Without wanting to fully admit that Autumn is in the air, the drop in temperature of just a few degrees has already started to slow down growth on some of my houseplants. This led me to start doing a bit of searching online to find some grow lights to help keep my plants happy in the darker winter days. Last year was my first foray into supplementary lighting; where I used a very affordable clamp light for my office plants and a neutral screw-in bulb in my living space, both of which I found on Amazon.
This year though, I wanted to do a bit more research and up my grow light game, whilst sharing my findings with you in this blogpost. I have had quite a few enquiries over on my Instagram about recommendations, so thought this post would be helpful with a few comparisons and links all in one place to help deduce what could be best for you. I asked on my Instagram Stories for you to have some input on this topic by telling me the lighting set up that you use, and to share any favourites you might have. I received some excellent suggestions, thank you so much to those that got in touch.
Please note that whilst I have added some links to products below, I am in no way affiliated with any of the sites mentioned, this is just my own personal compilation. I have included screenshots for illustration purposes to offer some visual comparison. I’m aware that I have readers from all across the globe, so have tried to curate a varied selection of lights; some of which should be available in your location.
Style + function
As someone that loves interiors and design, I am the first to admit I’m a little fussy about having some less…stylish, lighting in my apartment. My clamp light from last year in the photo above was useful as it was in a room that I didn’t use much in the evenings (my office). It simply clamped onto my desk, which is the most densely populated-plant area of my home, but I could also move it around if I needed (the clamp was great for that). Yes it was that weird purple-y light, but I didn’t have to look at it so wasn’t too bothered. But I must admit, living on the second floor of an apartment block with that vaguely psychedelic light glowing around the windows was quite entertaining.
I quite liked my screw in bulb I popped in one of my lamps in my living space last year, as it was neutral in tone and think it really did help my big monstera and coffee table plants, it was by Phillips and I’ll include it in the list below. I’d like to find something that will work in my other rooms that doesn’t look too much like ‘woah crazy plant lady‘ …I mean, the amount of plants already creates this impression… So ideally I’m looking for something that basically doesn’t look like a grow light, that is not too harsh or clinical looking.
LED / CFL bulbs
Bulb buying can be a bit of a minefield… light spectrums, wattage, degradation…it’s easy to get lost down a lightbulb sized rabbit hole online and end up 20minutes later feeling very confused! To keep things very simple, the main comparisons with grow lights are CFL which stands for compact fluorescent lamps, and LED’s. The important thing to note here is that whilst CFL’s can use up to 30% less energy than regular (incandescent) bulbs, they contain mercury, which is toxic and need to be handled with care and disposed of correctly. LED stands for light emitting diode and are much more energy efficient (up to 85% less energy) than incandescent bulbs, have a low heat output and last a looooonggg time. This is why the prices of some of the mid-range LED recommendations below could seem expensive at first glance, but when you think that the average life span of an LED being 25,000 hours, their ‘cost per use’ is very low really!
- I’ll start with the screw-in bulb I used last year from Phillips; they come in both a 60w and 100w version and are very affordable (around £7) and easy to get hold of. Here is the 60w one and the 100w one. They are neutral in colour which I really appreciated and fitted into a lamp I already had [photo credits: Phillips/Amazon]
- If you have a larger set up that requires lighting, GrowWell Hydroponics had really helpful customer service and these T5 Grow lights were recommended (£60-£170) [photo credits: GrowWell] There was also a single tube version for £19.95 which looked pretty sleek and would blend in quite well to a home environment. The rigged lights in the photos below came in various tube sizes but are obviously more chunky. They do have quite an industrial feel which I actually don’t mind; in the right interior style these could actually look pretty interesting!
- Other T5 options were these well priced lights by Gardeners Corner, this model came in at under £40.
- Next we have IKEA and their VÄXER range of cultivation lights, which are extremely popular online and quite affordable too. Here is their bulb (£10) and LED strip light (£27) [photo credits: IKEA]
- Another popular choice were these (US link) or these (UK link) from SANSI, which fit into desk lamps and give off a white light. The reviews I have read for these are great and whilst they are a bit more pricey than IKEA or Phillips at £29.99, their results are excellent. The optics in these lights mean that the light doesn’t degrade as much as some of the others and cover quite a good area [photo credits: Sansi / Amazon]:
- Haus Bright (US) are also worth checking out and are in a similar price bracket to SANSI, their full spectrum 100w bulb is $29.99 here They often have %off promotions on their instagram page so check there too.
- If you have plant shelves these could be good to fit underneath and are nicely compact [photo credit: Suttons]…
- A more pricey option (which is apparently worth the investment) is the Platinum LED 150; here
- The Gardener’s bamboo LED grow lights were suggested (US); see here On the same website, I found this floor lamp which looks great in a modern interior from a design point of view, and I can imagine it makes the plant/s under it look pretty magnificent in the evening! [Photo credit: Gardeners]
- If you are based in the US Soltech Solutions are a bit more of an investment, but WOW their lighting is probably my favourite of all! Go have a look here… that Archetto one (far left) is what I would LOVE.
Some other recommendations from my readers you might want to look into; LG lights were meant to be very good, the Miracle 10w Full Spectrum LED, and for CFL lighting, the Sunblaster compact florescent 13w.
Summary: positioning / watering / what I’ll be buying…
I hope you found some of these ideas helpful, and that it will encourage you to find the best grow light for your needs. I wanted to add a quick note at the end to say that there are two important factors you need to remember when using grow lights; positioning and watering. You want to make sure you follow the specific instructions of the bulb in question for positioning so that your plants are neither too close or too far away from the bulb to reap the benefits of its use. Additionally, if this is your first year of using grow lights, it might be necessary to alter your usual watering habits at this time of year. Generally as light levels and temperatures drop, watering can be reduced quite substantially. Root rot is NOT what you want to be battling with as a result of soggy cold compost.
So what will I be buying? I think I’ll definitely pick up another Phillips bulb (the 100w one), and will get some of the VÄXER bulbs from IKEA. I’ve bookmarked the SANSI ones though and will check to see if the price drops at all; If it does I’d be very tempted to see how they compare to these other two.
Thanks again to my insta friends that shared their favourites with me, and if you have any recommendations please send me a DM on IG or leave a comment below,
Thanks for reading,