How to Light an Indoor Garden without Natural Sunlight

January 18th, 2010 by

Getting enough natural sunlight to grow an indoor garden can be difficult if you live in an apartment. You may not have access to a south facing or western window if you live in apartment building. However, plants need enough light to grow, and without it, you won’t be able to grow much. To solve this problem, consider using artificial lighting for your indoor garden. If you’re not sure what your options are, here are some artificial lights you need to know about:

Compact Fluorescent Grow Light Systems

These artificial grow light systems produce less heat than those made of incandescent bulbs, and takes 125 Watts to run. The bulbs are much smaller than traditional fluorescent bulbs, about one quarter the size.  Use compact fluorescent grow light systems to germinate seeds as well as to grow a variety of plants, including fruits, vegetables, tropical plants, house plants and exotic flowers. Compact fluorescent bulbs do pose a serious risk, however, if they ever get broken. They contain mercury, and your home will be considered hazardous if the bulb breaks, which means you’ll have to hire a professional to clean up the hazardous waste. If you have children, this may not be your best option.

Clamp-on Grow Light Kits

Grow herbs and other plants with an incandescent spot light bulb. Clamp-on grow light kits include a lamp that you can clamp on any nearby furniture or fixture, and a 60 Watt or 150 Watt bulb, depending on what you purchase. They’re made with a swivel so that you can point the light in any direction your choose. The bulbs give off more heat than fluorescent bulbs, but you don’t have the risk of mercury in your home if the bulb breaks.

High Intensity Discharge Grow Lights

If you want to use the same amount of electricity as an incandescent bulb, but have the effectiveness of even more energy, try high intensity discharge (HID) grow lights. They produce over 500% more energy than traditional bulbs and may be one of the best alternatives to natural sunlight. They produce amazing results for vegetables and miniature trees for indoor gardens. You can use them to grow most plants and trees to about four feet. HID grow lights are extra bright, making it possible to grow bedding plants indoors. The two types of HID grow lights available are Metal Halide grow lights and High Pressure Sodium lamps. The former will grow everything, but the latter works especially well for flowers and fruits.

Once you choose the lights that best suit your needs, you may need to purchase accessories, such as reflective material and light stands. The good news is that although you will have to make an investment upfront, you can overcome the problem of not having the natural light you need to grow your own plants and food. The manufacturers of most light systems provide easy set up instructions and other helpful guides to get your lighting system up and running in no time.

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