Even though widely grown indoors with huge success, bonsai trees are naturally best suited for outdoor cultivation.
After all, despite their miniature size, these stunning creatures and living pieces of art do follow the basic growth patterns of trees found in the wilds – and as we know fair well, trees require access to light and water in order to fulfill the vital process of photosynthesis.
Although it might seem like a sci-fi mission to the newbies, growing indoor plants through artificial lighting is actually considered the future of sustainable living.
Choosing and utilizing the best grow lights for your bonsai will make the HUGE difference between a struggling, unhappy, stunted bonsai tree and a vigorous, cheerful and vibrant bonsai tree masterpiece.
Things to Look for when Selecting Bonsai Grow Lights
For a start, there is a variety of lighting set-ups that can work perfectly for growing bonsai trees.
In a nutshell, there are three categories of lights you can consider, namely fluorescent lights, HID lights and/or LED lights.
Fluorescent Lights for Bonsai Trees
Fluorescent lights come in different light spectrums.
Understanding the right color spectrum of light for growing just about any type of plant indoors is of utmost importance.
6000K fluorescent lights work great for stimulating the production of healthy foliage – stems and leaves.
2700K fluorescent bulbs work beautifully to stimulate the process of budding and flowering.
With this in mind, it is advisable to use a suitable combination of fluorescent lights so that you can target both the production of healthy foliage, as well as to initiate and boost flowering when the time is right.
Fluorescent lights should be placed at approximately 2 and up to 4 inches away.
HID Lights for Bonsai Trees
HID lights that are extremely beneficial for indoor bonsai cultivation include Metal Halide (MH) lights and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights.
Metal Halide lights can work wonders for stimulating the growth of healthy leaves and stems.
High-Pressure Sodium lights are best suited for flowering.
Compared to fluorescent and LED lights, you need to keep in mind that HID grow lights have a significantly higher heat output.
This can be beneficial if you happen to live in an area where the climate is cold and your bonsai trees would love some extra warmth. Nonetheless, you can use a simply ventilation set-up in order to protect your bonsai trees from over-heating.
Also, depending on the power of HID lights, you generally need to keep them at approximately 10 inches away from your bonsai masterpieces.
LED Lights for Bonsai
LED lights have been steadily making their way into the world of indoor gardening. Even NASA’s experts are intrigued by the potential of LED lights so multiple experiments for using LED lights for growing plants in space are already taking place.
High-quality LED lights emit very little heat as they possess a built-in, quietly-functioning cooling system. They are an environmental-friendly option, and they also emit the full color spectrum of light any bonsai tree needs to flourish.
Many LED lights also come with easy-to-use buttons that can be switched to providing a foliage-friendly blue spectrum of light and flowering-friendly red spectrum of light and used on their own whenever needed.
If you choose to opt for LED lights, do make sure you only choose the highest quality lights from reputable retailers.
Although the technology of LED lighting has truly made spectacular progress within the last decade, there is still plenty of lower-quality LED light systems flooding the market both online and offline.
#1 – For bonsai gardeners who are still making their way into working with grow lights, it is a good idea to opt for multiple bulbs of low wattage as opposed to few bulbs of higher wattage.
You can add more bulbs if and when needed after reading the signs your bonsai tree displays when introduced to its new indoor light regimen. More bulbs of lower wattage give you more freedom in placing the grow lights in different angles.
#2 – When thinking about the right lux, keep in mind that 3500 – 4000 is fairly good reading for most bonsai plants.
However, exceptions on that note are possible so make sure to study up the light requirements of your bonsai tree species in advance.
#3 – Working with the best grow lights for your bonsai doesn’t necessarily mean you need to keep them running 24/7.
Your bonsais will still need to take their “beauty sleep” and remain dormant for at least 6 hours on the 24-hour schedule. Plus, whenever you can provide access to light and warmth by placing your bonsai tree on a suitable spot in your house – then do so! Mother Nature knows how to make your bonsais happy.
However, be careful not to stress out your bonsai trees by exposing them to artificial-natural light all of a sudden. Start small and gradually build your way up to avoid shocking your bonsais.
Video by Bonsai Talk – Building A Indoor Bonsai Growing System – INDOOR BONSAI CARE
According to a traditional Japanese proverb, ten different people bring ten different colors – and this also applies to the different types of grow lights used for growing different types of bonsai trees.
To wrap things up, choosing the best grow lights for your bonsai is a highly intimate matter of choice. But whatever your gut and personal preferences tell you to opt for, remember that mastering the power of any grow lights is inevitable, just like the way you gradually gain more experience in the art of bonsai.