Fluorescent lighting is a great choice for growing plants indoors because it has a low startup cost and can be used pretty much anywhere. Fluorescents can be used in many different applications, from keeping orchids healthy and beautiful, to germinating vegetable starts for market.
Please note that not all fluorescent lighting is the same. That flickering fluorescent light at work is not the same as the T5 fixture used for horticultural lighting. T5s utilize and deliver energy more efficiently to your plants than their larger sized counterparts. They are categorized into ‘blue’ or ‘cool’ and ‘red’ or ‘warm’ spectrums.
Blue lights are the most commonly used, as they provide a nice white light that is easy on the eyes and that many types of plants can use. The red bulbs are normally used during the flowering or fruiting stages of a plant’s life. With multiple lamp fixtures, some people choose to alternate bulbs, completing a larger spectrum of available light.
Another feature of fluorescent lighting is that it comes in different sizes so it can be customizable to your needs. The 26Watt bulb from Sunblaster can fit into almost any light socket you currently own. 26Watt bulbs are great to place above houseplants sitting in a dark corner in your home, a small cactus garden, or a nice bonsai tree, especially during darker fall and winter months.
Feliz makes 125Watt and 250Watt bulbs that come in both Red and Blue. They produce enough light to grow plants in a space up to 3’X3’. They can be hung vertically or horizontally and are quite versatile. I’ve had customers use these for veggie starts, supplementing their citrus trees during the winter, and adding vertical lighting to an existing indoor garden. But it is important to note that these bulbs do require a larger size socket than conventional bulbs.
The Sunblaze series offers fixtures that house 2’ or 4’ bulbs and can accommodate up to 8 lamps at once, so there is a lot of flexibility. You can use a single 2’ fixture over some Succulents on a bookshelf or use the 4’ 8-lamp unit to really grow some hearty tomatoes for the Spring.
If you are thinking about horticultural lighting, fluorescents are a versatile option that won’t break the bank. Jumping into lighting can feel intimidating, but it is actually pretty simple once you have some basic knowledge. Stop by the store and we’d be happy to show you what’s what and answer your questions. Happy growing!