Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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How do I garden under lights?

Growing plants under lights can be easy and rewarding if you follow a few basic guidelines. First use the proper lights. Cool white or warm white fluorescent lights are readily available and work very well for most plants. You can invest in the more expensive Grow-Lux, Vita-Lite or TruBloom bulbs but they are generally not necessary. Incandescent fixtures do not make good grow lights. They become too hot to use as a primary source of light. Some hobby growers may use a couple incandescent bulbs in combination with fluorescent tubes to provide more light in the red range of the spectrum but this is usually not necessary.

The second consideration is providing enough light. Use a minimum of two 40 watt fluorescent bulbs such as in a shop lite for each 12 inches of shelf or table width and keep the lights close to the plants; only a couple inches above is best. The amount of light reaching the plants falls off dramatically as the lights are raised. If you have plants of different heights, block up the small ones to get them close to the light. Run the lights for 14-16 hours a day. An automatic timer is very useful for turning the lights on and off. Using white reflectors on the lights and painting the surrounding area white will also help reflect more light to the plants.