For your garden , indoor or outdoor, the most important condition is light. You need to understand how plants use light. These days there are plenty of lighting options available and you can easily put together a lighting system that’s right for the plants you want to grow indoors — or at least sustain — until they are able to venture outside again.

Following factors are determinants for a suitable lighting system for your garden;

Color

Bright sunshine contains the full spectrum of light wavelengths from red through yellow and green to blue and violet. Plants use all of these wavelengths for photosynthesis, but red and blue are two of the most important. The blue spectrum promotes vegetative growth so young plants build robust, full foliage. The red wavelengths promote flowers and fruits.

Intensity

All plants need light to thrive, but some plants can get by on lower intensities than others. Native tropicals, shade-loving forest plants and houseplants like ivy and philodendron don’t need as much light as Mediterranean succulents or desert cactuses. Flowering plants of all kinds, such as orchids and gardenias, generally need brighter light to flower and produce fruit.

Duration

No matter how much light they use to grow, plants need a rest now and then, to accomplish their other functions of metabolism. Plants’ preferences for light to dark are divided into short-day, long-day and day-neutral.

Short-day plants thrive on less than 12 hours of light in a 24-hour period. Most will also need to have a stretch of even shorter days to signal them to set buds and flower. Azaleas, chrysanthemums, poinsettia and Christmas cactus are short-day plants.

Put together a lighting system that’s right for the plants you want to grow indoors — or at least sustain — until they are able to venture outside again.

Long-day plants need 14 to 18 hours of light per day. Vegetables and most garden plants are long day, and get pale and stretched when they don’t get enough light.

Day-neutral plants like geraniums, coleus and foliage plants are happy with eight to 12 hours of light throughout the year.

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