Why Grow Lights Are The Best For Indoor Plants

What Can I Use Instead of A Grow Light? Expert’s Opinion

How do humans get energy? We obtain energy by consuming food. Similarly, plants need light to produce energy. Though sunlight is the best source of natural light, indoor plants can’t get it. That’s why we use grow lights. What if you don’t have accessibility or don’t want to use grow lights? In this article, we not only answered the question “What you can use instead of grow lights?” but also the necessary grow lights for different types of plants.

So, What can I use instead of a grow light?

You can use regular bulbs instead of grow lights if you are in the beginning stage. Though normal lights are not as powerful as grow lights, they will benefit your small plants. More importantly, they are an affordable option compared to grow lights.

In greater detail, let’s look at “What can I use instead of a grow light?”. Keep scrolling!

What Can I Use Instead Of A Grow Light?

What Can I Use Instead Of A Grow Light?

Indoor gardeners who have often recently started gardening don’t want to use grow lights as they are a little bit expensive. Using grow lights is the best option, but regular bulbs can also do the job for fewer tiny plants.


Indoor plants don’t require as many lights as outdoor plants do. They only need a proportional amount to produce energy. However, plant lighting requirements vary from one type to another. So, choosing a particular light bulb based on your plant’s type is crucial.

Different Types of Plants Based On Grow Lights

Low Light Plants

Costa Farms Aglaonema Red Chinese Evergreen Live Indoor Plant - Different Type of Plants Based On Grow Lights

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A massive number of indoor plants are in this group, and they only need 10 to 15 watts of fluorescent light for every square foot. Plus, they can live with partially shaded windows to receive a small amount of sunlight.

Medium Light Plants

American Plant Exchange Chamaedorea Elegans Parlour Palm Live Indoor Houseplant - Different Type of Plants Based On Grow Lights

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This group of plants needs a minimum of 15 to 20 watts of fluorescent lighting for each square foot. More than 20 watts will optimize their growth and they will become healthy too. If possible, you can place it for a couple of hours every day.

High Light Plants

Costa Farms Money Tree Easy Care Live Indoor Plant In Premium Ceramic Planter - Different Type of Plants Based On Grow Lights

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According to most garden experts, direct sunlight is essential for high-light plants. Unless you add high-intensity lights indoors, you can’t ensure proper growth for them. At worst, they may die if you fail to provide an adequate level of lighting. They will need more than 20 watts of fluorescent lighting per square foot.

Here are some examples of different light plants

So, while choosing plants, make sure you know how much lighting they need, especially the wattage requirement. And select lights based on it. We recommend choosing low or medium-light plants because they need less light.

To know more about the wattage requirement please read our latest article – How Many Watts Do You Need For Indoor Plants?

Since you don’t prefer to use grow lights, choosing high lights plants requires choosing high-wattage bulbs. These bulbs take more energy, so they will increase your electricity bills.

Which Colors Are Important For Indoor Plants?

Which Colors Are Important For Indoor Plants?

Plants can cope with various colors, but blue and red are the best choices for them. These two colors boost their growth ability and make the photosynthesis process quicker.

Blue lights mainly help to grow foliage, while red lights assist in growing flowers. However, remember just because a light looks like a particular color, it has that color.

Instead, color temperature is one of the most crucial factors determining how a bulb’s color looks. So, before choosing a particular light, make sure it will provide that color.

Which Lights to Use as an Alternative To Grow Lights?

Here are some commonly used lights for indoor plants, which don’t cause too much money.

Fluorescent Lights

Hydrofarm FLT44 System Fluorescent Grow Light

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When you are looking for a budget-friendly option, fluorescent lights are the best choice. Keeping them close to the plants generates a significant amount of light.

This type of light is available in multiple choices: warm white and cool white. If you want to grow flowering or prickly plants, choose white warm fluorescent lights.

On the contrary, cool white fluorescent lights are the best choice for leafy and herb plants since they feature an increased blue wavelength.

Incandescent Light

GE Medium Base Plant Light

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Incandescent lights are one of the most popularly known home-based bulbs. Though purchasing them doesn’t cost much, using them requires a lot of electricity bills. In order to generate heat, a considerable amount of electricity is used.

Experts recommend using Incandescent lights from an appropriate distance because they emit a tremendous amount of heat. While using them at a close distance, make sure it doesn’t burn the plants.

LED Lights

Grow Lights for Indoor Plants Grow Light for Seed Starting

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When you are concerned about the power consumption of lights, LED lights are the best choice. But remember, your plant growth efficiency might be compromised slightly.

Many typical LED lights don’t have the perfect amount of blue and red wavelengths. If you are determined to use LED lights, choose horticulture LED to grow lights as they are the most efficient.

Can Plants Survive Without Any Natural Light?

Yes, they can but you will either have to provide natural light or artificial light. Sunlight is the best source.

However, you can support your indoor plants with indoor lights somewhat if you know the suitable method.

Can Plants Survive Without Any Natural Light?

The main issue is the cost. Outdoor plants get free sunlight. For indoor plants, you have to purchase good-quality bulbs, replace them, and bear the electricity cost.

During sunny weather, we may keep them close to the windows for getting natural sunlight. However, during the cold weather, you have no option but to use artificial lights to support them. Continuous usage leads to higher electricity bills.

If possible, keep the plants outside during the daytime, and bring them back at night. This will save cost. So, we can say plants can survive without natural light, but you need to use high-quality bulbs to ensure enough lighting.

How Much Light Do Plants Need?

How Much Light Do Plants Need?

Not all indoor plants will need an equal level of lighting based on their types. Some plants can easily be in cold temperatures without fewer amounts of light.

However, if you want to grow plants that produce flowers or fruits, they will need more light. Without adequate light, they can’t continuously run their photosynthesis process, which is mandatory to produce fruits or vegetables.

LED bulbs will be most suitable for them to use. Set up a timer so that they can get the right level of lights every day.

How Many LED Bulbs Are Needed To Grow Plants?

It depends on the number of plants you have at home. At least 2 LED bulbs will be necessary if you are growing several plants. Several LED lights will ensure the proper distribution of lighting equally.

Therefore, all plants’ leaves will receive enough light.

How Many LED Bulbs Are Needed To Grow Plants?

When you grow plants outside, sunlight is adequately distributed from all parts of the plants. Using one LED bulb will restrict the lighting to reach all areas. Therefore, some areas will receive more light while others won’t get adequate light.

Most garden experts suggest using 3-4 LED lights when growing several indoor plants. However, if you only have 1-2 plants, you can use 1-2 LED bulbs.

If you have no option but to use, only one LED light, rotate the tray position after several hours for equal distribution of lights. You can also use a mirror so that light can reflect and make the lighting more intense.

Is Light Intensity Important To Grow Plants?

Yes, light intensity is crucial. People often ignore this essential factor. Apart from having the correct colors in the spectrum, plants’ growth and health are heavily affected due to light intensity.

Is Light Intensity Important To Grow Plants?

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking higher brightness means higher intensity. Light may have reduced light intensity but higher brightness. The opposite may also happen.

Why Grow Lights Are The Best For Indoor Plants?

Why Grow Lights Are The Best For Indoor Plants?

Though you can use typical bulbs for indoor plants, grow lights are the best. Their unique design fulfills plants’ needs.

Grow lights are available in blue, red, and green colors, increasing wavelengths crucial for indoor plants.

Most importantly, the way growth lights support indoor plants ensures a non-stopping photosynthesis procedure. Typical bulbs can’t be matched at that level.

What Color of Light Do Plants Need Most?

Most plants need 4 types of colors:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Yellow

Indoor plants need both red and blue colors of light in a significant amount. Many people think only red light can do the job. However, the red color only helps them with an efficient photosynthesis process. But in order to keep them in ideal shape without overgrowing, blue light is necessary.

Plants need a small amount of green and yellow color light too. The green color is essential to control plants’ architecture(Read More), while the yellow color will boost its hormone product due to the inclusion of particular wavelengths.

The Takeaway

Are you still wondering about this question: What can I use instead of a grow light? We have already discussed all the precise details on which types of bulbs you can use instead of growing lights. If possible, ensure direct sunlight at least periodically. When a budget is not your concern point, using grow lights is the best decision you will ever make. Happy Gardening!

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