Succulents are sun-loving plants and sometimes, growing them indoor might not provide them with enough sunlight, especially during winter when daytime get shorter. That is when grow light come into play. There are many types of grow lights that you can choose from. Here are what you need to know before buying one.
Do your succulents need grow light?
General speaking, indoor succulents do not need grow light. If your window is full of sunlight all day then your succulents can survive well even in winter without grow light. However, during winter time, succulent often do not get sufficient sunlight and hence, etiolation and fading color are common issues. One can prevent those issues by getting a suitable grow light.
Finding the best grow light
Thanks to advanced technology, there is a variety of grow light available in the market. The most two common types of grow light for indoor succulents are Fluorescent and LED.1. Fluorescent grow light
Fluorescent grow light
Fluorescent light has been around for decades. They comes in different shapes and sizes. The three most popular ones for growers are T5, T8, and T12. The T5 fluorescent growth light is the ideal option among the three because of its excellent performance.
However, if you do not have enough space for the long tube, you can switch to CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) variety. It comes in multiple small bulbs fitting in one round flat bottom base. It is another a great choice of grow light when you have a small number of succulents on your desk at home or in the office.
Fluorescent light are growers' favourite since they often provide "full spectrum" lights, ranging from red to ultraviolet light. These lights are often refered to as “white/blue” or “cool” or “daylight”.
Remember that CFL bulb can have pretty high output so it emit high heat. When used, you should put them further away from your plant than normal Fluorescent tube.
The lights are easy to the eye and provide succulents with sufficient light to grow healthy during wintertime.
2. Light Emitting Diode grow light (LED)
LED grow light
The LED grow light is powerful in the way that it provides your plants with specific wave lengths of light. How does it work on your succulents? In fact, succulents, just like many other plants, only care about blue and red light. LED lights are gear toward providing succulents with very narrow spectrum of lights, effectively just one color. By doing this, they save more energy and provide less heat than CFL bulbs.
Does this mean LED is better and more cost-effective than Fluorescent light? Yes, it is cheaper but does not necessarily mean it is better. Giving them specific type of light often trigger them to behave differently. For example, your succulent might be encouraged to bloom instead of growing when exposed to certain red or blue light.
The biggest drawback of LED light is that its low intensity can not provide the UV light succulents need to have a "sun-stress color". So basically, your succulents will only be green the whole winter.
Moreover, LED light color might be uncomfortable to look at compared to "white light" produced by Fluorescent light.
3. High-intensity discharge and metal halide
This type of grow light is not popular among home gardener. It is used for large and commercial growth operations. It is, of course, the most expensive and most powerful in giving out strong light and heat.
How to use grow lights
Grow light for succulent
After picking the proper grow lights for your succulents, it is time to set them up. Find a place in your house where you can place the plants and install the lighting.
Distance between your succulents and the light is super improtant. Too close and the heat emitted from the bulbs might burn your succulent. If it is too far, there is not sufficient amount of lighting for succulent to grow healthy. Generally speaking, it should be at least 6 inches and should not exceed 40 inches. Of course, the exact distance depends on some other factors.
If you use the LED or fluorescent bulbs with no gimmick, a 10-inch distance is just fine. However, with bigger succulents, you can reduce the distance to 6 inches.
The distance also depends on the tolerance of the plant to heat and light. It is a delicate balance to maintain the best light and heat for your plants without wasting any energy.
5-inch or less distance to the light may heat up water inside the cells of the leaves, trunks, and stems. Eventually, your plant will suffer from dehydration or even be burned. Some basic rules for using grow lights are:
- For Fluorescent tube lights and bulbs, it is recommended putting them 6-12 inches away from your succulents. For LED light, the recommended distance is 18 - 24 inches.
- For stimulating succulents growth, the best color temperature is 6500k. If you want your plant to bloom, a 3000k light is better. Just be careful if your plant is a monocarpic succulent, it may bloom with too much of the light provision.
- You will not need to turn the lights on all the time. It is ideal to give your plants a break from the light so that they can respire. As a rule of thumb, expose your plants to lighting for around 12-14 hours per day.
Do not let the plants sit in just one angle of the light source. Instead, rotate the plants weekly so that each side of them has the same amount of light.
As you bring your succulents indoors, you should keep your eyes on them to see how they react and adjust accordingly. With the right grow light & proper watering schedule, your succulents will be healthy and happy inside your apartment.
Enjoy your gardening with our collection of best indoor succulents. They are easy to grow, incredibly adaptable, relatively pest-free, and are low maintenance - ideal for any home, office, or garden to make a perfect green space.
Please see more How to care for your indoor succulents to ensure years of enjoyment.
Find more information about: Soil Mix & Fertilizers for Succulents
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