The environment in which you work has a significant impact on your productivity. So, while creating your office space, a plant may be a good touch.
Plants, after all, purify the air and have been scientifically shown to improve moods, so having one on your desk is a brilliant idea. Or maybe you want to get some growth out of your plant by using that desk lamp you have strewn about your dimly lit flat.
In any case, we are here to answer the topic “Growing plants with a desk lamp“. Before we can fully answer that question, there are a few things we need to know.
Factors affecting the Choice of a Grow Light
The following questions will assist you in selecting the appropriate grow light for your needs.
– What kind of plants are you going to grow?
– Will you grow the plants solely in the spring or all year?
– What is the most significant height that the plant will reach?
– How would the light be positioned?
– Will the light be portable or stationary?
Several aspects are considered when selecting the appropriate light.
#1. Color of light
Sunlight is made up of seven colors: red, orange, yellow, indigo, violet, blue, and green, and it is a complete spectrum of light. The white light is made up of these seven colors.
The plants in the space, too, require this whole spectrum of light to thrive. Full-spectrum bulbs can help with this. These bulbs create a warm and cool light spectrum that is similar to that of the sun.
#2. Intensity of light
For plants to grow, the right amount of light is required. The intensity of light is influenced by two factors: first, the plant’s proximity to the light, and second, the bulb’s brightness.
Plants that grow in dry, sunny environments, such as succulents, require a higher light intensity than those that grow in the forest.
Indoor blooming plants, such as African violets, may thrive at a distance of 12 inches from the spectrum bulb, while their foliage can reach 36 inches in length.
Many vegetable and flowering plants thrive well at a distance of 36 inches from the light source. These plants require this level of intensity to develop fruits and blooms.
#3. Duration of light
A plant, regardless of its nature, does not require constant light. Plants go through cycles of light and darkness. They prepare food in the presence of light while plants respire in the dark.
The presence and absence of light must be balanced for a plant to grow dynamically. This duration of light is measured for indoor plants using a built-in power strip inside the light source. Plants are classified into three types based on the amount of light they get.
#4. Short day plants
These plants can flourish if exposed to light for no more than 12 hours. These plants require 12 hours of light to generate flowers and buds. However, light exposure of less than this is acceptable. Chrysanthemum is a day-lengthening plant.
#5. Long-day plants
These plants require 14 to 18 hours of sunshine every day. Long-day plants make up the majority of the vegetable plants. These long-day plants can pale and eventually die if they do not receive enough light.
#6. Day-neutral plants
These plants demand 8 to 12 hours of sunshine every day. Plants with foliage are day-neutral.
Can a Desk Lamp Grow Plants?
The quick answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind when using your desk lamp as a plant light. You must pay great attention to this issue because not just any light bulb will work.
After all, light is the plant’s food source, so you must ensure that you are feeding your plants the necessary food and ensuring that they eat at the appropriate time and for the suitable amount of time, just as you would your child.
Purchase a timer and program it to the most efficient timetable for the plant you want to grow. The other thing is that, even though your desk lamp can provide light for your plants, you must ensure that the light is appropriate for each plant.
Plants can, of course, be grown indoors, allowing artificial light to be employed to raise your plants efficiently. Natural light will always be preferable because it is what they would have in their natural habitat.
However, you can still be highly successful if you pay attention to the type of artificial light you employ in the growing process.
Now, the question was regarding a desk light, and the answer appears to be ‘yes,’ but let’s look at how you may make your desk lamp the most effective. The majority of standard light bulbs should be avoided.
A light bulb specifically designed to mimic the balanced wavelengths that the plant would receive from natural light is required. In other words, ordinary light bulbs do not emit light waves in the same spectrum as the light waves emitted by the sun.
Consider the light wavelengths you are sending to your desk lamp-turned grow lamp to ensure you are getting the desired result.
- Blue = growth of foliage
- Red = flowering
How Much Light Does Your Plant Need?
As previously said, light is required for plants to produce energy. Because the amount of light generated by each bulb varies, professionals have created unique grow lights to aid in your plant’s growth.
However, beginner enthusiasts would prefer to experiment with regular lamps because these lights are more expensive. The amount of light your plant needs is ideally determined by its type.
Most indoor plants do not require direct sunlight, but they do require some exposure to produce food for their growth. To stay healthy, common indoor plants require at least 4 to 8 hours of light per day, so it is best to keep your plants on a window sill or in a location where light is readily available.
You can utilize artificial light if you do not have natural light here.
- Low Light Plants: This category includes most indoor plants, which require at least 10 to 15 watts of artificial light per square foot of growing space. Low-light plants would be perfectly content with the light through the windows. A low-light plant such as the snake plant is an example.
- Medium Light Plants: To survive, these plants require at least 15 to 20 watts of artificial light per square foot of growing space. If your plants fall into this group, it is ideal to give them a couple of hours of direct sunlight each day. The Bird of Paradise is a lovely medium-light plant.
- High Light Plants: These plants are not suitable for indoor gardens. They are less responsive to artificial lighting and would need to be lit with high-intensity bulbs to thrive indoors. The ideal power for these plants is around 20 watts or above. These Aloe Vera plants are examples of plants that thrive in bright light.
Read more: How To Decorate Room With LED Lights – The Useful Tips
Important Color Wavelengths for Plants
Because sunlight contains the complete color spectrum, some plants can survive in the open air. On the other hand, indoor plants require minimal necessities to vegetate and bloom.
There are specific wavelengths of light that are required for plant growth and others that are not. Because the sun’s light contains all of the hues of the spectrum, this is not an issue for outside plants.
On the other hand, blue and red lights are commonly used in artificial lighting to aid the growth of foliage, fruits, and flowers. Because the spectrum of light is not as specific, regular bulbs will not be able to bring out the potential of your plant.
- Blue Wavelength is best for foliage and vegetative growth.
- Red Wavelength is best for flowering and fruit-bearing plants.
Greens and yellows are non-essential hues. Plants have little or no use, and the chlorophyll in their leaves reflects that.
Different Types of Artificial Light
It is a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp. The process of fluorescence is used to create visible light. Fluorescent lights are an excellent alternative for plants that demand low or medium light.
If you are looking to produce vegetables indoors, these lights are ideal. These lights are available in various sizes and types, including T5, T12, and T8, as well as long and tube-like bulbs.
Compared to incandescent lights, fluorescent bulbs use about 75% less energy. Because of the decreased surface area, the bulb’s narrow shape is supposed to be more efficient and brighter.
A 100-watt incandescent light bulb and a 25-watt fluorescent light bulb, for example, produce the same amount of light. T5 fluorescent lights emit twice as much light as regular fluorescent lights. They can produce up to 6500 Kelvin temperatures, which is much lower. They emit a complete spectrum of light.
These bulbs are typically used in reading or desk lamps and can be found in most houses. They are reasonably priced up front, but they are costly to use. Incandescent lights convert more electricity to heat than light, resulting in higher electricity use.
Because of the heat it releases, this bulb is not recommended for close-range use, but make sure it is not too close to your plant if you do use it.
The light-emitting diode is abbreviated as LED. LED lights are now the most commonly used type of plant lighting. These lamps produce a small amount of heat in comparison to their brilliance. When it comes to growing plants, LED lights come in various shapes and sizes.
The most frequent are stand-alone, clip-on desktop fixtures, high-intensity greenhouse lights, and screw-in replacement bulbs. However, depending on the type of plant, a light of a specific wavelength can also be selected.
Furthermore, some LED lights emit varying intensities of light at different times of the day, while others are controlled by mobile technology and may be managed with a smartphone.
#4. Compact Fluorescent Lights
They create an extra quantity of light and are an excellent source of light for the growth of plants that require low light or to extend the day. Compared to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights produce less heat.
Because these bulbs provide less light than sunlight, more than one lamp is required to provide the intensity of light required by a developing plant.
Halides provide light for larger plants grown in more expansive spaces because their light covers more distance and penetrates further than other types of light.
A smaller halide light produces the same amount of light and covers the same area as a 1000-watt light. A T5 fluorescent system can also deliver the same intensity.
Halide bulbs come in two varieties. The first is high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs, while the second is metal halide (MH) lights. HPS is the best choice for flowering when a narrow spectrum of light is required.
On the other hand, metal halide bulbs are employed to assist the vegetative growth of the plant when a broad spectrum of light is required.
Because a plant’s life cycle includes both vegetative and blooming phases, these two bulbs are utilized side-by-side. Each of these lamps is independently installed.
How Can I Maximize the Use of Artificial Light?
If you have more than three plants, you should consider acquiring additional lamps to meet your garden’s lighting requirements.
You may install reflectors or reflecting surfaces around the region to bounce off the light and disseminate it around the rest of your garden’s population to maximize the utilization of the existing lighting.
Reflectors can be placed around the area where your plants are to boost the efficacy of the existing bulb, eliminating the need for additional lighting. They are made of several materials, including:
- Foylon: A polyester fiber with a foil lamination on one side that is easy to maintain and resistant to wear and tear. It may be pricey up front, but it will save you money in the long run.
- Mylar: A reflective polyester film that is not as robust as Foylon but is highly durable for the price.
- Elastomer Paint: An excellent coating for growing boxes. It is a low-maintenance rubberized roofing paint that can reflect 90% of light and is mildew resistant.
- White/Black Poly: This material is lightweight and easy to transport, making it ideal for temporary settings. Because it is easy to clean but not heat resistant, it is advised not to use this material with incandescent or halogen lighting.
Mirrors are one thing you should avoid. Mirrors absorb light rather than reflect it, and any reflected light lacks the critical wavelengths that your plant requires. Remember, we want to optimize the red and blue wavelengths so that your plant can develop and thrive.
How To Know if a Plant is Getting Enough Light?
Plants need light to grow and develop. Therefore, it is almost certainly due to environmental factors if yours is not growing or developing properly. By looking at its growth pattern, you can figure out what is wrong with your plant. Here are some of the problems you could notice if the plant is not getting enough light:
- Long Internodes
- Small Leaves
- Pale Foliage
- Dropping Leaves
- Curling Leaves
If you have noticed these problems in your plant, the chances are that there is insufficient light.
How to Position The Lamp
The optimal position for the lights is overhead, as this guarantees that the light source covers most of the plants in a given area. To ensure that heat stress does not hinder their development, they should be placed at least 6 to 12 inches away from the light source.
- Small Garden with Few Plants: A standing light with an adjustable goose-neck shape would be ideal for a small garden with a few plants. You might also use a similar-looking desk lamp.
- Taller Plants: It is more efficient to light taller plants from the bottom up. However, if you have many plants, purchasing extra light fixtures would necessitate purchasing. In this situation, a vertically placed fluorescent light fixture would be preferable.
- Grow Boxes: An overhead hanging fixture would be more beneficial for specific groups of grow boxes. By using reflecting techniques, you may maximize the use of the light emitted by one unit to benefit the whole lot of plants you have.
Installing a timer to operate the lights according to your plant’s needs will make the lighting system more efficient, eliminating the tedious chore of switching the lights on and off every time. It is readily available at any electrical supply store and is simple to install.
How Long Should the Grow Lights Be Left on?
Plants usually do not require continuous light for a whole 24 hours. Some flowering and vegetative plants require light for 12 to 16 hours. Flowering plants require 16 hours of light every day on average.
As a result, the plants should be given a period of darkness of around 6 to 8 hours. The dark and light periods are intertwined. Photosynthesis is how plants prepare food and energy in the presence of light during the day.
On the other hand, plants break down this energy during the night for plant growth, known as respiration. When growing plants, read the instructions on the seedling packaging to learn how much light intensity and time they require during the day for optimal growth.
Because the plant’s growth process has begun, the grow light fixture must be raised to maintain a safe distance and deliver the maximum amount of light.
The brightness of the light is also determined by the type of bulb and its wattage. If your bulb has more power than the plant requires, keep it safe from it; otherwise, it will burn the plant and vice versa.
Grow Fluorescent The distance between the plant and the light should be 3 to 12 inches. Light and halide bulbs should be kept at a distance of 12 to 24 inches and 24 to 60 inches, respectively, while LEDs gain in popularity.
Read more: Warm White vs Soft White – Which Is The Best?
All you want to do is what is best for your garden at home. Choosing the correct plant for your lifestyle and environment like growing plants with a desk lamp is unquestionably the most critical component in the hobby’s success. Thanks to advancements in horticultural lighting, you will be able to modify your plant’s environment and ensure its healthy growth.