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What kind of light is the best for indoor gardening and what are the cheapest options? Answered

I have a small indoor seed starter/green house and it is standing in the warm part of the house (65-70 degrees). I would like to grow some herbs (rosemary, basil, majoram, thyme, oregano and start some lavenders for planting out later). I know it is difficult to start rosemary from seeds but the others should be fine. Which lights are the best ? Can I use an old Christmas light (white light not the one with many colors) How many hours of light is sufficient?
Thank you


I grow herbs inside over the winter using a fluorescent light. I purchased one of those standard tube lights, but in a shorter length and installed it over the plants in a window box. The light was relatively cheap ($10) and the bulb will last for a long time.

How much light your plants need depend on their requirements for natural light. Some need full sun, some need some shade, so keep that in mind when you use your lamp and how you group them in planters. Plants do require some rest from the light source (the sun does set everyday...), so you'll want to either plug the light into a timer or simply turn it on and off periodically.

I try and keep the same natural rhythms as nature provides. If its a sunny day, let them be by the window without additional lights. If its cloudy and dull, turn on the light. Then when the sun goes down, give them a break.

You'll find they will thrive provided you also give adequate water and fertilizer as needed and recommended for the types of plants you are growing.

I have a CFL system for starting and growing plants. I use 2700K bulbs 6000k bulbs, using standard ceramic sockets (like the ones for basements) all wired in parallel.
Just 2700K bulbs work better for initial germination. Just 6000K work better for general plant growth. If you are going for specific attributes (like encouraging them to flower) you can delve into individual colors of light.
For my needs, both starting and maintaining plants, I stick with half 'n half all the time and not worry about it.

Plants NEED only red and blue light, but that looks terrible. In fact, they only need blue for flowering.

Day light is best and cheapest.

I grow herbs and start plants on the windowsill covered in plastic wrap to keep moist.