Using indoor grow lights for your pepper plants opens up another world of possibilities.
Here are the main advantages:
- You can start plants inside when it's too cold outdoors. This is ideal when you're starting new seedlings or overwintering your plants.
- You can make sure your chillies get enough light each day. Even in the outdoors, too much shade, cloudy days or other elements can keep them from getting what they need.
Many lights are developed specifically for household use, but a variety of them are ideal for starting and growing your plants.
The main differences are that they range in cost, size and light output.
You have many lighting options to choose from, but I'll describe three of the most common plant light categories best suited for growing peppers indoors.
Regular Fluorescent Lights
Hardware stores and thrift shops are just some of the places where you can obtain regular, white fluorescent lights. This is best if you want to spend the least amount of money.
Though the lights are not particularly created for indoor plant growing, you can make these work by hanging more than one light over your pepper plants.
Make sure that each light adequately covers each seedling. Position the light so that it is no more than 4 inches away from the top of the chile plants.
Fluorescent growing lights are the most cost effective method of household growing, but they require that you place your pepper seedlings within 2 to 4 inches underneath the light to give them the benefit of the heat.
A typical fluorescent normally requires the use of two 40-watt tubes.
It's a great choice for starting your seedlings indoors with the intention of moving them outside when the weather gets warmer.
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are the next step up in plant lights.
They are still a cost effective light method, but they have the ability to produce a 92 percent natural sunlight spectrum that gets used by your chile peppers. (It's the grow light I personally use for my plants.)
As its name implies, the CFL is smaller than a traditional fluorescent. These lights come in a range of sizes to fit your indoor growing area. This is great if you don't want to have to hang multiple lights over your growing setup.
A popular CFL is the T5. The T5 is commonly used by hot pepper growers because it contains multiple thinner bulbs that are positioned in a vertical direction.
You'll usually get complete coverage over your chile seedlings in a mini-hothouse style setup. (See the image above as an example.)
Other types of popular CFLs include Vita-Lites and Sylvania Gro-Lux.
You can use these plant lights to grow your seedlings before you put them outside.
High Intensity Discharge (HID)
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are the most expensive option when it comes to indoor growing. This is because the light discharge has an extremely high intensity and double the efficiency of a fluorescent grow light.
(As an example, it takes a fluorescent light 800 watts to generate as much output as one 400 watt HID lamp.)
Two types of HIDs are the High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH).
The MH emits a midday sun heat that helps your peppers develop leaves.
The HPS produces an early morning or late afternoon heat, which gives a more yellow to orange to red spectrum. This is effective for and helping peppers flower and produce fruit.
The HID is an ideal indoor grow light solution because it supplements a greenhouse or sun room. This provides you with a solution if you do not receive enough natural light in your location.
Final Notes On Using Indoor Grow Lights
If you are going to use a regular fluorescent light, make sure your plants are completely covered and that the light isn't too far away.
I once made the mistake of not covering all my chile seedlings, and they died overnight trying to reach for light!
And if you can't get your hands on an HID light, don't sweat it. I've had great success using my CFL, specifically the T5, so I haven't seen a need to upgrade just yet.
Please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what plant lights you use.
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And for those of you looking for a specific grow light recommendation... Make sure to check out the T5 indoor grow light that I use to support my seedlings after they germinate. By the way, the Amazon link above is an affiliate link, which means that I earn a commission if you do end up purchasing this product. It's at no extra cost to you, and if you have any questions related to this item, I'd be happy to answer them for you!