You are driving down a country lane, the birds are singing, the flowers are popping out everywhere and it has never been greener in the hills. What month is it? Well, there is a good chance it is not December. If you consider when plants grow the fastest, you will always come back to spring. One of the very special things about spring is that the days are going from short to long.

Ok, now it is blustery out and you are busy putting away the patio furniture and raking endless amounts of leaves. The color in the landscape has gone from vibrant green to shades of brown and your garden is starting to look a little sad. It is fall, and the special thing about fall, from a lighting perspective, is that days are going from long to short -- really short.

Now is the time to consider supplemental lighting. If you are one of the millions of gardeners who bring plants in each year or whose growing situation dictates only indoor growing, then no doubt you struggle with light. Long, leggy stems that flop over and yellow drooping leaves are two big cries for light from your indoor plants.

The kind of supplemental lighting you need depends a lot on how much space you are trying to light and what your budget is. One of the easiest (and least expensive) lights to use is fluorescent. And, today's fluorescent lighting is a far cry from the shop lights our dads hung over the washer and dryer. Take our compact fluorescent bulb and hood pictured on the right. The bulb is really pretty special.  Its 125 watts provides the preferred full spectrum of daylight and can be used horizontally or vertically. It lasts for about 10,000 hours and is really small when compared to other long tube fluorescents. The shade and all measures only about 20 inches in length and is about 12 inches wide. Yet, it can spread its light over about 9 square feet.

Compact Flourescent Hood and Light

Another cool thing about fluorescent lighting is that it is cool. This can be important if you have small children or pets who might come in contact with hotter types of lights. Of course, it also means that as long as the lamp is not touching the plant, the plant is not in danger of being burned either. As a matter of fact, you want to place your fluorescent bulb close to your plant: 3 to 4 inches is ideal. And, since you need to leave it on about 14 hours a day, it is nice to know you won't be smelling any smoke from this system.

Want to know more about fluorescent lighting or other types of plant lighting? Be sure to visit our lighting page.

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