Top tips for growing plants indoors under fluorescent grow lights

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growing plants indoors under fluorescent grow lights

Gardening is a great hobby because it lets you spend time tending to your plants and afterward you also get yield from these plants either in the form of some kind of fruits, vegetables or berries or simply in the form of beautiful flowers. Unfortunately for those who live in areas where there are distinct seasons, gardening stops once it gets cold outside because there is no way our plants can grow in soil that is frozen. But luckily for us there is a way how anyone can continue to cultivate their gardening hobby even in the winter and that is by setting up an indoors garden.

Every indoors garden needs few things for it to be successful. Along with good soil and a suitable grow room you will need some kind of grow lights so they can provide warmth and the light that the sun provides for a regular outdoors garden. In my experience fluorescent grow lights or more specifically T5 grow lights are one of the best lights for an indoors garden because they give out a very bright light in the correct light spectrum for the plants to thrive under it, but at the same time they run cool meaning that you won’t have to worry about heat in your grow room. And they also consume very little watts so your electricity bill won’t kill your want of fresh plants even during the colder months. If you too chose to create your own indoors garden and decide to use T5 fluorescent grow lights for it, then here will be my top tips to help you get the most out of your indoors garden.


1. First lets start with the placement of the T5 lights because this is probably one of the most important things that will dictate how successful your indoors garden will be. Like I mentioned before, T5 grow lights are lights that don’t emit a lot of heat so you don’t need to worry about the heat or the bulbs themselves burning your plants. But you still need to know how high from your plant canopies you should hang the lights so that the plants that are under them get the maximum amount of light. I find that it is best to place your T5 lights about 6 to 8 inches from the tops of the plants because this way the light will cover the biggest possible area while still giving the brightest light to each inch of the illuminated area.


2. The second tip would be about the light cycle you use for your plants because this too will determine the success of the growth of your plants. For those who are new to indoors gardening, by light cycles I mean for how many hours you turn your light on and for how many hours you keep your plants in the dark. Basically, light cycles are used to simulate day and night conditions so that your plants think that they still are outside. The trick here is to know what light cycle is suitable for the plants that you are growing. Usually, the more light plants get, the faster they will grow, but remember there are some plants that need less light (for example plants that love shade) and then they will definitely not like a light cycle of 24/0 or 18/6 hours of light and dark which are two of the most popular light cycles for indoors gardens.


3. Another thing that anybody who is thinking of setting up an indoors garden needs to know about is watering. When we are growing plants outdoors, we usually don’t need to water our plants as often, exception being if the summer is extra hot and dry.  But when it comes to an indoors garden you might need to water your plants a bit more often because the brightness of the light and the fact that often we grow our plants in smaller spaces that can warm up quite quickly dries out the plants faster. So I would recommend to just check on the plants every couple of days and see if they need water, because under watering as well as over watering the plants can cause significant damage to them. The best way to check this is to touch the soil by the edge of the pot or container in which the plants are growing. If about an inch of soil from the edge of the pot is dry then the plants need water.


4.Thing that many indoors growers often forget about is fertilizer and how indoors gardens need fertilizer to be able to produce better yields. When plants are growing outside they often don’t need fertilizer because they get most of the minerals and vitamins they need from the soil and the environment around them, but it is not the case in regards to indoors gardens. Because plants are growing inside they don’t have any natural source of minerals so they can start to languish or not produce good yields at the end of their growth which means that you need to be the one to give the plants what they need. For this you don’t even need to buy any overly expensive fertilizer, the most basic one will do, because it will give the plant basic minerals they need to grow efficiently.


5. And lastly I want to tell you a little about how to transition your plants from outdoors to an indoors garden if you want to continue to grow your plants that are already vegetating. Because the process of digging your plants out of the soil and planting them in a pot, not to mention changing the environment from an outdoors one to an indoors one is very stressful to plants, you need to be very careful when you do it. Make sure that you transition only healthy plants and plants that don’t harbor some kind of insects as these type of plants can not even make it after the transition. Then make sure that at first you match the light cycle of your grow lights to the light cycle that is currently outdoors because that will lessen the stress for the plants a little bit and make it easier for them to adjust to their new conditions.  Then only after a few weeks of this type of light cycle you can slowly increase the amount of hours the lights are turned on. And also check the humidity of the grow room so that the conditions in your indoors garden aren’t unsuitable for the plants.

BIO: This article is contributed by Ben Thorton. He run a website called T5fixtures. He is an an avid gardener and have been gardening all his life. For some time now he noticed that there are many gardeners out there that just stop gardening once it gets cold outside and don’t even consider an indoors garden so he created a website that would educate people on the benefits of indoors gardens and how this type of gardening can be as much fun as regular outdoors or greenhouse gardening.

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