Growing plants indoors requires many things that may not be mandatory for plants being grown on your front porch or in a garden in your backyard. To properly grow plants in places where they will not receive naturally occurring nutrients or direct sunlight every day, you need things such as proper growing containers, good-quality potting soil and grow lights.
Growing lights are perhaps one of the most important factors in successful plant growth. There is much debate amongst avid gardeners about what kind of grow lights are the most effective in producing plants that are healthy and helping to maintain the quality of those plants throughout the year.
When choosing the right grow light for your indoor garden there a few factors you must consider. First, there are different types of light that can be used to successfully grow plants indoors, such as LED or HPS lights. Both of these lights are great for plants. Perhaps more important than the type of light you choose for your indoor garden, however, is the color of the lamp that you choose. There are many different types of colored lights that can be used to grow inside your home.
The question many novice and experienced gardeners ask is does the color of the lamp greatly affect the results of your plants’ success? The short answer is yes, the color of the light that will be hovering over your plants for months on end can have an effect on your growing process. In this article, we will explore why that is and what types of lights are the best bet for having a flourishing indoor garden.
Why does the color of your lamp affect plant growth?
If you’ve ever taken a science class in your life, you’ll know that light exists on a spectrum. Light that we can see, i.e. visible light, is only a small fraction of the overall electromagnetic spectrum. Light, or electromagnetic energy, can come in a wide variety of forms including visible light, gamma rays, infrared light, etc. Each of these forms comes with rays that can harm plants or help them turn the light into crucial nutrients needed to grow.
Visible light also behaves in a wave-like pattern and, depending on the light color, the wavelengths will vary from short to long and change the amount of energy that is expelled from that particular light. Plants need a specific amount and type of energy to properly cultivate.
The process known as photosynthesis is the way by which plants turn sunlight into food and is dependent on a few things like energy emitted from the light source and a thing known as Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives plants their green hue and is necessary for photosynthesis. So, should you choose a green growing light, for example, it would not be very effective in helping the plant to grow because Chlorophyll is already green and needs colors on the opposite end of the spectrum to thrive.
The wavelengths would not be emitting the proper energy that the plant needs to produce Chlorophyll and to go through the process of photosynthesis. This can cause the plant to not grow to its fullest potential.
As you can see the color of the light you choose can and will have different end results for your plant due to the wavelengths and energy emitted from different lamp hues. So, which colors are the best for growing plants indoors and are there benefits and results you can get from different colors depending on the type of plant and the yield you wish to get from it?
What are the different lamp colors and their benefits?
As stated previously, not all colors are created equal. Different colored lamps will produce different results for your indoor plants. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, the colors on the spectrum can be used to help you get the results you want from your plants. Let’s briefly explore each color on the visible light spectrum and what results they may generate.
An ultraviolet light or UV light, as it is more commonly known as, can be harmful to plants in the same way that it is harmful to humans. It emits an amount of energy that can damage plants with prolonged or intense exposure. This type of light is not recommended for any type of plant you wish to grow indoors.
Violet light can be highly beneficial to plant growth. It possesses a higher amount of energy and can produce better plant color and aroma, enhanced flavors in fruits and vegetables and increase the amounts of antioxidants that a plant contains. So, if you are looking to grow certain foods indoors, violet light may be one of the best choices to ensure you get the best look and flavor from your produce.
Blue light is another good choice for indoor vegetation. Plants can primarily benefit from a blue hue during the earlier stages of its life. This is because blue light can help with the plant’s production of chlorophyll, an essential component for photosynthesis. Blue light is easier for a plant to absorb and convert to energy and can help your plant reach maturity quicker. Check out this option here.
Green light, as mentioned before, is not the most ideal light for proper plant growing. This is because plants reflect green light, unlike the many other colors which they absorb fairly easily. Green lights can be used to enhance the chlorophyll in the plant and therefore the appearance but it is not very useful otherwise.
This color of light is pretty similar to green light in its effects on plant growth. There aren’t many instances to show that this is an effective color to choose for abundant plants. Much like green light, yellow light can be hard for plants to absorb and does not provide the energy it needs to enter into full photosynthesis.
Red light is often seen in indoor gardens and growing rooms. It is a solid choice for proper plant growth, however, on its own, it is not very effective. Often times, red light is combined with blue light, like this light here. Red light, when combined with blue, is great for plants that have already reached full maturity. Red light can help to make flowers bloom, while the combination of the two lights can increase the number of leaves a plant produces.
So, what is the best color for growing?
You may be asking yourself, what the best color lamp is for growing your beloved plants under? Most of the colors seem to have one benefit or another that could make it a viable option. There are some standouts, however. The most crucial colors in the development of your plants are definitely red and blue. Blue being the best color for the early stages of your plants’ life and red combined with some blue tones will be the best option for your more mature plants and maintaining their healthy status.
Some people may choose to add in or take away other colors from the spectrum throughout the process to yield different results from varying types of plants. Lights, such as this one, provide the full spectrum of light, and do the work for you, should you wish to use an array of colors for the duration of the growing process. Some argue that a full spectrum light is the most efficient way to go because you can get the best benefits from all of the different colors and grow the best-looking plants.
Growing plants indoors can be a big undertaking when you factor in all the variables you need to make it a successful process. Grow lights are essential to any gardener’s collection if they plan to have a flourishing indoor garden that will yield the best produce and the most aesthetically pleasing vegetation.
As explained before, not all colors of light are created equal when it comes to growing the best plants possible. Planning to grow fruits or vegetables indoors so you can have fresh produce year-round? Perhaps consider purchasing a violet light to help enhance the flavors, aroma, and appearance of your food. Want to grow your typical house plants with beautiful blooming flowers? Start those seedlings out under blue light and then combine it with red when they have reached maturity to help those flowers bloom! Or purchase a full-spectrum light to make sure all of your bases are covered when it comes to light sources.
One thing we can all agree on is that different lights will affect your plant growth and results will vary depending on what the plant is and what you wish to get out of it.
Have some experience with different colored grow lights? Let me know in the comments what you’ve had success with! Happy gardening!