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Johnson County

Research-based Information You Can Trust — Localized for your needs

Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

Map to our office

K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Grow Lights for Home and Garden

As we approach the shortest day of the year and officially enter into the winter season, many of us may be looking for a little extra life and light to warm up our spaces. Indoor grow lights can satisfy both needs, stimulating plant growth year-round and bringing added brightness to living spaces even on the darkest days of winter.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus under 9W GE grow bulb.

Light in adequate quantity and quality is one of the most important factors for plant growth. During the cold season, lower temperatures and light levels may require use of grow lights to sustain and establish tender plants. Although many low light houseplants do not require supplemental lighting, most edibles, large floor-plants (fiddle-leaf fig), succulents and flowering ornamentals (e.g. African violet and orchids) will benefit from lamps.

Grow lighting indoor sprouts

Starting seeds with a Sansi 15W LED E26 bulb using a gooseneck desk lamp.

Generally speaking, plants need significant quantities of blue and red wavelengths of light to perform photosynthesis. People can also respond and benefit from exposure to those spectra. Blue light is known to be an energizing component of daylight, it helps suppress the melatonin hormone and is a common component of cool-white colored bulbs. Soft and warm bulbs tend to be more on the warm spectrum and are often used for flowering plants and in bedrooms because it allows for melatonin release and promotes sleep.

Dill under bulbDill under bulb

Dill growing under warmer 32W LED bulb from GE vs cooler 15W bulb from Phillips

Lighting options for indoor horticulture have been covered in previous articles. Like many light bulbs in homes or office building, LEDs are a popular option for plant production because of their energy efficiency, low heat and highly customizable color options. And there are increasingly more LED grow lights sold to fit standard light sockets and produce full spectrum i.e. white-colored light that is visually pleasing for us humans. This allows for grow bulbs to be used in fixture all around the house in concert with our traditional lighting needs—think desk lamps or artful pendant light.

Grow light

No matter what you choose… May your days be happy, your heart be light, your Holiday merry and the New Year bright!

K-State Research and Extension Johnson County Master Gardener logo

Have questions? The Garden Hotline is staffed by trained EMG volunteers and Extension staff who will assist you with questions.

Phone: (913) 715-7050

Email: garden.help@jocogov.org