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Herbs need sunlight to grow. LOTS of sunlight. And unless you’re one of the few incredibly blessed with a house full of windows and many bright shiny sun-filled days, if you want to grow your herbs indoors then you’ll need a little extra assistance. This is where grow lights come in.
And fortunately, because herbs are simple plants, you have a few options to choose from.
First, let’s talk about the best types of lights for specifically growing herbs. I need to backtrack a little and mention that certain plants need certain colors from the sun. For example, fruiting plants specifically require red light (warm) to stimulate growth while vegetative growth only requires blue (cool) lights.
This is where full spectrum lights tend to come in handy because they offer all of the colors needed for all plant types.
LED vs Fluorescent
I mentioned earlier that herbs don’t require a lot of complication to grow so you can go super simple and choose full spectrum fluorescent bulbs which are basically standard office lights. They are also pretty inexpensive to buy so will help that beginning budget.
However, if you have a few extra dollars to spend, then I would recommend full-spectrum LED grow lights instead. They are specifically designed to grow plants, use half the electricity and last 5 times longer than fluorescent bulbs. Additionally, unlike fluorescent bulbs, they’re mercury free thus more earth-friendly.
Another consideration is the size of the lights. Because I wanted to grow both my salad greens and herbs indoors, I bought a 4-ft wide 5-tier steel wire shelf. I then bought this Barrina 6-pack plant grow light set. They look like shop lights. I.e. long and narrow and can hang from the shelf above. TBH, it was one of the least expensive with the best reviews so I went for it. 😉
And because my shelves are 18” deep, I am hanging two lights from each shelf to ensure I get the entire container – although I may change this up if not necessary.
So for you, what are you trying to grow? How tall will your plants get? Since I am growing salad greens and shorter herbs, that shop light style light will work for me for now. But what if you wanted to grow something tall like echinacea? Then you might want to look for a floor lamp style light that has some height to it. I have even seen grow lights with a clip on the bottom that you could clip to the actual container. This is all worth thinking about before you plunk down that debit card.
We can get super deep in the weeds on specific stats regarding the lighting requirements for plants. Fortunately, because we are only growing herbs, it is a little easier to deal with.
For fluorescent bulbs, you specifically want the ones that state they are full spectrum. Most of them look like shop lights. I.e. long and skinny.
For LED lights, you also want them to state they are full spectrum. I highly recommend you read the reviews. I specifically looked for people who said they were growing greens with their lights. Additionally, the LED bulbs come in different colors so some of the bulbs are daylight white, some are pink and some emit a more yellow sunlight effect. It doesn’t matter which one you choose but ask yourself if you can handle looking at a pink light for 10 hours each day. If so, then go for it!
Herbs that grow well in containers
Here is a list of herbs that are known to grow well in containers. Make sure you research height and container sizes. Some herbs require more growing room than others.
- Bay Leaf
- French Parsley
- Lemon Balm
This is soooo exciting. I love that you are thinking about growing your own herbs indoors. Now you just need to decide which type and style of lights you need for the herbs you want to grow and you’ll be making your own herbal teas and remedies in no time!