Which Are the Best Artificial Lights to Grow Tomato Plants Indoors?

Written by jamie conrad
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Which Are the Best Artificial Lights to Grow Tomato Plants Indoors?
Grow healthy indoor tomatoes using artificial lights. (Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Fresh garden tomatoes are a summertime favourite. However, not all climates offer the ideal weather for growing tomatoes, and some gardeners even wish to grow tomatoes year-round. If you meet either of those criteria, consider growing your tomatoes indoors, under grow lights. Grow lights put out the same type of light as sunlight, allowing your indoor tomatoes to grow and flourish without any natural sunshine at all.

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High-Pressure Sodium

High-pressure sodium lights, or HPS lights, put out orange-red light. This type of light is ideal for plants that flower or fruit, but is not as suitable for growing foliage-type plants such as greens or herbs. HPS lights encourage your plant to produce more and healthier flowers and tomatoes. Choose a light suitable for the space you intend to set it up in, as well as one that produces enough wattage for your tomato plants. A gardener or garden supply store employee can offer advice regarding the best HPS light choice for your particular growing situation.

Metal Halide

Metal halide lights produce light best suited for growing leafy green foliage. Once tomato plants mature and begin to produce fruit, a metal halide light would prove to be nearly worthless. However, in the tomato's early growing stages from seedling to just up to blooming, when the plants are mostly foliage, a metal halide light is acceptable. These lights may be used in combination with HPS lights, starting the plants on metal halide and switching to HPS once the plants begin to bloom.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent grow lights are extremely energy efficient and have long lifespans. These bulbs are good all-purpose grow lights and more of the light they produce is able to be used by plants. Fluorescent lights work best when used in numbers. While any fluorescent light will give some results, for tomatoes, the best fluorescent bulb is one of 2700k to 3000k. These produce more of the orange light spectrum and are idea for flowering and fruiting.

Incandescent

Incandescent lights are an inexpensive grow light option for your indoor tomatoes. However, these lights are ineffective as a tomato plant's main source of light. Rather, incandescent lights are best for tomatoes that have some exposure to sunlight, such as those grown in containers on shady porches or in rooms with sunny windows. Incandescent lights provide a helpful supplemental light source to those plants that may not receive enough sunlight otherwise.

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