Sign up for our newsletter
Get Flower Bed Nursery's independent reviews, and expert advice sent straight to your inbox.
Light is an essential factor defining your indoor hydroponic farming success. Without lights, your plants can’t produce enough energy to grow and thrive. Sunlight is a perfect light source for them; however, it’s not the only option. Therefore, you may wonder: ‘Can I use a regular lamp to grow plants?’ This article will give you the best answer to this and a lot more, including the various types of indoor lighting and helpful gardening tips.
Yes. You can use a regular lamp to grow plants. It’s a good idea to place a few LED bulbs designed for plants near dimly lit areas. However, the effectiveness may not be as good as a grow light bulb. Ordinary lamps don’t release a full spectrum of light, which may affect plant growth. These products are more cost-effective than particular grow lights, making them an ideal way to kickstart your gardening journey with some tiny plants.
It depends on the lighting type. Greens thrive best under the red and blue spectrums, but ordinary incandescent lights primarily emit the green and yellow spectrums, which are less effective for plant growth. Besides, they generate a lot of heat, which may damage greenery when placed too close to the bulbs.
However, there are also numerous instances where photosynthetic organisms and plants can thrive under ordinary incandescent lights. Why can those organisms survive that well with artificial lighting? Because they are compatible with the spectrum that regular lights emit. Some organisms also absorb light from those lamps.
But, most organisms can’t consume regular light and must absorb the natural energy from the sun instead. If your plants don’t receive enough sunlight, they may grow tall yet have a weak stem, and their leaves will feature a lighter color. You may notice that new leaves grow larger but will turn yellow soon. Once you detect these symptoms in your plants, you must immediately provide them with additional sunlight. The best regular lamps for plants should contain both red and blue wavelengths, as these are beneficial for fruiting, flowering, and healthy foliage growth.
Will a regular light bulb work as a grow light? The answer is no due to the following differences between the two:
Normal bulbs feature narrow spectral wavelengths, which may not provide sufficient light for photosynthesis. Meanwhile, grow bulbs are tailor-designed to produce the exact light volume, allowing plants to photosynthesize properly.
Typical LED lamps have a low lighting output, which means they consume more energy to generate the same amount of light. A grow fluorescent bulb is twice as sufficient as a regular one, whereas an LED grow bulb is nearly five times as sufficient as a similar standard bulb.
Most normal lights produce a lot of heat, so it’s necessary to hang them at least 24 inches from the greens to prevent burning. Grow bulbs are way cooler, so placing them 4-5 inches away from the greens is possible for optimal effectiveness.
Hydroponic fixtures are common in industrial planting because they provide a high-intensity light source similar to sunlight. They’re way stronger than ordinary household lights and can provide vegetables with a large spectrum.
Though hydroponic lamps are not popular household lighting, you can easily find and purchase them online or at department stores. Many products deliver the same strength as daytime sunlight, offering houseplants enough lighting to convert into energy. But don’t forget to turn off the bulbs at night since flowers also need darkness to relax.
Incandescent lamps are a classic lighting type that is less commonly used in homes. While they generate a lot of red, there is a little blue. Hence, we don’t highly recommend this option for nurturing houseplants. They also release heat and may cause burning, so it’s never a clever idea to place them near your plants. Sadly, while LED products have improved over the years, incandescent models mostly stay the same.
Fluorescent fixtures are more cost-effective than the two options above. With a small carbon footprint, they’re more energy-efficient than incandescent fixtures.
Ordinary fluorescent tubes are remarkably effective artificial lights for some houseplants. T5 is a type of fluorescent lighting used to foster seed germination.
LEDs are a promising name in home gardening since they’re energy-efficient, practical, and more cost-effective every year. LED grow lights are known for producing high-intensity light, including full-spectrum wavelengths.
One of the main reasons LED fixtures are becoming more commonplace in homes is that they’re highly energy-efficient and last for an extended period of time. Since they don’t emit much heat and can generate a broad spectrum, they’re a fantastic option for growing low- and medium-light indoor plants.
This artificial lamp is the same as incandescent lighting, but its electric current runs through the tungsten filament instead. The halogen surrounding the filament can be bromine or iodine. It helps the bulb produce more heat without using too much energy. Halogen fixtures are a fantastic choice for growing houseplants since heat is necessary for many plants in warmer climates.
Most houseplants fall into this category and require a light intensity of 10–15 watts per square foot of growing space. The daylight from the windows should be enough to make these greens happy.
The palm tree is one of those low-lit indoor plants. As a bonus, we’ve got some fantastic tips on fertilizing palm trees here.
Medium-light houseplants will require artificial light of 15–20 watts per square foot of growing space to develop. If your greens fall into this category, you should give them a few hours of direct sunlight daily.
Let’s take roses as an example. Adequate sunlight combined with proper rose fertilization will help your potted flowers thrive.
We don’t recommend growing these plants indoors since they usually can’t absorb artificial lighting. That means you’ll need to invest in high-intensity bulbs to keep them alive indoors.
Twenty watts is the minimum wattage that high-lit greenery will need to develop healthily. We tried growing mango trees in our houses and had to use the best mango fertilizers combined with heavy-duty fixtures to nurture them successfully.
If you’re planting low-lit houseplants, don’t worry much about the distance between the lights and them. Straightforward overhead fixtures should work just fine, particularly if they’re cooler fluorescents or LEDs.
On the other hand, greens that require medium-to-high lighting will need the bulbs to be closer to their leaves. You’ll also have to use high-intensity lamps, so placing them a foot from the leaves is best. If you identify the leaf edges that start to turn brown, black, or burn, there’s a high chance that you’ve hung the bulbs too close to the plants.
The answer to, ‘Can plants grow from regular light bulbs?’ is yes, but can we grow our houseplants without any natural sunlight? If you’re a hobbyist grower, artificial lighting is not enough to nurture indoor vegetables. However, this task is doable if you’re an experienced gardener with high-quality equipment.
The best way to optimize the use of ordinary lights is to place reflectors around your houseplants. They will promote the effectiveness and strength of the fixtures and reduce the number of bulbs needed. Reflectors come in various materials, like:
Foylon reflectors can withstand wear and tear and are effortless to maintain. They may be costly compared to other materials, yet they will surely be more cost-efficient over the long term.
Elastomeric paint is excellent for boxed vegetables and flowers. This rubberized roofing coating is mildew-resistant, straightforward to maintain, and can yield 90% reflection.
Mylar is an affordable reflective film. Though it’s softer than the Foylon, it’s reasonably durable considering the price range.
Can I use a regular lamp to grow plants? While sunlight is the best wavelength balance essential for plant blooming and fruiting, you can use artificial lighting to keep your tiny home garden bright and green. Choosing suitable greenery tools for your environment is the key to your gardening success. So, ensure to research each plant’s light demand thoroughly before farming.