Indoor gardening has never been easier. Indoor grow lights allow you to grow a wide variety of plants at any time of year and in any climate. These grow lights are specially designed to replace natural sunlight, stimulate photosynthesis, and provide the correct color spectrum where plants can grow and thrive. With the right fixtures or bulbs, you can have delicious tomatoes in the middle of winter or award-winning violets all year round. Buy indoor grow lights.

Growing at home with grow lights.

Care for plants in the comfort of your home with grow lights.

There are many types of grow light types, each with their own advantages and characteristics. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best grow lights for your situation, and how to set them up properly.


Choosing a Grow Light Type – Grow Bulbs vs Lighting Fixtures

Should you replace your existing bulbs for special growth bulbs, or should you buy a brand new built-in lighting unit? It all depends on what you want—convenience and cost or professional quality.


Grow bulbs are a less expensive option. It’s also easier to use for most people. Just take an old light or overhead light that needs a bulb replacement and replace it with a specially designed grow bulb.


Grow lights are more expensive, but they offer a more comprehensive solution. A single light fixture can provide light for multiple plants, spreading the lighting evenly throughout the space. Because these fixtures are specifically designed for grow light purposes, they tend to provide a more comprehensive spectral range than cheaper bulbs.

Should I Get an Incandescent Light, Fluorescent Light, or LED Plant Grow Light?

Incandescent grow lights are the least expensive technology, but they are also the least energy-efficient and have a relatively high heat output.


An example of incandescent grow light bulb.

Incandescent lamps. Although they are the cheapest option, their high heat output and low efficiency make them the weakest contender for growing light options.

Fluorescent lamps have a lower heat signal and produce a light spectrum suitable for growth. They are usually tube lamps or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) reflectors. Growing with fluorescent lights is a more energy-efficient option than incandescent bulbs, but they tend to be a more expensive option.


A CFL bulb from bbier.

An example of a CFL grow bulb. CFL bulbs promote longer life and better spectral growth.

LED grow lights offer the latest technology on the market today. They are very energy efficient, have ultra-low thermal output, and offer an ideal spectral range. Compared to fluorescent or incandescent lights, LED lights are the most efficient, effective, and customer-friendly way to grow plants at home, offering low energy consumption, low heat, and optimized growth color.


An grow light using LED arrays.

An array of LED grow lights. This technique uses minimal heat output and offers more energy savings, making it a great option for indoor growing.


High Intensity Discharge or HID bulbs produce light by arcing between tungsten electrodes inside a fused alumina tube. These special bulbs have very high light output levels and are commonly used by commercial growers.

Metal halide lamps use mercury vapor mixed with metal salts to create a powerful light source. They use a special device that, like hids, is usually used by commercial establishments.


What Color Light is Best for Plant Growth?

Violet-blue light in the 400 – 520 nanometer range promotes chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth.

Red light promotes flowering and budding in the 610 – 720 spectral range.

Growing light should provide the proper spectrum for photosynthesis, which is key to plant growth. Before buying a lamp, be sure to check the spectrum offered. Lights that offer a full spectrum are ideal for your growing space.

This is where LED lights come in handy. Most LED grow lights offer two types of spectral lighting, so you get all the benefits.

Plants under a violet-blue grow light.

Tip: Purple blue light promotes plant growth, and red light promotes plant germination. LED grow lights may seem odd, but they come in two types.

Create an indoor plant growing area

How to get plenty of light for indoor plants and indoor gardens? Here are 3 tips on how to best arrange your space.


Consider your indoor garden. Whether it’s a shelf, a basement area, or an entire room, see how much space you have. Potted plants and bedding.

Depending on the type of plant, space pots or trays 4 to 8 inches apart for growing, easy pruning and care.

You also want to make sure that the lights you buy will illuminate your entire growing area. You may need more than one bulb or light source to completely cover your planting area. Depending on the size of your houseplant, you may only need to use one light, or more.


Sprouts growing under light.

Sprouts thrive in a well-lit environment.

Planting Light Placement Tips

Hanging or placing lights on plant beds or pots is the best arrangement because it simulates natural sunlight coming in from overhead, exposing the sides and leaves of the plant to artificial light.


Basil grown under a grow light.

Tip: Place grow lights directly on plants to mimic natural sunlight.

As a rough guide, the incandescent light should be at least 24 inches above your plant. Fluorescent and LED lights have a lower heat signature, so they can be placed 12 and 6 inches above the plant, respectively.


As the plant grows and matures, continuously adjust the position of the grow light to maintain the proper distance. Consult your specific model and type of design for exact details and directions.


Remember, the light level required for indoor growth depends on the characteristics of the specific plant being grown. Depending on the plants you want to grow, you may need different lights, setting different heights for specific plant areas.

An LED grow light placed directly over plants.

TIP: LEDs have a low heat signature and can be placed very close to plantings.

How Long Should a Plant Grow Light Be Left On?

How long to keep grow lights on plants depends on a number of factors.


As a rule of thumb, most vegetables and flowering plants need 12 to 16 hours of light per day, with flowering plants at the top of this range.

Plan to give most plants at least 8 hours of darkness per day.

But keep in mind that different types of plants may need different amounts of light.

Darkness is very important to the growth cycle of plants. During the day, sunlight helps plants produce energy through photosynthesis. At night, however, plants break down this energy into the energy they need to grow and bloom, a process known as “respiration.”


Check your seed packaging or plant tags, or ask at the nursery for specific suggestions. And make sure you turn your grow lights off every once in a while. No one likes to work 24 hours a day – even plan7ts!

Can you grow plants with LED lights?

Not all, so it’s best to check the spectrum of the light you’re considering. Lights that offer a full color spectrum are ideal for your grow space.


Have More Grow Light Questions?

If you have questions about how to choose grow lights, we’re here to help! Visit one of our Lamp Plus store locations for help shopping for the best grow lights for your home, or contact us for our American Lighting Association training One of the lighting consultants.