The Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

0 Comments
Grow Lights for Indoor Plants
Author avatar By Derek LaRose
July 07, 2021
0 Comments

Starting your indoor garden is easier than ever before. Thanks to grow lights for indoor plants, you can cultivate cannabis throughout the year, regardless of the climate. 

Grow lights are designed to substitute natural sunlight. They stimulate photosynthesis and provide the best color spectrum for cannabis plants to grow.

We’ve gathered all the info you need on what lamps and lights you require to start your little indoor garden.

Mimic the sun rays with grow lights for indoor plants

Most growers need a source of light to grow weed indoors successfully. To simulate the external lighting conditions, indoor cultivators often link their lights to a timer. Growing becomes easier once you can keep the light cycle automated.

You can find various grow lights for indoor plants that will make your cannabis seeds turn into monsters. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are the most commonly used, but you can also use LEDs or even High-Intensity Discharge bulbs.

Regardless of your available space or your budget, there’s always a solution. With the right combination of seeds, nutrients, and lights, even novice growers can produce big buds.

LED lights for growing indoors
LED lights for growing indoors

Grow lights for indoor plants

As your cannabis plant is inside, you’ll need to trick it into believing that it’s outside chilling in the sun. The best plant lights for indoor plants brighten up rooms and maintain the light cycle. There are multiple bulbs capable of doing that; you need to find the right ones for you.

Multipurpose (overall) grow lights for indoor plants

CFLs and LEDs are considered multipurpose. They’re energy-efficient and have wide temperature ranges. The best grow light bulbs for indoor plants allow growers to mimic external conditions without spending a small fortune on the electricity bill.

LED room
LED room

On the downside, CFLs go through a color shift over time and are pretty heavy on the eyes. They also have a hefty recycling fee, which is why most cannabis growers choose LEDs.

Many growers use High-Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights in growing hydroponic weed. HID lights are cheaper than LEDs and more commonly used because of their familiarity. Of the HIDs available, High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) lights are the most common for growing indoor marijuana.

Hanging HID Lights
Hanging HID Lights

You can use either of these grow lights for indoor plants at any stage, but we don’t recommend that. We advise MH bulbs during the vegetative and HPS during the flowering phase because of each stage of growth’s light requirements.

Generally, HID’s have specific distance requirements because of this. Therefore, keep the distance from the canopy as follows:

Lamp WattageInches From Canopy
100018 – 26
60012 – 18
4009 – 12
2506 – 8
Indoor distance chart for HID lights

Whichever setup you use, multipurpose lights allow you to grow some pretty good cannabis buds on a budget.

Light bulbs for growing indoor plants

The most crucial thing about the lights used for growing indoor plants is using the right light-spectrum. All plants, including our beloved Mary-J, love the sun. They love every color and need as much of it as possible to flourish. 

While it’s possible to use incandescent and halogen light bulbs to grow marijuana indoors, we don’t recommend it. These have an excellent light spectrum but also have a high heat output.

As cannabis plants give off a high amount of latent heat, incandescent light bulbs aren’t the best choice for most growers. Rather than adding an intricate climate control system to manage the heat, we advise starting with LEDs.

LED bulbs for growing indoor plants

Just as the sun changes in nature, so should your lighting. Most manufacturers include various settings, so you no longer need multiple LEDs for your growth cycle.

The best grow lights for growing indoor cannabis plants feature broad spectrums that allow you to change the color temperatures. With a simple switch, you can change the color of your lights to match the growth stage of your plant.

Spider Farmer SF 4000 LED Light
Spider Farmer SF 4000 LED Light

The amount of light your cannabis plants get has the most significant influence on their growth and budding cycles. Up to the point of diminishing returns, more light means more robust plants and higher yields. The best led grow lights for indoor plants cater to this need specifically.

Mounted vs. Hanging grow lights for indoor plants

It’s a difficult question we each have to ask ourselves when we start growing: “Do I use mounted or hanging lights for my indoor weed plants?” To answer that, we need to ask another question: “How big do I expect my plants to become?”

If you’re planning to super-crop your plant, you might need more space, and therefore hanging lamps could be a better option. Be sure to keep the lamps close enough to the plants as light distribution is broader but weaker the further away the source is from the plant. 

Tall plants might not be the best choice with limited space. We recommend short, bushy plants to maximize yield.

For small plants that are mainly ornamental, a mounted bulb could work best. Mounted lamps are usually closer to your plants, allowing more concentrated light onto the leaves.

The best LEDs for cannabis are configurable, and you can use them in hanging or mounted positions. CFLs, on the other hand, are better used as hanging lights.

Configurable Led Lights heights
Configurable Led Lights heights

Grow lights for indoor cannabis plants

Although their needs are similar to typical indoor house plants, “weeds” need a lot more light.

Indoor gardeners generally use multi-spectrum LEDs or CFLs. While the start-up costs are higher than HIDs, the long-term outlay is less. You can also mount and place LEDs more easily inside, and they give off less heat.

If you’re growing auto-seeds, it doesn’t matter which light source you have. These bad-boys and girls reach the flowering stage regardless of the light they get.

We advise LEDs for them because you’ll want to have your lights on 24/7.

Grow lights for indoor cannabis desktop plants

Desktop “pot” plants make beautiful ornaments when trimmed right. Unlike growing for output, growing for aesthetics requires less light and allows for a more flexible setup.

A desk lamp with a directional visor a few inches above your plant can do wonders for its health and appearance.

What to look for in a grow light

It can be challenging to choose the right light for your needs. Factors to consider when looking at types of grow lights for indoor plants are: 

  • Size

When it comes to home-plant grow lights, bigger isn’t always better. Large lights produce more heat and consume more electricity. 

On the other hand, if the light is too small or too close, your plant could miss some of that vital light on the outer leaves. A bulb that lights your plant entirely while being far enough (but not too far) is ideal.

  • Type

The type of indoor growing lights you would use depends on your plant, space, and budget. HIDs are the best for colder climates. These lamps produce heat that can balance the temperature of your grow room. They do have a higher monthly electricity cost, though.

For moderate and warm climates, we suggest LEDs as they create less heat and have a lower running cost.

  • Ease of Use Indoors

One of the most enjoyable aspects of growing marijuana indoors is how easy it is. HIDs are better in a shed than a cupboard, as the heat could stifle the plant. Regardless of your living space’s size, most LEDs and CFLs can fit in spaces as small as a standard wardrobe.

Cannabis plant under LED Lights
Cannabis plant under LED Light

How to use a grow light for indoor plants

Tents or closets require you to install grow lamps for indoor plants directly above your seedling. A strip of LEDs around the top would also produce good results. The best grow lights for house plants are affordable and straightforward for home growers. 

Best overall grow lights for indoor plants

Thanks to modern technology, LEDs are, in our opinion, some of the best grow lights for indoor plants. Their color spectrum can match the needs of your shrubs, and reduced electricity cost makes them ideal for growers.

With the proper budget and space, and if you want to grow on a large scale, HIDs and CFLs on an auto-cycle would be the best light for indoor plant growth.

Our findings

Many online resources and stores offer everything you need to grow indoors. Online shops provide an enormous selection of lights, fixtures, seeds, and nutrients for any situation or cannabis seed type.

Discover insights and recommendations at the hmg forum

Individuals connect and share ideas, suggestions, and best practices for newbies and green-thumbs on the HMG Forum. You’ll find everything from teaching you how to use grow lights for indoor plants to growing outdoors.

Buying seeds at Homegrown Cannabis Co.

Years of breeding and cultivating have provided a multitude of different cannabis strains. Our Homegrown Shop offers a wide selection of seeds, including feminized and auto seeds. 

Regardless of which seeds you buy, the light requirements are pretty similar. Except for auto seeds, but that’s a different topic altogether. There’s never been a better time to grow your own, so check out our cannabis seed selection now!


About the author: Derek LaRose

Also known as The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.