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Anyone planning an indoor garden absolutely must make sure that the lighting conditions are right, or they could well find that their plants struggle to really flourish and thrive. You need light for photosynthesis, a process that sees cells within plants convert the energy in the light into sugars, giving off oxygen at the same time.
It depends on the type of plant as to how much light is required, so make sure you do some research into what you need before you start, or you could find yourself somewhat disappointed by the results.
If you’re starting from seeds, you’ll need to make sure that you give them lots of lovely bright light, particularly at this time of year. Light in winter is weaker than in spring and summer, so to grow successfully you’ll need grow lights of some description to ensure your plants grow up big and strong.
Intensity of light is important to help your plants grow, as is the number of hours that your plants receive over the course of 24 hours. This is easy to control and you can just turn your lights on and off as required, but you can also make it easy for yourself by using a timer – ideal if you’re a little on the forgetful side or if you’re going away.
You’ll also need to be familiar with the kind of colour of light required to grow certain plants. Most lights you will find on the market provide full spectrum light, which makes the decision an easy one, but just so you know what’s doing what, blue light (cool) will help any vegetables to grow, while the red light (warm) will stimulate the production of flowers and fruit.
Another choice you’ll need to make is whether you want LED or fluorescent bulbs. Both provide full spectrum light so you don’t need to worry on this front, but LEDs may be the better option if you’re working to a budget because, although the upfront cost is higher, they last longer and use less electricity.
Whatever you do, however, just make sure you don’t use incandescent bulbs, as these will give off too much heat and you could end up burning your plants!
The aim of your lighting system is to replicate the conditions your plants would enjoy if they lived outside, so you should aim to provide at least 14 to 16 hours of bright light, followed by between ten and 12 hours of darkness (which is just as important as light, since you need to give your plants plenty of time to rest and metabolise).
If you’d like any further help or advice relating to lighting systems, get in touch with the team at Bill & Ben’s today. We’ll be able to guide you through the purchasing process and ensure you invest in the right system for you and your plants.
Have a read of this interesting article to really understand just how plants use sunlight.