Growing Under Artificial Lights

Summary: Artificial lights to grow plants is not a new idea, it has long been a substitute for sunlight in indoor gardening.

Electricity has long made modern homeowner somewhat independent of the weather. Through its use, clothes are dried on rainy days, food is preserved conveniently throughout summer heat, and “sunbathing” or maybe we should say “tanning” is possible in winter. Today, electricity can even substitute for sunlight in indoor gardening.

Experiments in growing plants under artificial light were over 100 years ago, and over the past few decades, artificial lighting developments have made electric light practical for home gardeners and commercial growers. Modern electric lighting opens up fascinating possibilities both for gardening indoors and for interior decorating with plants. It is now a simple matter to raise many flowering and foliage plants without any natural light whatsoever, and they can be grown in this way for many months, and possibly, for several years.

growing indoors under the aerogarden grow lights

Light And Your House Plants

A minor revolution is taking place in indoor gardening or it could be also in the interest for growing pot indoors. The number of “house plants” you grow is no longer limited by the amount of window space available. Through the use of artificial light and grow lights, plants can be placed wherever they are wanted for decoration. Shadowy corners, halls, stairways, and other dimly lighted areas can be enlivened with appropriate plant groupings.

How many people dream of windows full of flowering plants during dull winter months? It’s an age-old wish but one seldom fulfilled, becuase nearly everybody has a window problem! Windows may be too small or poorly placed; there may not be enough of them; or some may have way too much light, others too little. If you have any of these problems, artificial light and grow lights can solve the lighting problem.

You can grow various kinds of house plants under artificial light without any sun at all – African violets for example. Many plants seem to prefer a regular program of man-made sunshine, given in equal amounts each day, to the one-day-sunny, two-days-dull routine, which the winter season often brings. Inadequate light is the main reason for poor flowering.

Growers in foggy coastal regions also find artificial light a grand aid in plant-growing. And what a boon to apartment dwellers!

Uses of Artificial Light

Artificial lighting serves in many locations in our homes to dramatize plants as well as to aid their growth. Room dividers, which separate activity areas, can be designed for use as lighted planters; a spotlight focused on a group of plants adds to the beauty of a room and is beneficial to the plants; lights placed above aquariums promote growth of fish and miniature plants that live within. Grow lights gives a headstart on outdoor gardens, too, for many vegetables can be sown early indoors under artificial lights.

Lights also have their place in the garage or basement. There they can turn dark, little-used areas into indoor gardens. And in the greenhouse, they extend light hours when needed, or brighten up dark corners and under-the-bench sections, doubling or tripling growing space.

If you are an outdoor gardener, use incandescent lights in your coldframe to turn it into a hotbed. Then you will be able to grow many lovely tender things that cannot be trusted to a coldframe in very early spring.

How can you grow plants with electricity? By suspending lights of varying intensities at proper distances above the plants, you can, in an unbelievably short time, have a crop which will be the envy of friends who rely on sun alone to light and foster their indoor greenery.

Under-light growers will tell you that results more than justify extra electrical expense. Tests prove you can plant rooted African violet cuttings under lights and have salable plants in two months. Weigh this against any other accepted growing method, and you will find it saves a month or more. Think of the advantages for hybridizers anxiously awaiting development of future generations of plants!

Every Day a Sunny Day

When you grow plants under artificial light, every day becomes a sunny day, and there need be no seasonal plant adjustment to follow the sun as it shifts from window to window during different months of the year. I remember how eagerly I used to look forward to spring and summer – not only for the outdoor beauty they provided, and my return to real gardening, but because increased sunshine extended my indoor growing space.

When spring came, I could move many of my plants to north or northeast windows, confident that they would thrive and bloom. But frequent sunless days of fall and winter necessitated shifting them to already crowded east and south locations. There they were in for a really stiff battle for survival of the fittest. Most who garden in limited space have been guilty of crowding into cramped quarters far more plants than can be adequately cared for. There is no longer any need to do this. Simply by installing adequate artificial light above your plants, you can increase your garden space to make room for everything you want to grow.

As you learn to garden in this streamlined way, you will be grateful for the exact control you can exercise over the light your plants receive so that they will be free from ill effects of too little or too much sunshine. Plants grow and are pushed into flower far more rapidly under this system than on the average window sill. Under lights, leaves appear healthier, flower color is enhanced, and danger of leaf-burn from sunshine on water-spattered African violet or gloxinia leaves is avoided. Directly under the light, plants develop perfect symmetrical form, for they receive equal illumination from all sides.

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