Plant Lamps: Light For Growing And Houseplants

In houses and apartments it is often too dark for light-hungry plants, especially in the winter months. Herbs, young vegetable plants and many houseplants are happy about the additional light provided by special plant lamps. Why plant lights are important and what you should look out for.

How can I tell that I need a plant light?

Plants do not thrive without light. Therefore, they try to grow to the nearest light source when it is too dark for them. Their shoots grow long and longer. Leaves and buds may fall off. Lack of light is also a problem when sowing seeds and growing plants. If you sow seeds indoors at the end of winter and in spring, you will recognize a lack of light by the growth of the seedlings: if they are very long, thin and appear weak, they are probably standing in too dark a place. Then a brighter location is needed quickly – and preferably an artificial light source, i.e. a plant lamp.

Why do I need a plant lamp?

Green plants absorb red and blue light with their leaves. This is the only way they can carry out photosynthesis, with which they convert the energy of the light and use it for themselves. Good plant lights emit the red, long-wave and the blue, short-wave parts of the light spectrum. They are necessary for growing and flowering. While the blue light primarily stimulates leaf growth, the red light components support flower formation and fruit development.

What should I look for when buying and setting up a plant light?

The correct wavelengths of light and the illuminance, which is specified in lux, are important. The lights must also not get hot, so that the plants do not suffer heat damage. LED lamps and panels offered explicitly as plant lights are therefore particularly suitable. With them, there is no risk of overheating. Fluorescent tubes sold as plant lights can also be a good choice. Ideally, the lamp provides a lot of light with low power consumption. With ready-made indoor gardens and lamps from well-known manufacturers, all the important factors are usually well matched. It can also be worthwhile for amateur vegetable gardeners to purchase a lamp. After all, at least 1,000 lux is needed for young plants to grow. A bright location and a plant light in addition are optimal.

The lamp should be close enough to the plants so that enough light arrives. Hang the lamp at a height of about 30 centimeters above the planters. The distance should be no more than 50 centimeters. Height-adjustable plant lamps are therefore useful. Especially when growing, they can be well adapted to the height of the seedlings and young plants. Meanwhile, there are many different designs and versions: No one is forced to use lamps with the purple lights anymore, which reminds of flower stores or illegal hemp plantations.

What role do appearance and light impression of a plant lamp play?

“I always advise plant lamps with a pleasant, white light impression,” says garden blogger Carolin Engwert. Especially for living rooms and in the kitchen, the lamp should match the interior style. Prickly colored LED lights and panels are a matter of taste and possibly push themselves too much into the foreground. If you prefer it discreet, you can also find it: Ready-made plant lights are available in many colors for placing, clipping on and inserting into the flower pot. If you prefer to use your own lamp, you can also buy a lamp with a thread to screw into a socket. Thus, the desk or floor lamp becomes a source of light for indoor plants.

How long should plant lamps stay on?

For most plants, the plant lamp should provide them with light for ten to 15 hours. Gardener Brigitte Goss leaves her plant lamps on for around twelve hours. Some houseplants are exceptions, but those who primarily want to sow seeds and harvest edible plants should use these values as a guide. It is important that the plants get a rest with darkness at night. Especially convenient are timers that automatically control the lighting – as in aquariums. Some plant lights already have such timers built in.

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