Question: I’d like to add artificial lights for my houseplants. What types are best?

Answer: First, just to be completely honest, it’s very difficult to add enough lights to grow medium- and bright-light plants in otherwise dark spots indoors. The lighting they receive in their native tropical homes is hundreds of times greater than a bright artificial light, enough so that you’re not even going to be in the ballpark. Use lighting, instead, to highlight your plants and accent them, not to grow them. There are a few exceptions, of course. African violets and other low-light plants can be grown under fluorescent tubes, so long as the tubes are installed within a few inches of the plants’ leaves. There are special color-corrected plant lights that work quite well, or you can use “daylight” types. Leave the lights on for at least 16 hours daily.

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