The hunt for grow lights started a few years back when I found myself transitioning from summer to autumn and then winter and noticing a swift decline in my plants. At that point I was at the very beginning of my plant journey, so I was ready to do anything to keep my plants healthy and growing. This article has been updated few times throughout the years to include new reviews and experiences (last update was made in Jan 2021).
I have tried few different grow lights since I started collecting plants, but first lets start with what are grow lights and why I use them.
What are grow lights?
Grow lights or plant lights are artificial light sources created to stimulate plant growth by sending enough light to create photosynthesis.
The reason lots of people use grow lights is to supplement light during winter or with new seedlings.
There are few different types of grow lights:
- Red spectrum: promote the photosynthesis, growth, blooming and the synthesis of chlorophyll.
- Blue spectrum: has a strong effect on the growth and plays a role in plants phototropism.
- Full Spectrum: overall plant growth and flowering (PS: sunlight is considered full spectrum)
A usual good pick for most uses is a lamp that has a good mix of red, blue and also white. The reason for that is that your plants need all of the above benefits when they cannot benefit of natural light.
Over time, my reasons for picking one grow light over another has changed due to my plants growing, volume of plants but also personal preferences.
Here are some of the grow lights I’ve tried so far:
This was the very first grow light I purchased. When I got this I was looking for something affordable to test on my plants.
- Full spectrum
- This light lamp worked well and really helped my plants look healthy
- It plugs in any usb ports or sockets
- Has a clamp so you can attach it to pretty much any tables or shelves
- Small heads and covers small areas
- Small output
- Not very tall so if you have tall plants might not work
- Pink light everywhere
- Stopped working after 3 months
- Covers a much larger area as the heads are thin and long
- Plants seem very happy
- USB plug and clamp
- Stopped working after about 3 months
- Pink light everywhere
These ones were my favourite ones for a very long time. I still use them (I have a varied selection of grow lights currently in use) and my plants seems to thriving during darker and colder months with the extra light.
- My plants super happy when I provide the extra light. Bigger and greener leaves, lots of new growth (my fiddle leaf fid went crazy and started unfurling new leaves pretty much every other week)
- Covers an even bigger area than the ones listed first due to bigger output
- A bit pricey
- Difficult to find surfaces to clamp on
- Difficult to reuse the bulbs in regular lamps
Thes Ikea bulbs have been my favourite for a very long time due to their versatility and price point.
- Basically all of the above benefits when it comes to plants, plus:
- Covers an even bigger area than my other ones due to the shape of the bulb.
- You can fit the light bulbs in your normal lamp which I find easier as I don't have to have lots or smaller lamps everywhere.
- They are cheap
These are very similar to the ones above but they come as a stripe/bar. I really love these as they are more suitable for lower shelves. I have few of these in my greenhouse for the plants sitting on the lower space.
- My greenhouse plants thrive under these lights
- The area they cover is perfect for the space and can be fixed on any surfaces
- Cost. Bit pricey if you need few of them
The grow lights were recommended to me by a friend as I was looking for something that could be fitted on long shelves.
- Accessible from a price point perspective. I bought a set of 4 that came up to $33
- Easy to install
- Really great for plant growth. I have them on a shelf that receives very low amounts of natural light and m
- You will need to order longer connecting cables
- Takes a while to arrive
These are the latest addition to my grow lights and I’m over the moon with them. These are on the very expensive side but here’s what triggered my purchase and why I like them:
- Can be used vertical or horizontal. I am using them standing to cover tall plants
- The lights are 32 watts covering a large area
- They look super cool and make them fit in living areas better versus conventional grow lights
- The light output is agreeable to the human eye too. I get headaches from my other ones. Either too white or too yellow haha.
- Price. These are expensive which means that there’s no way you can have few of them around.
As I mentioned at the beginning at the article, over the years I have changed my preferences over what lights I like and work best for me. The learning curve I went through help understand that I needed lights that work for both me and my plants. Because aesthetics are important (especially when we are spending more and more time at home) and it’s important to feel comfortable in a room where you have lots of grow lights on. If the bulbs are too strong, positioned badly or the light colour is too blinding, your plants might be happy but how about you? So I learned over the years to give us all lights that we enjoy.
Now here is why I wouldn't go without grow lights:
- During winter lights level drop drastically and the only way to balance that is by providing artificial light.
- My plants are growing all year round and I don’t have to worry about growing conditions.
- Stressed plants, stressed me out big time. So at least I can fix this little stress haha.