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Grow lights are often one of the first purchases house plant beginners get, purely because light is usually the commodity we have the least of. One grow light can allow us to increase our collection LOT.
But grow lights are difficult to pick. There’s always a tonne of specs that we don’t get. And the PRICES. Jesus christ.
Do we even need grow lights? I have article here on using normal LED lights as grow lights.
My first grow light was this one:
No one look at my Aglaonema dying in the corner. We’ve had a tough winter (because I’ve not been giving good enough care, not because we’ve had a harsh winter).
This grow light is FINE.
It kept my peace lilies and calathea alive in a super dark corner for a long time, and it was, like, £30.
How to choose a grow light
If you’re new, I’d just go onto Amazon, set your budget, and pick one based on the reviews. I’m currently in the market for a Mars light, but that’s not something a newbie needs, unless you have a tonne of money.
All you need is something that provides light.
Do cheap grow lights work?
As long as they’re close enough to your plants, they’ll work. Maybe not well enough for you to get a tonne of big growth, but enough to keep them alive and growing.
Something that often comes up on Facebook groups is bulb that fit in overhead lights. Whilst it would be amazing to just fit one bulb to your big light (as we call them in North Yorkshire), realistically it’ll be too far away from your plants to be of any benefit.
Unless you’re forking out for a fancy grow light, you want your plants to be a foot or so away from your light.
Grow light specifications
This is the grow light I have, and here are its specs:
There’s no mention of lumens anywhere on the page, but it’s safe to say that it won’t be anywhere near as many as the Mars has.
Recommendations for growing plants is about 3000 lumens. I’d estimate (from reading reviews – I’m not just having a look) that this grow light has about 1000 lumens per light.
That sounds like it’s not enough, and it isn’t really, but it depends what you’re after for a growlight. If you just need a little extra light in a dark corner, these cheap lights are great. If you’re after something that’s a little more professional, get something with 3000+ lumens.
Pros of this grow light
- It’s cheap and easy to get hold of
- It’s white. There are so many purple ones out there, but they look a bit….weed farmy in my opinion. I don’t fancy the police ziplining thorugh my living room window at 2am.
- It works perfectly well for my needs. It’s obvs not professional, and my plants won’t start producing mature leaves or anything, but they won’t die in winter.
- It’s adjustable, so if there’s a plant that needs a lot more light, I can concentrate both bulbs on it (and I can use it as a reading/jigsaw light if required). The clip is also a good idea, because I can put it anywhere on my shelf.
Limitations of this grow light
- I don’t like the way it looks. At all.
- It’s not strong enough to produce great results in terms of growth
Would I buy another of these grow lights?
Eeeeeerrrrm probably not, just because I have other grow lights, but I would definitely recommend them as a decent grow light for beginners.