Artificial Lights For Plants


Since most of the leaves have green colors, the light they reflect are focused in the green and yellow ranges. Therefore, blue and red light is the best light source for plants. When we determine the best light source for indoor plants, we should consider a variety of things including budget and needs for particular plants.


For most plants, and sun light is the best light source because it is a type of natural source. Unless you use a special technique to imitate the external sun light, plants usually grow better in outdoor environment. In some cases, plants putting beside a bright window where direct sunlight is accessible can grow as good as the ones growing in an outdoor environment. The only exception is for those low light plants because direct sunlight cause burning on them.

Researchers from Missouri Kansas State University suggest to use fluorescent lamp as the major artificial light source for a houseplant. They can work for a long time and can efficiently turn electricity into light. The fluorescent light sources labeled as cool white or warm white usually work better than the full spectrum ones. However, most fluorescent lights often have very little red portion of the spectrum of light which is essential to plant growth. So, extra nutrients should be provided to those plants as a compensation compared with the plants growing under natural sun light.

Another type of indoor lighting solution is using the metal halide light. Grown under this type of light source will be as good as the ones growing outdoors. Due to the fact that metal halide lamps provide a large blue spectrum of light, their leaves will be growing very lush. Similar to common fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps are lake of red spectrum light and plants growing under them need extra nutrients as a compensation.

Some gardeners use high pressure sodium lamps as the main light source for their plants. Although the plants look bit of unhealthy, they can provide some benefits on some aspects. Because the red and orange part of the spectrum of light is high in HP sodium lamp which can promote flowering and fruiting, it is critical to vegetables and flowers. However, the plant has the potential to become weak, the major use of this type of light source is to fill the missing light spectrum for other light sources.

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Image provided By Zoboar (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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