Growing plants with artificial lights offers a great range of opportunity when it comes to growing plants indoors. Plants in different stages of growth have special lighting requirements in order to flourish indoors, and it pays to understand their lighting needs in order to meet them and get the best from your plants.

Vegetable gardening provides a good example of how grow lights and grow lamps work. Vegetable gardeners who live in cold regions of the country know that in order to get a head start on the growing season they will want to start seeds indoors approximately six to eight weeks before their last average frost date. You can find out your last average frost date from your local county extension agent's office. Some seeds require light for germination, while others need it to be dark. This information will be given sometimes on the back of the seed packets, or you can research it in gardening reference books. Once the seeds germinate, the indoor lighting that is used will make or break your starts. Grow lamps need to be kept no more than two to four inches above the growing plant starts, so you will need a way to raise the lights as needed as the plant starts grow taller. Attaching the grow lights to chains, with a hook above, works easily and well for this purpose.

You will need to use different light spectrums depending on where you plants are in the growth stage. If it is early on in your new plant's life, then it will need light in the blue spectrum. When the plant is at the flowering stage, it will need light in the red and orange spectrums.

You can find a grow lamp for a specific color spectrum, or you can find lights that come in a full color spectrum, which is suitable for plants at any stage of development. In addition to the lamp, you will likely also want to use a reflector, which helps intensify and control the light that the lamp puts out, as well as electronic ballasts. The ballasts control the electrical current that flows to the lamp. A lamp ballast is used with high-intensity discharge lights, also known as HID lights, because they put out a very strong intense light similar to sunlight, and this makes them a very good choice for growing plants indoors. Fluorescent lights are also used in indoor gardening. They emit light in the blue and green, as well as the red spectrums, making them another great choice for growing plants indoors. Other popular lights include led grow lights.

The larger the plant is, the more light it will need to produce food and grow, so lighting is all important to the health and vitality of your indoor plants.