Artificial light is utilized to jump start plants inside for summer gardens several months before the growing season begins, in addition it can also be used for keeping your houseplants alive and thriving during the winter months, when natural lighting is unavailable. The most effective and inexpensive light source for houseplants is a fluorescent tube. Typically you want to position plants under the light source between 6 and 15 inches away.
Match the length of exposure to the needs of the plant. When growing plants under fluorescent tubes, rotate the plants regularly since the light at the end of the tubes is often weaker than in the middle. Experiment with lights from different makers and a combination of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs for a broader color spectrum. But be wary of heat generated by incandescent bulbs; it can burn plants if they are placed too close.
If you are not sure of the particular lighting needs of your plants The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has books and videos and magazines to help, in general flowering plants typically need more light than foliage plants. Our library has many titles to choose from, like the Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, by Barbara Pleasant; this book lists 160 common houseplants divided into categories like blooming houseplants, foliage houseplants, and general houseplant care. Another book that will guide you in choosing and caring for indoor, greenhouse, and patio plants is The Indoor Plant Bible, by Dorte Nissen.
Be sure to join us for the Master Gardeners Program here at the Topeka and Shawnee county Public Library October 24th in the Anton room from 7:00 – 8:00 for their tips on Growing plants under artificial light.