There are a variety of methods used for growing indoor plants under lights. To determine which types of indoor plant grow light is best for your plants, you’ll want to know a bit about the fundamentals of lighting systems, light, and colors of light. Let’s look at ow light is appraised quantitatively regarding it’s color and intensity. Different indoor light systems will be looked at and most of the common types of indoor garden lights will be touched upon. The effectiveness, costs – both initial and operating, and lifespan will be analyzed.
The Gro-Lux®light tube is the epitome of plant growth lights. These plant lights are intended solely for promoting lush plant growth, unlike other types of fluorescent tube lights. The Gro-Lux tubes won’t be found lighting a home or office — perhaps with one exception. A receptionist had the great idea to have nice pink lobby lighting, so she ordered and had installed plant growth lights. While it can become less shocking over time, these are certainly rather disconcerting lights when first encountered in such a setting.
GE’s indoor plant grow light tube is marketed as “Gro-N-Sho”. This tube is of the same genre as the Gro-Lux, having an ouput which has two large spectrum spikes: one in the blue portion of the spectrum and one in the red section. There is little light emitted in any other parts of the color spectrum causing the indoor plant grow lights to have a strange purple/lilac glow and the lights are not very bright. The spectrum spikes are steep and abrupt. This design was chosen because it matched the visible light absorbed by chlorophyll inside a test tube. A 1950s era study tested various lighting and phosphor formations on plant growth, the results of which can be found in “Lighting for Optimal Plant Growth” published by Kent State Press. In the Gro-Lux type grow light tubes, the sharp rises and drops in the blue and red spectrum are slowed to “bumps” rather than “mountain” when graphed. The peaks are not as high and they rise less sharply. The light spectrum has been tuned to emit wider bands centered around the blue and red sections. You’ll find these indoor plant grow lights available from Sylvania as Gro-Lux Wide Spectrum; GE’s is called Gro-N-Sho Wide Spectrum. The light color leans toward pink rather than purple.
Philips manufactures an indoor plant grow light called the “Agro-Lite”, which is very much like the wide spectrum Gro-Lux. They commissioned a respected American university to make a study comparing the Philips Agro-Lite to other wide spectrum plant lights. The Philips tube proved to offer 2 – 10% greater growth in a wide selection of food crops ascompared to the other tested wide spectrum plant lights.
Because the Phillips plant grow tubes are very commonly used by indoor gardeners, they are available in many hardware stores and landscaping center. However, many retailers only one vendor’s fluorescent tubes and refuse to acknowledge the difference between plant lights and wide spectrum plant lights. Therefore you may have to shop around to find the wide spectrum plant lights from a desired manufacturer. Wide spectrum tubes are not very expensive, but regular Gro-Lux tubes may cost a little more because the chemical that makes up the phosphor that creates the red rays is more expensive. In a pet shop these can be between $10 and $20. From a lighting supplier a Gro-Lux tube is about $9 while a wide spectrum tube is about $7.