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House Plants/Artificial Light setup for prayer plants


QUESTION: I am not sure what my prayer plants need in terms of artificial light.  I have a torchiere light with full spectrum bulb abd a shade on far away should my prayer plants be from it and any other suggestions?  I have very limited sun light sources for any of my house plants.  I am growing clean air plants and need all the help I can get!

ANSWER: Hi Sears,
 A full spectrum torchiere light is very little use to a prayer plant. Prayer plants mostly absorb light on the blue/green end of the spectrum.
The best kind of lights to use are special fluorescent plant grow lights. You can find them at most stores (I usually get them at Walmart). You can get ones that come with both the fixture and fluorescent tube together for about $10-$12 (When the tube burns out the fixture can be reused with a replacement tube).
Fluorescent plant-grow lights do not produce hardly any heat at all. You can set plants very close to the fluorescent bulb. I would recommend setting plants about 4-6 inches away from the bulb.

Another type of light I like to use is a special incandescent plant-grow light bulb. They are harder to find than fluorescent tubes (I get them in the floral/plant section at Meijer).

If you decide to use an incandescent plant-grow light, be careful that you get a plant 'grow' light and not a plant 'display' light. Plant 'display' lights are designed to make plants look good and healthy but it does not produce sufficient light in the spectrum that plants require to grow.  
Incandescent plant-grow lights are not quite as good to use as fluorescent lights. The main drawback with incandescent plant lights is they produce too much heat. Plants can not be placed closer than 12 inches to the bulbs because of the large amount of heat the bulbs produce. Although I still like to use them for several purposes. They work well to supplement fluorescent lighting. Also because they are incandescent bulbs they can be put into any kind of lamp. I usually put them in small inexpensive desk lamps. That way I can use them anywhere. I set them up to not only supplement fluorescent plant lighting but I can also set them up to supplement lighting for plants anywhere in the house.

The general rule for light duration for plants under artificial plant lighting is about 14-16 hours of artificial plant light a day.
I would recommend getting an inexpensive timer. That way plants get the exact same amount of light every day and at the exact same time every day.

Here are a few plants that I have found grow very well under artificial lighting. Most of them are really good air cleaning plants as well;

~ Prayer plants

~ Calatheas

~ Philodendrons

~ Pothos

~ Aglaonema  (Chinese Evergreen)

~ Syngonium

I hope this helps. If you have any questions or need additional information please don't hesitate to ask.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Aha...this gets me closer and explains a LOT!  I don't have a ways really to hang the fixtures you suggessted, although if I invested quite a bit more there are free standing stands the might work.  I do have some reflector grow lights that I have not used before...would these work?  I have the kind that clip on and the ones that are on a stand...does it have to shine directly on them or would one bulb maybe cover several plants together do you think?  I have bookshelves mostly to work with, and I could clip on a grow light to my torchiere for instance...what do you think.  Do you have any photos of what you are using?

Hi Sears,
  I have no way to attach a picture to this answer.
The clip lights would work and one light will not cover many plants. Remember that incandescent bulbs put off a lot of heat and must be at least 12 inches away from the top of the plants. The light does need to shine directly on the plants.

Bookshelves will sort of work but I have always prefered the wire rack shelves or even a bakers rack. It is easy to attach the light fixtures to the undersides of the shelves with plastic zip ties. I use the velcro ones. They are a little more expensive and harder to find but they are reusable.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions or need additional information please don't hesitate to ask.

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I am knowledgeable and experienced (professionally) in the care of many different kinds of houseplants as well as the pests and diseases common to houseplants. I have had a lot of experience and success with most propagation techniques. I am also knowledgeable and experienced with artificial lighting for plants. I can answer questions about all aspects of 'indoor gardening'. Not only questions about growing foliage plants and starting seeds under artificial plant lighting but also questions about artificial plant light system set up, supplemental artificial lighting and cost. ~ I can help identify plants accurately ONLY if you submit a picture of the plant with your question.~


I usually always have at least 70 houseplants at all times. I have done extensive research, education and have over 20 years of experience with houseplants, indoor gardening, interior landscaping and artificial plant lighting. About 30% of my houseplants are grown exclusively under artificial plant lighting. Many of the other houseplants that are growing in natural light are also given supplemental lighting using artificial plant light. I have 5 complete artificial plant light systems that I designed and built.

I have written extensively about plants, all aspects of houseplant care, indoor gardening and artificial plant lighting. I have written many informational blogs, articles and 'plant care guides' for many websites, forums and some online horticultural communities.

I have knowledge and experience on the care of houseplants, the different kinds of houseplants, pests and diseases common to houseplants, indoor gardening/landscaping and artificial plant lighting.

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