can use and the space available.

The Right Color

Sunlight consists of a spectrum of light, including all colors of the rainbow; from red through yellow and blue through violet. Although plants require the full spectrum to carry out photosynthesis, red and blue light are the most important, though.

plant soaking up some light for growing

Red light lies in the 610-720 nm spectrum range which stimulates flowering most of all. Violet-blue light lies in the 400-520 nanometer range and promotes chlorophyll absorption that is especially important for rapid and strong plant growth.

There are several types of grow light types available on the market, each with their strengths and features. Incandescent grow bulbs are low cost but are also the least efficient, while fluorescent grow lights have low heat output and offer a decent spectrum of light for growth.

However, LED grows lights are the latest technology hogging the limelight for their great characteristics. Not only do they have minimal energy usage and an ultra-low heat output, they also provide an ideal light spectrum range. This makes LEDs the most efficient, effective and eco-friendly method to grow indoor plants.

The most efficient LED grow lights are those called 600 watt grow lights. Technically, LED fixtures actually use less than that, but the are equivalent to a 600 watt traditional grow light in terms of out put, hence the name. For a rundown of the best 600w LED grow lights, head here.

The Right Intensity

The intensity of light received by a plant is determined by the wattage of the bulb and the distance of the plant from the light source. Flowering houseplants like African violets will grow healthy at a distance of 10 to 12 inches from a light source, while foliage plants like ivy will be happy even if placed 36 inches away. Other flowering plants like citrus, orchids, and gardenias and most vegetable plants need higher light intensity to flower and produce fruit.

The Right Duration

Regardless of types of plants being cultivated indoors during winter, all of them need some rest. Plants ‘breathe’ in the dark which is vital for their healthy growth and the setting of buds and fruit.

Most vegetables and flowering plants should be kept in light for 12 to 16 hours per day. At least 8 hours of darkness per day is ideal for plants. By making use of artificial grow lights in your garden, you can have absolute control over the environment you give your vegetation and make sure it remains healthy by offering the best possible environment for growth. LED lights are the way to ensure that your vegetables obtain exactly what they require.