When purchasing a grow light, consider these points in order to properly raise and care for your houseplants:
✔️ Types of plants: Whether you’re growing plants indoors or outdoors, not all plants can be treated equally. Some need more intense light, some need less light, some need different colors, etc. Before purchasing lights, you should research the plant you want to buy to make sure you can properly care for it before you take it home with you. For additional information, browse our gardening section to learn how to handle different types of plants.
✔️ Micromoles: This is a unit of measurement that describes the amount of light that falls on an area over a period of time. When it comes to plants, micromoles are a good way of understanding the amount of light that is needed for photosynthesis to occur. One micromole is equivalent to 1 million photons of light per second that is capable of being absorbed for photosynthesis. Plants have different requirements, so check to see how much light your plant needs to make sure the light you buy for it will be the appropriate amount. Most lights you purchase will tell you the number of micromoles of light it will produce.
✔️ PPF and PPFD: PPF stands for photosynthetic photon flux, and PPFD stands for photosynthetic photon flux density. Think of these values as the amount of light energy that is able to provide any form of benefit to your plant. These numbers are great for people who want to know the exact value their light can provide and thus optimize their plants’ growth and survivability. It’s also easy to understand in terms of what value is best. The higher the number, the better the light is at promoting any form of plant growth, while the lower the number does the opposite. While it isn’t necessarily bad to have a lower number, it’s simply important to know that if your plant requires a certain amount of light, this is a great way to determine how much energy a light can provide.
✔️ Bulb shapes and sizes: Not all bulbs are the same. They won’t all fit in the same lamp. Make sure to verify the size of a bulb before purchasing it to ensure you have an appropriate fixture to add it to. This isn’t just for bulbs either. Some lights can be up to two to three feet long, and if you don’t have the space for a light like that, we wouldn’t recommend purchasing one.
✔️ Heat: Depending on the bulb or light system you purchase, it could produce a decent amount of heat. Though that may work in some scenarios that require it, basic houseplants do not need excessive heat to grow. In fact, having a powerful bulb that produces extra heat could actually damage the plant entirely. See which light types below are more likely to produce heat and which are less likely to do so.