Cheap indoor plant lights?

Chaska, MN(Zone 4a)

I am wanting to make some small "fairy" gardens, with some "low light" plants. I would like to put these on my book shelf... but there is not much light there at all. I'd like something small, like a puck light to put right above it. I'd thought I'd start here by asking what any of you have had success with. I can get these small xenon puck lites, or small LED puck lights... do you think they would give off enough light to keep an indoor plant growing? I'm not starting seeds or anything.. just keeping some plants alive and happy.

Andrews, TX(Zone 8a)

Usually that type of lighting does not cover the area of the light spectrum needed to support plant life...... I'm sure there is a better way to say that. Just can't find the words right now! You need fluorescent lighting.

Cute idea. Sounds like a cool little space you are trying to create. I'm thinking of exploring terrariums. Getting lost in the small. The prospect has always intrigued me.

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

I agree. You not only need fluorescent lighting, and a good bit of it, but also be sure that the wavelength is proper. Wavelength, in the lighting industry, is called "color" or "color temperature". You generally want bulbs (and T5 fixtures are the most convenient, easily found, and inexpensive) to be in the range of 6500K for most growing conditions. That's a really "white" light, closer to bright, northern-exposure light. If you want color for blooming plants, the more yellow range, 3000-4000K would work best. Those companies that produce fluorescent fixtures specifically for growing plants, usually equip there fixtures with 6-8 T5 "Gro" tubes (bulbs), in the color range of 6500K or you can get them in the 3000-4000K range, or a mixture of the two Gro tubes. What makes these fixtures more efficient is that they have a lot of brightness (intensity). Brightness is called "Lumens" and some will have 40,000 lumen fixtures. The downside is that these specific fixtures are pretty expensive.

A regular, full-spectrum (6500K) T5 tube will produce about 5,000 lumens. A shop light, particularly a four-tube fixture, would produce 20,000 lumens, and you could grow plants with these fixtures. You might need two fixtures though.

There are now LED lights on the market that have specific wave-lengths for growing plants. These LED lights are very expensive compared to T5 tubes, at least those with sufficient lumen output are expensive.


Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I have many, many T5 HO lights and much success.

Andrews, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for filling in the gaping holes in my answer!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have never tried these lights or the vender, but if you want something very small maybe one of these might work. They look like they are built for what you want.
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