House plants often do not grow and thrive to their full potential due to insufficient lighting. Determining the best indoor lighting for plants inside your home involves selecting both the correct intensity level of lighting as well as developing an optimal and consistent lighting schedule.
You can take advantage of the natural light your home receives from the sun and place your plants around your home accordingly, or you may opt to use artificial lighting for indoor plants. Artificial lighting may be used in addition to natural lighting if your home does not receive enough sunlight throughout the day. It may also replace it altogether in winter months, for example, or if you simply feel more secure completely controlling your plants’ light source yourself.
Light’s wavelengths are visible to humans as colors. White light consists of the full rainbow spectrum from red to violet. Plants need the red to orange section for flowering growth and the blue to violet section for healthy foliage. The yellow to green section of the spectrum is not necessary for plant growth. Fluorescent lighting is great for house plants. It lasts for as much as ten times longer than incandescent lighting and it adequately provides those sections of the spectrum which plants need most. A setup combining 40 watts each of cool white and warm white fluorescent lights is a great place to start.
The required intensity and duration of lighting for indoor plants depends on the types of plants you are nursing. Flowering plants should be kept about six to 12 inches away from the light source and given 12 to 16 hours of light each day. Foliage plants should be at least 12 inches away from the source and given 14 to 16 hours of light every day. Do not forget that plants need at least eight hours of darkness for photosynthesis to properly transpire. Putting your indoor plant lighting on a power strip with an automatic timer will help avoid disrupting your ideal lighting schedule.
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