The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the traditional food and agriculture supply chain in the US. It has been the major worry for many, especially when it comes to food. But thankfully, there is indoor farming. Indoor farming has been growing steadily for several years now, giving farmers a more food sustainability while eating fresh and healthy food.
Growing plants, specifically vegetables, and herbs, indoors is one way to increase food sustainability, especially in this uncertain time. Since it is indoor gardening, natural light is absent. But gardening experts found an alternative to sunlight – LED grow light.
Why is light important to your plants?
Light is an essential part of plant lives. It is through photosynthesis that plants, like vegetables and herbs, can produce consumable food.
Plants use sunlight and convert it into energy. Plants use at least 70% of sunlight throughout the photosynthetic process. Without sunlight, plants, such as vegetables and herbs, would not get adequate nutrition to compromise survival and growth. However, too much of it can potentially lead plants to death.
Home indoor farming became a life-changing instrument of survival. With ultraviolet light or LED grow lights, most plants, like herbs, can thrive without the fear of receiving too much sunlight and experience its adverse effects.
Grow lights are necessary components in growing plants indoors. Everything is capable of producing light without harming the plants excessively.
What to look for in a grow light?
The next thing to worry about is what to look for in a grow light. Knowing what to expect can help not only the plants but also indoor farmers.
If we opt to go for herbs, there are grow lights that are suitable for herbs. There are also lights perfect for vegetables. These are some of the criteria that indoor farmers and starters should consider:
Distance between grow lights and plants
We do not want our growing herbs or vegetables to die from burning and over-exposure. Distance between grow lights and plants is a significant factor. The distance between the lights and plants depends on the wattage of the lights.
Heat and grow lights
Grow lights emit heat, which also responsible for the survival of a growing herb or vegetable. Since grow lights are artificial, they tend to be a little harmful than sunlight.
It emits a certain amount of heat that can affect growth. Thus, the need for vertical clearance between the plants and the grow light is necessary.
Color, Lumens, Lux, PAR, and Wattage
These are the technical aspects of grow lights. The color spectrum is a manipulating variable responsible for plant growth.
Lumens are a unit responsible for the light that a growing plant is capable of absorbing.
PAR or Photosynthetically Active Radiation is a spectrum where indoor farmers can identify which light a plant responds best through photosynthesis.
Wattage affects the efficiency of a grow light.
Everything helps indoor farmers decide which grow light is adequate at a particular stage of growth. They cannot blindly pick a light because most plants can be photo-sensitive.
It pertains to the generating cost of the grow lights concerning the growing space. Since they use electricity, generating cost is an expected outcome.
Unit economics entails electric bill consumption amounts and wattage of the bulbs. We do not want to go overboard with spending too much without a guaranteed ROI (return of investment).
Different types of indoor light
Can you grow herbs in low light intensity?
Choosing a grow light for indoor herbs and vegetables is vital. Beginner indoor gardeners must not mistakenly choose a particular grow light at the earliest stage of growth just because it looks fancy.
Here are indoor light types and how gardeners should use them in indoor farming – fluorescent lights, high-intensity lights, and LED lights.
Fluorescent grow lights
The fluorescent grow lights are suitable artificial lights for indoor herbs and other plants. Fluorescent bulbs are long-lived and are energy efficient. Fluorescent grow lights work great with seeds, cuttings, and plants like lettuce.
HID lights or High-intensity discharge lights
High light intensity is commonly utilized in most greenhouses. These high-light intensity lights are used as supplementary light.
High light intensity discharges a lot of heat, so vertical clearance between plants and these lights is essential. However, the high light intensity has surprisingly long-lived bulbs.
High-intensity lights work best with flowering and fruiting plant growth stages.
LED lights or Light-emitting diode lights
LED is the latest supplementary light for indoor vegetation. It is known to be energy-efficient and relatively long-lived.
LED bulbs can be customized, either emitting red or blue light spectrum alone. However, the LED light produces little heat. It works best for all plant growth stages because of its variety in wattages.
Placing grow lights appropriately
Installing the bulbs of the chosen lights can be quite a task, especially for a newbie. Here are some considerations in placing lights appropriately.
The number of bulbs needed
Placing all 100 bulbs in a tiny space can be a tad excessive and potentially kill your indoor herb. Always consider the wattage of the bulbs.
Create a light rack
A light rack does not only support the light bulbs in place. They also support the indoor plant by creating a distance between them and the bulbs. The rack both works for indoor plants that retain their growth and those that grow at certain lengths.
Add important accessories
Accessories do not only beautify growing an indoor herb garden or any indoor plant. They also play a vital role in growth.
Accessories like ventilation can help in regulating the heat emitted by the light source. A timer can be used as an accessory to ensure that indoor herbs and plants get an adequate amount of light from the source.
Symptoms of under and overexposure
While the absence of natural light does not guarantee success in growing indoor herbs, these plants can still be at risk of under and overexposure.
A grow light for herbs, and other plants and vegetables can contribute to particular symptoms to under and overexposure of plants.
- Bleached leaf – One of the signs of overexposure is a bleached leaf. While this symptom is commonly evident in indoor herbs left at a porch or window with direct sunlight, this can be observed if the herb is exposed to a growing light for a more extended period.
- Leaning – Since indoor farming uses artificial light, leaning is an evident symptom of underexposure. Indoor plants like herbs and vegetables rely on natural light more because it contains a red and blue light spectrum.
- Stunted plant growth is a noticeable symptom of insufficient light distribution. Inadequate light from light sources can be a contributor.
- Yellow Leaves – Another observable symptom of inadequate light distribution is the yellowing of the leaves.
Scientifically, leaves are where the food-making happens. Without a sufficient amount of light from the source, leaves would not be successful in creating food, leading to its eventual death.
Lighting tips for successfully growing herbs indoors
While others think of growing herbs indoors as an impossible feat, indoor gardening experts say otherwise.
It is not a matter of whether a person has a green thumb or not. It is a matter of how a person takes care of indoor herbs.
Herb gardening is now a trend and are tips for growing indoor herbs successfully. Because most likely, it is all in the lighting.
- Most indoor herbs prefer sunlight. Therefore, choose a light bulb that emits relative heat, enough for indoor herbs to absorb.
- Do not stick with only bland white light. It will lead indoor herbs and other plants to lean towards more natural light. Use customized bulbs with blue and red light spectrum. Natural light has these lights.
- There are indoor herbs and indoor plants that are photosensitive. Use a light rack to adjust the distance between the plants and the light bulbs. It helps in preventing leaves from getting bleached.
- Avoid using sunlamps. Plants will eventually die under a sunlamp. Sunlamps are for people.
- Always consider the indoor herb before choosing a light. Not all herbs react the same. Some herbs require a particular grow light at specific plant growths.
The 7 best grow light for herbs plant growth
Grow lights aid in herb gardening and can have great benefits. But not all have the same perks. Here is a list of some of the best grow lights for herbs in the market.
1. SANSI Upgraded LED Plant grow light
It has 60 watts, perfect for herbs in the blooming stage. Its ceramic technology can help indoor farmers save power consumption. Available in red and blue light spectrum, this can greatly aid in photosynthesis. With its greater coverage, more herbs can be under this light. It emits bright light, perfect for indoor herbs like rosemary, chives, oregano, and thyme.
- Great for any plant growth length
- Flexible irradiation angle
- Low price for a LED light source
- Commendable flexibility
- It can be harsh for plants at the germination stage
- Emits a bright light that can be a reason for its short life span
- It can only go for a couple of months
Overall, this is beneficial for such an affordable price. For an ample amount of space, growing herbs indoors would not be a problem. It is best for herbs and other small indoor vegetation.
2. EZORKAS 9 Dimmable levels Grow light
This LED grow light is great for small spaces. A timer is a unique feature of the LED grow lights. It can be set at 3, 9, or 12 hours and has broader coverage.
It is perfect for a small indoor garden and available in red, blue light, or red and blue spectrum combination. It has a control panel, and there are at least 9 dimmable options available.
- Flexible tube for optimum irradiation angles
- Convenient, it can be clipped to a table so that it is near indoor herbs
- Blue and red lights spectrum that is dimmable in 9 levels
- It does not have a longer cable connection
- The flexible tube is not equated to a greater mileage of performance
- The cable can get quite hot when used for an extended period
Overall, the EZORKAS is well-loved by customers. This works best in an ample amount of space, great for small herbs such as oregano, chives, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
3. APlant Grow light with dual headdesk grow lamp
The grow light has a dual headdesk grow lamp, perfect for indoor plant varieties coverage. This LED grow light lamp is convenient, handy, and can be set. It resembles a desk light in an office or home but offers a bright light for plants with less heat.
- More light spectrum, less heat feature
- Leaning can be prevented because of its blue and red light fixture
- Control settings, lets grown lamp automatically shuts off when the time is up
- Works great with a wide array of potential indoor plants
- It might not appear big as you expected it to be
- It needs to be set up high
- Only applicable in smaller indoor garden setup
In summary, these lighting products with a dual desk grow lamp offer convenient services at a reasonable price. It is also available in commercial options with greater wattage and coverage. But this can cost you more.
4. CXhome LED Grow Light with stand
This LED light has greater lighting coverage than other grow lights and can tend more plants from an indoor garden. It has a high lumen, high PPFD diodes, and 30% more efficient than other 4 headed grow lights. It has a remote control with 4 light switching modes with 4, 8, and 12-hour cycles.
- 360-degree adjustable flex hose
- No need for a light rack
- Aerospace-grade heat sink for temperature regulation
- Red light spectrum only
- You do not get to expect a really bright light
- Not suitable for taller plants like palm trees
Overall, the purchase is reasonable. It might not emit a bright light, but it gets the work done. Customers are satisfied with its yields and efficiency in growth. It is best for seedlings and other smaller indoor plants such as succulents, onion, and garlic bulbs.
5. Bloom Plus LED Grow Lights BP-2500
This lighting offers a great deal of quality. It has lower costs but with high-quality yields.
With only 250W of power, you can now have a top-tier LED bulb light for plants of different stages. This LED bulb light fixture is an excellent fit for a herb garden, including other plants like flowering plants and vegetables.
Its 646 pcs Samsung LEDs are a great feature, perfect for getting enough bright lighting.
- Has dimming technology
- Only use 250W, which is 50% less compared to others with a wattage of 500W
- Energy-saver LED grow lights
- Fanless design helps regulate temperature without loud noises
- It helps improve crop production without utilizing significant power consumption
- Fire safety feature
- It can be tricky to install
- It can get quite hot
- Inconvenient dimming technology options
Overall, the price is reasonable. It’s high-power lighting perfect for a small crop and herb garden. It works best for any plant growth stage, from germination to flowering stage.
6. GrowLED LED Umbrella Plant Grow Light
This low voltage plant lighting is perfect for starters and ensures that seedlings get enough luminosity. It is a convenient light, suitable for a desk-side herb garden. Its brightness is of ample amount fit for a pot of basil or rosemary.
- No need for fixing bulbs
- Perfect for indoor plants
- Has adjustable rod that helps achieve a specific vertical clearance of the light
- It does not need bigger space
- It does not have a timer function
- Pretty pricey for such a cute product
- Not advisable at great distances
- Only suitable for small plants
Overall, this lighting suits best with pot-based herbs like basil. In terms of efficiency, most of the customers who bought this product were satisfied with the results that the LED grow lights results. It works best for pot-based indoor plants without worrying too much about electric consumption.
7. Burpee Home Professional Two-tier Grow Light
Experience pro indoor farming with this professional grow light. This lightweight two-tier compact grow light is excellent for growing indoor herbs.
The grow light is not only limited to professionals in growing a home or office indoor herb garden. Complete with a LED grow light kit and manual, starters will be off to a great start.
- It can be easily assembled
- The tiers allow indoor herb growers to plant a variety of indoor herbs
- Has a reservoir
- Affordable price
- Effectively help with seed germination in just a few days
- Perfect for households that do not get enough natural light
- Despite being a two-tier grow light, this appears to be short in actual
- It does not have a timer
- It needs to be close to a nearby power source
Overall, this gained satisfactory remarks from growers. It is convenient. With the age of innovation, Burpee is slowly leaning toward more energy-efficient LED bulbs. It works best for smaller indoor herbs and other plant categories.
Grow lights effectively grow most houseplants like indoor herbs, foliage plants, succulents, and even some vegetables, like tomatoes. To achieve this efficacy, you might need a little knowledge of indoor herbs gardening and planning.
The growth’s success relies on several factors—careful planning of how an indoor garden should be like and what are things to be considered. Grow lights changed the game in producing quality products and crops. With this, growing herbs and vegetables has never been this easy.