Can You Grow Plants With Only a Heat Lamp?
Plant lighting doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes you can set houseplants in a sunny window or other well-lit location and they’ll thrive, but other plants require better lighting and will need something more. Options you might consider include fluorescent lighting with either white or full-spectrum lights, or incandescent lighting with regular bulbs or heat lamps. In most cases, fluorescent lights work better for plants than incandescent lights do.
The Quality of Light
No matter how bright or how hot a light is, if it isn’t the wavelength that plants need, they will never grow. Plants require blue light waves, found at one end of the light spectrum, for the growth of foliage. They need red light waves, from the opposite end of the light spectrum, to support both flowering and fruiting. Since heat lamps emit plenty of red light but almost no blue, plants won’t grow if only a heat lamp is used.
The Intensity of Light
Light intensity refers to how bright the light is when it reaches the plants. One indicator of this is the wattage of the bulb being used, but the intensity drops significantly as the bulb is moved further from the plants, making much of the light unavailable to them. For best results the light should be just a few inches from the top of the plants. Fluorescent lights are cool enough for this, but incandescent bulbs — especially heat lamps — are far too hot and will damage the plants if placed that close.
Heat Lamp Considerations
Heat lamps are a type of incandescent bulb and have the same benefits and problems as incandescents. They are a source of red light waves, even if the light appears white to the human eye, and emit almost no other light wave colors. Heat lamps are also a very inefficient source of light as much of the energy used to run them is given off as heat and not as light. While the heat may be beneficial in very cold climates, plants can’t get enough light from heat lamps alone to allow them to survive.
Plant Lighting Options
Fluorescent lights are suitable for many kinds of houseplants; use warm or full-spectrum fluorescent lights to provide red light along with the blue for your plants. Simple shop lights hung about 4 inches above plants are adequate for houseplants that don’t flower. Placing plants near a sunny window or other source of natural light can supplement fluorescent lighting. Adding an incandescent bulb to fluorescent lighting can also help with flowering, but the wasted energy and the excess heat may cause more problems than the light solves.
Can You Grow Plants With Only a Heat Lamp?. Plant lighting doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes you can set houseplants in a sunny window or other well-lit location and they’ll thrive, but other plants require better lighting and will need something more. Options you might consider include fluorescent …
3 Of The Best Heat Lamps For Plants In Winter For Your House
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Are you looking for the best heat lamps for plants in winter? Perhaps you’re trying to keep your plants thriving all year round, so they can be ready to go back outside next summer?
In this article, I’ve taken a look at some of the top heating lights for both indoors and in greenhouses. Take a look at these top options, so you can keep your plants alive and maybe even produce fruit and flowers in the winter!
In a Rush? Here’s Our Pick
Let’s take a quick glance at the products we will talk about here.
Why Use a Heat Lamp?
As you know, certain plants tend to die off during the winter. Some come back the next year, others do not. A heat lamp is a way to provide control over the heat and allow you to keep plants alive.
A heat lamp is a luxury for flowering plants and it is nice to be able to keep them alive over the winter, ready to be planted outside next year.
However, if your garden is mainly for food, a heat light can help you get fresh fruit and vegetables all year round, even if it is freezing outside. You can also use the lamps for your indoor herb garden if your plants stand too close to a cold window.
The lamps can be also perfect for a small garden since you don’t need to heat a big space. If you consider to having such a garden, check my idea post with some pictures for inspiration.
Where Can You Use Heat Lamps?
Heat lamps are mainly designed to be used in a grow room or greenhouse. You can use some heaters and lights outside to keep the temperature closer to the summery conditions that most plants love.
However, because the heat can escape, you won’t have a lot of control if you’re trying to keep the temperature and light levels exactly as they should be. Plus, you’re still at the mercy of the conditions. If it gets extremely cold, an outdoor heater might not be enough.
Indoor use is often recommended in a grow room, such as a conservatory or a greenhouse, where you can monitor the temperature and humidity. You can even get a thermometer and hygrometer that works with your smartphone.
The Best Conditions For Growth
Generally speaking, plants will be at their healthiest and most productive at around 25-28 degrees celsius during the “lights on” or daytime period. Between 18-20 degrees is suitable during the evening or “lights off” period.
Plants are used to the conditions of the sun. This means they are used to a day and night cycle. This is something you can replicate with your heating lights, either manually or with automated features.
Directional light can be created with an indoor heat lamp and a reflector, such as this one , which gives a glow similar to the sun.
In terms of humidity, you should be aiming for around 50 to 70 percent, but there’s a little bit of leeway with this. Some plants can be quite forgiving.
However, you should control humidity as much as you can. The below video is a great guide on how to control the humidity in your greenhouse.
Infrared Lights For Growth
Infrared light is of some benefit to plant growth and a lot of the best heat lamps include light at infrared frequencies. Though too much infrared light can harm plants, the right amount has been shown to speed up growth.
Infrared lighting is also invisible to the human eye, so some infrared lights will not appear to give off any light or will appear dim. This is great for greenhouses that you don’t want to glow like a beacon in the night!
LED, Fluorescent, Or Incandescent Lighting?
The type of lighting, as well as the heat the light gives off, needs to be considered. There are a few different types of plant lights available. Fluorescent lights or incandescent bulbs tend to get very hot, and they’re not as efficient. These are more “old fashioned”.
Modern lights are usually LED style and don’t use as much electricity. They also don’t contain any mercury, don’t shatter if they break, and last much longer than fluorescent bulbs. Read more in our post about using LED lights for growth.
If You Don’t Have A Greenhouse…
A lot of the guides to using heat lamps in the winter focus on having a greenhouse or some sort of indoor grow room. But you may not have this luxury. If you want to keep your plants alive and thriving outdoors through the winter, all hope isn’t lost.
There are steps you can take in order to increase the outdoor temperature for your plants. Grow lights and heat lamps can still be very helpful when used outdoors.
You can give your plants some extra warmth with flood lamps or other lights. Bunch your plants together, so you only have to warm up one area. For instance, you could put all of your plants on your patio and use a patio heater and heat lamps to try and keep the area warmer.
Putting your plants on the patio can be a great way to spruce it up in time for winter, too. Other tips on this can be found here.
If you use an economical heat lamp, you don’t have to worry about spending a huge amount of money or using silly amounts of electricity.
There are other steps you can take if you’re on a budget. During a real cold snap, cover your plants with blankets — yes, really! This stops them frosting and can help keep them alive. Add this to your list of things to do in order to winterize your home, as the cold months approach.
If your plants are in the ground, rather than in pots, build mounds of dirt around their base. This can insulate them enough to keep them alive.
What Else To Look Out For
What are some other things to look out for when buying a heat lamp for your plants? And are there any terms you need to be aware of? The short answer is yes! Here are a few things to consider before you make your purchase:
- Lumens: Lumens refers to the brightness of a lightbulb. The higher the lumen measurement, the more light thrown by the light.
- Intensity: The intensity of the lamp refers to the heat and light seen at different distances. Intense light can a strong effect, even from a distance. A 10-inch space between the light and your plant can be as effective as 2 inches when you have an intense heat lamp.
- Duration and Light Hours: Some heat lamps will advertise how many hours of life they are designed to have. Obviously, the more hours, the better.
Heat Lamp FAQs
Do Heat Lamps Work For Plants?
Heat lamps work for plants when used correctly. It is very important to control the temperature and use heat lamps as a tool to get the right temperature. Just throwing a heat lamp above a plant isn’t always enough.
Do Plants Need Heat To Survive?
Most plants thrive at temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees celsius. If this temperature drops significantly, plants are in danger of dying. You’ve probably seen the impact of winter on your plants in previous years. Heat is helpful to ensure your plants will keep flowering and come back stronger next year.
What Happens If A Plant Gets Too Cold?
Water can turn to ice within the cells of your plants. This is often not fatal to the plants if the roots stay warm enough, but if your plants develop frost, they will likely not survive, at least above the ground.
Heat Lamp Reviews – The Best Heat Lamps for Your Plants
K21761 250R40/HR 250 Watt Red Head Lamp
The K21761 is an affordable red heat lamp. It’s sold in packs of two to provide better value for money. As well as being suitable for plants, it can also be used to keep pet enclosures warm.
Though you need to be careful to use this lamp correctly, it is good for those looking to buy multiple lamps, as it is such an affordable option.
- Designed with an E26 base. Can fit any US socket which is rated for 250 watts.
- Can last up to 6,000 hours — five times longer than many other heat lamp bulbs.
- Fits most clamp spotlight fixtures, commonly used in greenhouses.
- Deep red bulb which includes some infrared light to encourage growth.
- Can overheat — a potential hazard if you don’t keep the light protected. It can also scorch plants if they are too close.
Though this lamp is not quite as well built as some of the alternatives, it’s great for plants in the winter because it’s good value and can provide plenty of heat. Some careful positioning might be required to maximize its potential and avoid any scorching of plants.
Westinghouse R40 250 Watt Red Reflector Bulbs
This is another heat lamp that is sold in a two-pack to provide better value. They have a simple design that fit many different spotlight fixtures. The red reflector bulbs contain some UV light to maximize the impact on your plants.
The Westinghouse R40 lightbulbs are very versatile and can be used with recessed light fixtures. They can be used for some forms of light therapy and pets, as well as a heat lamp for plants.
- Can last up to 5,000 hours, which is above average.
- Reflector bulbs can be used in recessed heat lamps and also in spotlight fixtures.
- Provides plenty of warmth but doesn’t tend to overheat. Great for use outdoors or in a greenhouse.
- Some don’t last as long as the advertised 5,000 hours.
- More expensive than the K21761 250R40/HR 250 Watt lamp, but not significantly better.
These lamps are suitable for most uses, both indoors and outdoors. They’re versatile and are sold as a two pack — a big plus point which saves money. Though they’re simple, they get the job done.
TheraBulb NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb
This bulb is a good option for people who are looking for infrared light. As I discussed above, infrared light can speed up plant growth.
This is a great bulb if you want to produce flowers or fresh fruit and vegetables through the winter. It’s a bit more expensive than the competition, but the extra quality makes it worth the investment.
- Gives off “near-infrared” light. Red bulb gives a 750-nanometer wavelength at its peak, which is near-infrared.
- Fits 110-120V, as well as 100-130V electrical systems — can be used in the USA and many other countries.
- RoHS compliant, meaning it has been certified as free of toxic and hazardous elements.
- If you need to use it with a freestanding lamp, you will need to buy a bulb extender.
- More expensive than many of the other bulbs, including the others on this list.
Though there’s an extra investment with this heat lamp, it has the extra infrared light that a lot of people are looking for.
Heat Lamps For Plants In Winter: Which One To Choose?
My search for the best heat lamps for plants in winter led me to recommend the TheraBulb NIR-A Near Infrared Bulb as my number one pick.
It’s safe and RoHS compliant, plus it has near-infrared light to help plants grow faster. This light gives a great level of control over the temperature. Combine it with a thermostat and check the heat and humidity for the best results.
The TheraBulb is designed to last a long time and can be used with directional lights and other heat lamp fixtures. Though it is often advertised as a therapeutic product for aches and pains, it’s suitable for plants, too.
The other options on the list are good, but they don’t have the same infrared qualities. However, they’re more affordable and do have their merits. If you are just looking for a budget choice, the other two models are a strong option.
Have you enjoyed our list of the best heat lamps? Do you feel prepared for the winter coming? If you have more thoughts or tips, feel free to leave us a comment below.
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Last update on 2020-11-21 at 21:49 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Are you looking to keep your plants alive in the winter? Plants need heat and light! Check out our picks of the best heat lamps for plants in winter here.