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A Winter Guide to Indoor Grow Lights!


Unless you live closer to the equator than we do, winter is the least favorite season for the botanically inclined. Yes, the cold season can be a break from the hobby, but some of us don’t want a break. That is where small green houses and indoor growing set ups come in. Technology now allows us to grow plants without the sun anywhere in the house. This has led to innovations for some really great grow light options to keep your warm weather perennials going year round. Especially in northern countries like Norway, Finland, and Canada, this can really brighten the mood and help you get through the dark of winter. Here at SOS lights we know lights like the back of our hand and want to pass our grow light knowledge and insight on to you! There are a myriad of grow light types and we hope that this blog can help get you started!

Fluorescent Grow Lights

This light type is very common and comes in a variety of different configurations and types of light. They come in single, double, chainable strips, and panel arrays. Certain lamp types need to be matched to the correct fixture. Different voltage requirements means that the bulbs will either underperform or burn out if used improperly. These fixture types are generally the High Output (HO) or Very High Output (VHO) types but fit a variety of bulb types. In all bulb types you will also notice T12, T8, and T5 on the box. This marks the generation of the bulb T5s are the newest and most efficient. From T5 to T12, they generally descend in efficiency. Fluorescent bulbs are most common due to their affordable nature, low heat production, and longer life.

Fluorescent Daylight Bulbs

These light types generally are used in the early stages of growth in flowers, to encourage vegetative growth, and overwintering (The good stuff!). These bulb types should be in the 6500K range to encourage maximum growth.

Fluorescent Bloom Lights

Bloom lights mimic the wavelengths and light output of the sun that triggers blooming in the evening. They are on the warm side of the spectrum and emit more red light than red. These bulbs can be used in tandem with daylight bulbs to encourage both growth and blooming.

Metal Halide (MH) or High Intensity Discharge (HID)

This is the most common type of light among advanced botanical hobbyists. It’s earned its place by creating intense, efficient light that emits the spectrum of light ideal for most plants’ growth. Metal halide bulbs release light on the edge of the cool spectrum that comes close to mimicking real light. These also output UV radiation that is ideal for combating pests like fungi and types of mites and getting herbs to create essential oils. High Pressure Sodium

This type of high intensity discharge light gives off a yellow/orange light in the warm end of the spectrum. This makes it one of the best types of lights to encourage fruiting and flowering, making it a great companion for a Metal Halide light.

Plasma Lights

These bad boys literally create a fourth form of matter to help your little green buddies grow. They have a longer bulb life than metal halide lights and excel in encouraging vegetative growth. Their spectrum of light is fuller and includes UVA and UVB. However, they are prohibitively expensive to many consumers and some types of Plasma lights emit UVC which can kill plants.

LED Grow Lights

These lights are more rare in the growing world. Due to under performance of the grow varieties, they have been relegated to supplementing grow operations in order to encourage plants to fruit and flower.

We at SOS Light Bulbs hope that this guide has helped you make the right choice for light as you browse our categories of excellently priced grow bulbs and fixtures. Stay green and warm this winter!

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