grow lights on houseplants

How To Use Grow Lights For Indoor Plants

With the rise in popularity of collecting trendy indoor plants, a growing number of people want to learn how to use grow lights. If you don’t have much window light in your home, the overwhelming urge to amass a collection of vibrant, exotic plants may end with disappointing results. But if you figure out how to properly use grow lights to supplement natural light for your houseplants, your operation will be much more successful. Suddenly your windowless apartment will be feeling more like a lush California oasis! 

Different Types Of Grow Light Bulbs For Indoor Plants

Not all grow lights are the same, and there are some key differences to consider. When choosing your bulb, keep in mind the kinds of plants you want to grow, your overall budget, and some safety precautions. 

Incandescent Grow Lights

This classic bulb is a bit old school, but it’s definitely the least expensive variety. They tend to get pretty hot, so you won’t want to leave them unattended for long periods or in a spot where pets or kids can access them. Incandescent bulbs don’t work particularly well for plants that need a lot of light, but they’re effective for low light indoor plants like Dracaena, Sansevieria, and Pothos. Keep it at least 18” away from your plants’ foliage to avoid scorching them. 


Remember, when choosing incandescent bulbs, they’re available in different wattages. Be sure you’re buying the correct bulb wattage for your chosen fixture. The most common wattage for indoor fixtures is 60 watts, so if you buy a bulb with a higher wattage, make certain that your fixture can handle that amount. 

woman harvesting microgreens

Fluorescent Grow Lights

Fluorescent bulbs work more safely and effectively, with a broader light spectrum and a cooler temperature than incandescent bulbs. They’re a good option for indoor plants that need a considerable amount of light, like Croton or Echeveria. That being said, they’re not quite powerful enough to stimulate flowering or fruiting, so if you want to grow something like an indoor citrus tree, you’ll need an even stronger bulb.

led grow lights over tomato plant

LED Grow Lights

These lights are total game-changers for folks wanting to grow indoor plants without much window light. The full spectrum range allows for fantastic leaf, flower, and fruit production. The bulbs stay cool, they’re super energy efficient, and they last much longer than incandescent or fluorescent grow lights. LED bulbs tend to be more expensive, but they’re worth the investment when considering how effective and durable they are.  


Styles of Grow Lights Available For Indoor Plants

There are so many different kinds of grow lights to choose from, and some are actually kind of stylish! You can purchase single, classic bulbs to insert into a basic lamp, or small lights with a stand that can be positioned up close to your plants. Some smaller grow lights have clips and flexible, adjustable heads for the bulbs, so you can easily attach them to shelves and position the bulbs to shine in whichever direction you need. If you really want to go all out and grow a massive collection of plants, you can buy more complex grow light systems or stackable shelving units with long bulbs that attach overhead.

person setting a self timer for houseplant grow lights

Use A Timer On Your Grow Light

Plants appreciate consistency in the timing and duration of their light exposure. Using a grow light with a built-in timer will make your life much easier! This way, the light will shut on and off at the same time each day, helping to maintain your plant’s natural cycles. Keep in mind, your indoor plants are accustomed to less light in the winter, and this helps them ease into dormancy. Reducing the amount of time your grow lights are on in winter will give your plants a chance to rest up so they can begin another growth spurt in spring.

We have one of the most diverse collections of indoor plants in California, available to be shipped across the country. We’re constantly updating our catalog with exciting new indoor plant varieties, so take a look and see our latest picks.