Growing herbs is becoming quite popular because of the numerous benefits herbs have. The only challenge is that growing herbs outdoor may not always be possible, especially when winter makes it entrance.
And herbs need between 6 to 8 hours of abundant light to be able to produce their oils. Sunlight is best for your herbs, but if you want to always have fresh herbs year in year out, you may have to resort to indoor growing.
Herbs like chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and mint will grow back when trimmed and are perfect for growing indoors. But dill and cilantro will not grow back once clipped but will need to be replanted, which is why it might not be a great idea to grow them indoors.
Sunlight or grow light, which is better?
Without mincing words, sunlight is better and cheaper than grow lights, but then they are not always available like grow lights are. With sunlight, you get a blend of colors like yellow, red, indigo, orange, blue, and green. And then there is the ultraviolet (perfect for creating natural defense for the herbs) and infrared (provides heat) options that comes with sunlight which the herbal plants need as well.
Grow lights, on the other hand, provide the best alternative to your herb’s lighting needs. And I’m not talking about sunlamps or the types you use for your home lighting needs. With grow lights, you get at least a steady supply of 12 hours of light. They save you both energy and money and make sure you always have herbs whenever you need them.
To avoid going for the wrong grow lights, here are some options you can choose from:
Incandescent grow bulb
They are the cheapest option, but they are also the least efficient. They don’t provide the full spectrum light your herbs need, won’t last long (average of 700 hours), but will help your herbs grow nevertheless. But the herbs won’t achieve their maximum potential.
Florescent grow light
With florescent grow light, your herbs will grow, but still won’t have the full light spectrum. You get to frequently change the lights in a year. They usually come in long variation size and may be hard to set up for indoor herb growing. However, you can get up to 10,000 hours of light from this.
Full-spectrum LED light
Just like the name, full-spectrum LED lights offer better light for your herbs than others mentioned above. They are energy efficient but cost much more than others. LED lights are also perfect for your indoor herb growing needs. And you get up to 50,000 hours from it. You may check the best ones available on Amazon here.
Full-spectrum plasma light
There is a better option and it’s none other than the full-spectrum plasma light. And you get the closest infrared and ultraviolet light that you get from sunlight from them. They may be too much spending for an indoor herb planting, but if you have the money, why not?
This is for those who don’t want to get involved in setting up a grow light but love the idea of growing herbs in doors. They come with a combination of a planter and a grow light.
Now that you know how each light works, here are some tips to help you achieve a successful indoor herb planting.
Tips for lighting
Tip 1 – when growing herbs or plants indoors, make sure the grow light is mounted above the herbs so that it seems as if they are getting natural light from the sun. This shouldn’t be a problem since most grow lights come with hanging kits for the lights to help you reach any height you want.
Tip 2 – when using grow lights as a supplement to the light your herbs get from natural light from the window, you can hang the lights from the side to indirectly reach the herbs. In winter, make sure your herbs get at least 14 hours of light from the grow light to help them mature.
Tip 3 – for incandescent light, it shouldn’t be less than 24 inches above the herbs, fluorescent lights; 12 inches and LED lights 6 inches above. You can adjust the lights as your herbs grow.
If you are inspired by this article to start growing herbs indoor,you may refer this comprehensive guide by Eatingwell.