As seasons change and temperature starts to drop, many of us would need to bring our succulents indoor to prevent them from being killed due to harsh weather like snow. Your house will have adequate water and temperature for the succulents to survive.
However, there is the issue with proper lighting. Your succulents would be devoid of lighting that would have been available outdoors. Grow lights are a good alternative in providing for your succulents’ lighting needs.
In this article we will be discussing the different types of grow light for succulents.
Appropriate Time to Relocate your Succulents
Most succulents (apart from certain types like sedums and sempervivum that thrive all year long in outdoor environment) are not able to survive the harsh winter conditions and therefore need to be brought into homes.
And so, the best time to bring them in would be somewhere before winter begins.
The succulents will also need lesser water while they are indoors so make sure to change your watering schedule as well.
The biggest hurdle will be the lighting as succulents need extra lighting when they are positioned indoors (save for a few succulent types that can live efficiently indoors).
If you’ve been into science you would probably already know that succulents require high amounts of light for them to produce adequate energy that’s needed for reproduction, blooming, and growth. This process is known as photosynthesis.
Lack of lighting, and they become etiolated due to excessive stretching. Pay extra attention to them to check for any signs of stretching, as they are an indication of lack of lighting. In a situation like this, you have no choice but to look for grow lights for succulents.
Grow Light for Succulents – Important Information
So how will grow lights solve your succulent’s issue? For your information, grow lights for succulents have been in existence and blooming for over 20 years. If you were to enter your favorite hardware store today, you will be amazed at the amount of grow light choices out there.
Although there are many types of grow lights out there in the market, we will be focusing on the 2 most effective ones (and widely used) for succulents; LEDs and Fluorescent. Both these type of grow lights are excellent in their own way but are used in different conditions.
Grow Light for Succulents – Fluorescent or LED?
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Fluorescent lights have been around for many years now. Recent advancement in technology have made them more resilient and energy-efficient than before. Today’s fluorescent grow lights cost less electricity than their older counterparts and do not easily overheat. They emit a spectrum of white light. You would use this type if you plan on displaying your plants inside your homes.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
LED grow light strips are newly developed and started becoming mainstream only couple of years ago. They save more energy compared to their Fluorescent counterparts. Unlike Fluorescent, LED grow lights produce focused lighting to your succulents that aid in plant growth.
Plants reflect green light and only absorb red and blue light for their flowering and growth process (have you wondered why plants look green?). This enables huge energy saving and the LED grow light only produces what the succulent needs.
However, there is a caveat in that your homes will not look good due to the purple lighting. You would use this type if you can segregate and partition your home only for housing your succulents (where your visitors would not look at them).
Whichever type of grow light you choose; they must meet these common requirements:
- They should be hung not far from your plant (18-24’’ for LEDs, 6-11’’ for Fluorescent).
- Should be turned on at least 12-14 hours a day. You can monitor this using a timer.
- Low heat output lighting, as there are lights that damage and burn your succulents.
Regardless of which type you choose, both LED and fluorescent grow lights are capable of keeping your succulents happy and healthy throughout the winter season!
Grow Light Distance from Succulents
The high intensity of the grow light needs to be focused upon your succulent to ensure optimal benefit and growth. Scientifically speaking, the “inverse square law” mentions that light received decreases by 1 square of the distance for every distance from the source itself.
The grow light distance chart above shows that the further your succulent is from the source of light, the lesser the benefit it will receive. Therefore, there are many people who are left disappointed after purchasing their grow lights. They simply do not use them the right way!
Fluorescent Grow Light for Succulents
Fluorescent grow lights are best used when you intend to display your succulents indoors for public viewing. While still providing the necessary lighting your succulent needs, it is also soothing to the eyes. Fluorescent lights also emit less heat, therefore reducing the risk of your succulents being burnt.
To choose which fluorescent grow light is suitable for your needs, these factors come into play:
- Watts – This is how much electricity the light fixture uses. More electricity is consumed where there are more “Watts” in a bulb.
- Lumens – This is simply how bright the light bulb becomes when it is turned on. More lumens, more brightness.
Calculating the Costs of Using a Fluorescent Grow Light
To save on your electricity bill, ideally you would want a fluorescent grow light that offers the most “Lumens” for the least amount of “Watts”. Keep in mind that fluorescent lights are more costly to run and their lifespan is shorter than LEDs.
You can use the following formula to compute your cost:
This will give you your usage in kW (Kilowatts/Hour). You then multiply this amount by cost over 31 days, which gives you the monthly cost.
Hydrofarm is a great manufacturer of these fluorescent grow lights. One particular model stood out above the rest, the Hydrofarm FLT44. It comes with four 4-foot long fluorescent tubes, with a combined 18,800 lumens for more-than-enough lighting needs.
If this is not enough, it can also be chained with multiple units to offer more lighting power.
It ships with a 5-year warranty as well.
You can hang this light in 3 different ways (although you will need hooks and ropes to hang it).
LED Grow Light for Succulents
LED grow lights produce just the right number of wavelengths that your succulents require to thrive and grow. They are cooler and less expensive than fluorescent grow lights due to the omitting of green light which is not required by succulents.
LED grow lights also outlast their fluorescent counterparts without a drop in lighting outputs. As mentioned, if you do not mind the aesthetics then by all means go for this type of grow light.
Most of the LED grow light for succulents found in the market only emit red and blue lights. Their functions are as below:
- Red light – Promotes and enhances the plant’s food production.
- Blue light – Keeping the succulents compact, while promoting strong, healthy stems and roots via production of more chlorophyll.
LED grow lights have more red than blue lights due to more people using them for vegetables or orchids. If you feel that you need more blue light, there are models that allow you to adjust the lighting output of the blue light, like this one here:
This is the KingLED LED Grow Light. We have purchased this and it is still working for 3 years now without any loss of light. It also comes with a hanger kit, which you can lengthen depending on your setup.
To read more about our in-depth review on the KingLED LED Grow Light, click here.
To find the best LED grow lights for succulents in the market this year, click here.
White LED Grow Light – Combination of LED and Fluorescent
Last but not least, let’s look at today’s state of the art grow light technology, the “White LED grow light”. It is the best of both worlds (LED and fluorescent). This type of LED light looks white to the human eye and yet provides emphasis on the blue and red spectrums, hence providing maximum benefit to your succulents.
The YGROW LED Full Spectrum 600W Light is one of the best in this category. It has a 2-year warranty, with approximate total usage of 50,000 hours. It ships with a hanging kit as well.
Another good model is the SANSI 30W LED Plant Light Bulb, which can be screwed onto any fixture. You would prefer this if you want a single bulb option.
Also try getting a timer as well so you do not have to manually keep track of the time. We love and use the Woods 50007WD Indoor 24-Hour Digital Plug-In Timer for our grow lights.
Not Using a Grow Light for Succulents?
Frankly speaking, grow lights are not required for your succulents even during the winter season. They might get some lighting from your home windows, or you can opt to go for succulents that require low lighting to maintain. But if you do not have good lighting and you have succulents that need a good amount of them to survive, then you really need to consider having grow lights.
We hope this article has shed some light on the usefulness of grow lights for succulents in times of bad weather conditions like winter. Always remember to position your grow light not too far away from your succulents in order for them to have the maximum lighting absorption.