Do It Yourself: Cheap Grow Lights

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A grow light can go almost anywhere without taking much room.
A grow light can go almost anywhere without taking much room. (Image: Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Indoor plants usually require extra light for proper growth. A fluorescent system is the best all-around light if you are on a budget. The problem with fluorescent lights used to be their long, bulky tubes, which required specialized mounts. But new technology has helped with that. If you have a temporary need for a grow light, and you don't want to spend much money then the solution is as close as your nearest resale shop.

Things You'll Need

  • Desk lamp with goose neck
  • Curly fluorescent bulb

Obtain one or more goose-neck desk lamps at a resale, or second-hand store. Look for ones that take a standard screw-in bulb.

Purchase matching "curly" fluorescent bulbs for each lamp, and install them.

Set the lamp near the plant and turn it on. The bulb should be within 2 inches of the top of the plant and directly over it. As the plant grows bend the neck or otherwise adjust the light so that it remains 2 inches from the top of the plant.

Install a timer on the lamp to provide the best length of time, based on the plant's needs.

Keep the lamp in use for as long as the plant receives otherwise insufficient natural light. A curly bulb has an expected lifetime of several years so you can be sure of getting good value for the cost of the setup.

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