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Old Yesterday, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Vermont
2,985 posts, read 1,037,227 times
Reputation: 4464

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I see different opinions online about using a sun therapy lamp as a 'grow lamp' for houseplants. Some say the light spectrum of the lamp is not the same as a grow light (green vs blue/violet).

I have a fairly expensive floor lamp and since I've acquired some very nice houseplants, wanted to use it to supplement their sun requirements until spring is in full swing.

Has anyone successfully used a sun therapy lamp for plants?
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Old Yesterday, 03:33 PM
 
Location: on the wind
13,045 posts, read 6,583,056 times
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Yes the two lamps do produce slightly different wavelengths of light, but if all you are trying to do is give your plants a boost until spring it may not make that much difference. If you were trying to germinate or force flowering, the light characteristics may matter more. IME, quality SAD bulbs are fairly expensive compared to a "grow" light or a full spectrum fluorescent bulb. Not sure I'd bother getting a SAD bulb unless I also used the lamp for that purpose. Be aware...not all "SAD" lamps are created equal. Many claim to provide benefits but don't. The light produced needs to be within a specific wavelength and fairly intense.
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Old Yesterday, 05:25 PM
 
Location: B.C., Canada
10,608 posts, read 8,824,418 times
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For indoor plants I would never use a light therapy lamp, I'd use a full-spectrum lamp combined with natural light from a window.

Light therapy lamps are designed for the human eyes to absorb the light for only brief periods of time and too much exposure to them can be harmful both physically and mentally to 'seeing' beings of any species. They aren't suitable for plants because they are designed to have little to no infrared and too much ultra-violet. They won't usually hurt the plants per se but they won't help them either, and may cause some plants to become leggy, spindly and off balance from reaching too much trying to find the infra-red light which is not available to them.

Full-spectrum lights have been designed to produce light that is as close as possible to the full spectrum produced by natural daylight, so you will get light that is close to the bright sunlight of midday. Full spectrum lighting includes all colors in the electromagnetic wavelength, from infrared to ultra-violet, visible and non-visible. That is what plants need.

No matter what kinds of specialty grow lights you use for indoor plants, it's still most helpful if you can also direct some additional natural light coming from a window at the plants - in a pinch mirrors or mylar are helpful for reflecting natural light that comes from windows for plants that are across the room or in corners. Even with the best, most sophisticated full-spectrum lights available to them, plants will still always lean a bit in the direction of any source of natural light that comes from windows, no matter how small an amount of natural light it is.

.
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Old Yesterday, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Texas
4,148 posts, read 2,431,084 times
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I use a grow light on my Fiddle Leaf Fig plants (5) and also a humidifier. They have absolutely taken off with new growth since.
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Old Today, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Vermont
2,985 posts, read 1,037,227 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
Yes the two lamps do produce slightly different wavelengths of light, but if all you are trying to do is give your plants a boost until spring it may not make that much difference. If you were trying to germinate or force flowering, the light characteristics may matter more. IME, quality SAD bulbs are fairly expensive compared to a "grow" light or a full spectrum fluorescent bulb. Not sure I'd bother getting a SAD bulb unless I also used the lamp for that purpose. Be aware...not all "SAD" lamps are created equal. Many claim to provide benefits but don't. The light produced needs to be within a specific wavelength and fairly intense.
Thanks for your feedback Parnassia.....I am just trying to give the plants a boost until I can open doors and have full days of fairly good light for them. I am not trying to grow seeds and get what you are saying about requirements to germinate rather than just give them some 'sun.'
The lamp was recommended to me by a therapist and it's a good one although I have not used it this winter at all for some reason (used it in my work at home office when I was still working).
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Old Today, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Vermont
2,985 posts, read 1,037,227 times
Reputation: 4464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
For indoor plants I would never use a light therapy lamp, I'd use a full-spectrum lamp combined with natural light from a window.

Light therapy lamps are designed for the human eyes to absorb the light for only brief periods of time and too much exposure to them can be harmful both physically and mentally to 'seeing' beings of any species. They aren't suitable for plants because they are designed to have little to no infrared and too much ultra-violet. They won't usually hurt the plants per se but they won't help them either, and may cause some plants to become leggy, spindly and off balance from reaching too much trying to find the infra-red light which is not available to them.

Full-spectrum lights have been designed to produce light that is as close as possible to the full spectrum produced by natural daylight, so you will get light that is close to the bright sunlight of midday. Full spectrum lighting includes all colors in the electromagnetic wavelength, from infrared to ultra-violet, visible and non-visible. That is what plants need.

No matter what kinds of specialty grow lights you use for indoor plants, it's still most helpful if you can also direct some additional natural light coming from a window at the plants - in a pinch mirrors or mylar are helpful for reflecting natural light that comes from windows for plants that are across the room or in corners. Even with the best, most sophisticated full-spectrum lights available to them, plants will still always lean a bit in the direction of any source of natural light that comes from windows, no matter how small an amount of natural light it is.

.
Thank you as well Zoisite....makes sense that the light designed for the human eye would not translate to a sun lamp for the plants.....so I will sort out how to handle giving them a boost.

The room they are in gets a good amount of bright indirect light in the spring and summer when the sun angle changes and I keep the front door open (I have a glass 'screen' door). But I may also bring them out onto the covered porch, which I do in the summer with some of my other plants. I could also move them around in the room during the day to catch the best light.

I love how plants lean toward the sun and I usually rotate them so they can grow straight and true.
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