The Q&A Archives: Artificial Light for Coleus

Question: What kind of artificial light is ideal for providing coleus with enough light when it is brought indoors for the winter? That is, I have a lamp I plan on putting the coleus near -- how many watts should the light bulb be? Is this an ideal spot? It's the only place I can think of because I don't have a very sunny windowsill.

Answer: Unfortunately, plants need a fuller spectrum of light than the ordinary light bulbs provide so a "grow light" bulb is actually best for long term plant growth. Alternatively, the plant should do fairly well with fluorescent lighting using one "cool" bulb and one "warm" bulb especially if it supplements real sunlight. To maximize the light available through a window, remove the window screen and keep the glass as clean as possible. You will probably find that no form of articifical light is as "good" as the real thing. If the plant grows leggy over the winter you can always clone it by starting new rooted cuttings for a fresh start next spring. Good luck with your coleus!

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