A combination of warm and cool spectrum T5 fluorescent bulbs provides a good spectrum for indoor growing. The T5 designation indicates a fluorescent tube that is 5/8 inch in diameter. Indoor plants need high-intensity artificial light for 12 to 18 hours a day. Combining warm and cool T5 fluorescent bulbs ensures the plant will receive light in the right wavelength ranges.
Cool-spectrum bulbs provide blue wavelengths, which are necessary for photosynthesis and growth of the plant. Warm-spectrum bulbs provide the red wavelengths required for flowering and fruiting. Combining one warm-spectrum bulb with three cool-spectrum bulbs creates a good balance for healthy plant growth.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Light stand or shelving unit, optional
- T5 fluorescent fixture for 2 to 4 bulbs
- 2 pieces of lightweight chain
- 2 S hooks
- 2 ceiling hooks
- 1 T5 warm-spectrum fluorescent bulb
- 1 to 3 T5 cool-spectrum fluorescent bulbs
Attach the ceiling hooks into studs in the ceiling or to the top of the light stand. If using a shelving unit, attach hooks to the underside of the shelf. Thread the S hooks through the ridges or holes provided at the ends of the fluorescent fixture.
Hook the chain through the ceiling hoods and the S hooks, hanging the fixture at an appropriate height. The light fixture should be as close as possible to the top of the plants without burning them.
Install the bulbs in the fluorescent fixture. Use a combination of warm-spectrum and cool-spectrum bulbs, allowing one warm-spectrum bulb for up to three cool-spectrum bulbs. Plug in the fixture and turn on the lights.
Place the plants under the fixture so that the light is approximately 4 inches above the plants. Let the light heat up, then insert your hand at plant height to make sure the light is not too hot. If the light is hot on your hand, raise the light fixture by shortening the chain, then test again.
Tips and warnings
- The light must be close to the plants to provide enough light intensity. Using more fixtures and reflective material will also help. Plants that are too tall and leggy need more light.
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