Lighting For Hot Pepper Plants
Once your sprouts have germinated you will need to start giving them light right away. You can also remove the heat mat. You don’t want to cook your plants! Some people put their plants near a sunny windowsill, but chances are they will get long and spindly (leggy). Installing specialized grow lights will ensure your plants grow big and strong. The more plants you have, the more lights you’ll need. Below, you’ll find a few recommendations based on amount of plants, efficiency, and climate.
Lights For Hot Pepper Plants
These types of lights are common on Amazon. They clip onto a table or shelf and this one has a built-in timer which works great! These LED lights would be suitable for up to 6 or so plants, and you could always add more if needed.
I have used the exact same lights in the picture, however that purple alien light bothered me a bit. So, I switched to the Sansi lights below.
A great step up would be these Sansi LED lights. These put out a lot more light and none of that purple alien light. They are also rated for wet conditions. I have used these lights before (pictured at the top of this page). One light would be suitable for 1 and 1/2 trays (about 18-25 plants close together).
These lights put out around 4000 lumens (light brightness), which if you ran them at 18 hours per day, would cost you around $4 a month (Long Island, NY prices).
Due to the thick wires, these light have a tendency to hang crooked. I mounted them to a long thin strip of wood and hung the wood from the ceiling.
These lights are fluorescent T5 tube lights. The fixtures come in many different lengths and arrangements. Pictured are the lights I currently use (4′ wide with 4 bulbs). As most of us know, florescent lights cost more to run than LED and give off more heat (more on that below).
These lights put out around 20,000 lumens, which if you ran them at 15 hours per day, would cost you around $20 a month (Long Island, NY prices).
When choosing fluorescent lights, T5 bulbs are more efficient than other size bulbs and look for a color temperature of 6500K.
“Full spectrum” bulbs contain different wavelengths of light intended to simulate sunlight color of a particular season to encourage flower and fruit production. Since these plants will not be flowering inside, you do not need full spectrum lights, therefore 6500k is fine.
These are my #1 pick if you’re serious and in the market for LED lights. These lights from MARS HYDRO are very popular. The TS600 would cover an area of 2’x2′ and pull 100 watts at the wall. The TS1000 lights (pictured) would be suitable for a growing area of 3’x3′ and pull 150 watts.
The TS1000 lights put out around 22,000 lumens, which if you ran them at 18 hours per day, would cost you around $15 a month (Long Island, NY prices).
Another popular brand of LED lighting for plants is Spider Farmer.
Fluorescent vs. LED Lights
We all know by now that LED lights are more efficient and cheaper to run than fluorescent lights. However, fluorescent lights put out a lot more heat, which in my situation is desirable. I grow in an unfinished basement which is about 55 degrees in winter. So, I opted for fluorescent lights to benefit from the extra heat output. If my plants were in a climate controlled room I would use LED lights without a doubt!
Hot pepper plants thrive in temps around 70-80 degrees. Temps lower than 60 degrees will cause their growth to stall. I purchased a grow tent to help contain the heat a bit more. With two of my 4′ Hydroplanet lights in my grow tent, I can raise the temps from 55 to about 80 degrees!
How Long Should My Grow Light Be On?
I have mine on for 15-18 hours per day. I reverse the cycle so that the lights are off during the warmest part of the day. This helps with extreme temperature drops. I run my lights from 8:30PM to 2:30PM.
How Far Should the Grow Light Be From the Plants?
Depending on the light you use, you can put it anywhere from 2″-12″ or higher above the plant. Read the manual that came with the lights. It’s better to start farther way (20″-25″) and if the seedlings get too leggy move the light closer an inch at a time. If the lights are too close you could burn them to a crisp!
Rotating Plants with LED lights
Unlike fluorescent lighting, LED lights emit light at different intensity depending on their position. In the picture below, you can see the center of the light is the brightest spot with plants along the edges receiving less light. To ensure all of your plants receive the same amount of light, the simplest thing to do is rotate your plants/trays every few days (or when you water them).