Can You Grow Plants With Only a Heat Lamp?
Plant lighting doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes you can set houseplants in a sunny window or other well-lit location and they’ll thrive, but other plants require better lighting and will need something more. Options you might consider include fluorescent lighting with either white or full-spectrum lights, or incandescent lighting with regular bulbs or heat lamps. In most cases, fluorescent lights work better for plants than incandescent lights do.
The Quality of Light
No matter how bright or how hot a light is, if it isn’t the wavelength that plants need, they will never grow. Plants require blue light waves, found at one end of the light spectrum, for the growth of foliage. They need red light waves, from the opposite end of the light spectrum, to support both flowering and fruiting. Since heat lamps emit plenty of red light but almost no blue, plants won’t grow if only a heat lamp is used.
The Intensity of Light
Light intensity refers to how bright the light is when it reaches the plants. One indicator of this is the wattage of the bulb being used, but the intensity drops significantly as the bulb is moved further from the plants, making much of the light unavailable to them. For best results the light should be just a few inches from the top of the plants. Fluorescent lights are cool enough for this, but incandescent bulbs — especially heat lamps — are far too hot and will damage the plants if placed that close.
Heat Lamp Considerations
Heat lamps are a type of incandescent bulb and have the same benefits and problems as incandescents. They are a source of red light waves, even if the light appears white to the human eye, and emit almost no other light wave colors. Heat lamps are also a very inefficient source of light as much of the energy used to run them is given off as heat and not as light. While the heat may be beneficial in very cold climates, plants can’t get enough light from heat lamps alone to allow them to survive.
Plant Lighting Options
Fluorescent lights are suitable for many kinds of houseplants; use warm or full-spectrum fluorescent lights to provide red light along with the blue for your plants. Simple shop lights hung about 4 inches above plants are adequate for houseplants that don’t flower. Placing plants near a sunny window or other source of natural light can supplement fluorescent lighting. Adding an incandescent bulb to fluorescent lighting can also help with flowering, but the wasted energy and the excess heat may cause more problems than the light solves.
Can You Grow Plants With Only a Heat Lamp?. Plant lighting doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes you can set houseplants in a sunny window or other well-lit location and they’ll thrive, but other plants require better lighting and will need something more. Options you might consider include fluorescent …
Helping Indoor Plants Thrive in Winter
Whether you’re an autumn-lover or you’ve had a falling-out with fall, the days are getting shorter, which means it’s time to finish up your end-of-summer tasks and embrace the coming change of season. For some, this means putting away light linens and bringing out woollens and winter coats, for others this means getting out their S.A.D. lamps and starting up their waning-light routines, and for others still, this means putting their gardens to bed and maybe even setting up an indoor sanctuary for their beloved plants.
For the serious gardener, there is often lots to do around the garden well into winter, but most of these efforts won’t see any rewards until the coming of spring. Spring can seem an impossibly long way off at the very beginning of fall, so if you can’t wait, you may want to consider creating an indoor oasis through the use of grow lamps.
Preparing plants for winter
Winter is a time of rest for the plant world. While you may long for the blooms and bright colours of spring, often the best thing you can do for your houseplants is to let them take a break. When preparing your plants for winter, take the following steps:
Reduce watering. For some plants, this means you should cut back watering to every 2-4 weeks. For others, such as cacti and other succulents, this means stopping almost entirely. Thoroughly research your plants to ensure they receive the optimal amount of water through the winter months. Clean their leaves by wiping them down with a damp cloth. Dust can build up on indoor plants and make them less effective at photosynthesizing. Take this opportunity to cut off any leaves that aren’t doing well (pick off ones that are curling, browning, or yellowing) and take stock of how the plant is doing overall. Keep them warm. Plants are typically sensitive to draughts, and poor placement near a door or leaky window could do unexpected harm to even the hardiest of plants. Provide humidity. When the heat is on full blast, plants can quickly dry out and often require outside sources of humidity. There are a few things you can do to combat this lack of moisture:
Cluster them together so they create a mini-climate Spritz them with water multiple times per day Place them on a tray of pebbles and water Place cups or dishes of water in amongst the plants Build or buy a terrarium for the most sensitive plants
Maximise winter light by placing them near your sunniest windows, but not so close that they will get a draught. If your home is lacking in natural sunlight, consider investing in a grow lamp or grow light bulb.
If you are bringing in plants from outdoors:
Thoroughly check for pests and disease, removing and treating them whenever possible. If the plants are too far gone, compost or dispose of them accordingly—it’s not worth risking your other plants to attempt saving one that isn’t going to make it. For good measure, quarantine them away from other house plants initially to ensure you’ve caught any tough pests that may be lingering. Bring them indoors gradually so they can adjust to the new temperature, humidity, and light conditions. This can be done by placing them indoors at night initially, before transitioning to having them indoors all day, possibly near an open window at first.
If your indoor plants still aren’t thriving, try these tips from everyone’s favourite gardener, Monty Don:
How to tell if your plant isn’t getting enough light
As the daylight starts to wane in earnest, you may notice that your plants react poorly to the low light levels even during their restful months. While some plants prefer low light and may even wish to be left entirely in the dark of your basement during winter, other plants (such as tropical plants) may have higher light requirements than natural light from a window can provide. If you’re not sure what to look for, you can tell your plants aren’t receiving sufficient light if they exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
Leggy or spindly stems. New growth is stunted (such as small leaves). Lower leaves die off. Pale colour or lack of variegation on new growth—be careful though, for shade-loving plants such as Calatheas, pale colour indicates that it is getting too much
Indoor grow lights will supplement the natural light you do receive, giving your plants the boost they need to photosynthesize.
Utilizing grow lamps
If your home gets limited natural light that worsens in the winter, consider investing in grow lamps to help your plants stay healthy throughout the season. If simply supplementing their light and enjoying the green foliage isn’t enough for you, you can also use grow lights to encourage them to bloom.
Regular incandescent or halogen and fluorescent light bulbs with a high enough wattage can sometimes offer enough of the proper wavelengths (in this case blue and red) to help plants maintain their health through the winter, but your best bet is to opt for specially-designed grow lights. LED and fluorescent grow lights specialize in full-spectrum or blue and red wavelengths to help plants thrive beyond simple maintenance light, allowing them to blossom and grow out-of-season. If you are desperate for that pop of colour, pick up some specially labelled bulbs and set up your own grow light station.
Helping Indoor Plants Thrive in Winter Whether you’re an autumn-lover or you’ve had a falling-out with fall, the days are getting shorter, which means it’s time to finish up your end-of-summer