Can a Desk Lamp Grow Plants?

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The atmosphere that you work in is vitally important to your productivity. So, when designing your office area, perhaps the addition of a plant might be nice. After all, plants keep the air fresh and have been scientifically proven to boost mood, so adding one to your desk would be a good idea. Or maybe you simply want to use that desk lamp you have floating around your ill-lit apartment to get some growth out of your plant. Either way, we are here to answer the question, will a desk lamp help plants to grow?

There are a few things we need to understand before we can truly answer that question. Let’s start with the question of natural versus artificial light.

Artificial Light

It is, of course, possible to grow plants indoors which means that artificial light can be used to effectively raise your plants. Natural light will always be better as it is what they would have in their native habitat, but with some attention to the type of artificial light you are choosing to use in the growing process, you can still be quite successful.

Now the question posed was about a desk lamp and from what it looks like the answer is 'yes,' but let’s see how you can use your desk lamp to be the most effective. You will need to stay away from most typical light bulbs.

You will need a light bulb that is specifically tailored to imitating the balanced wavelengths that the plant would get from natural light. In other words, typical everyday light bulbs just don’t land in the same spectrum as light waves in the natural light from the sun.

To ensure your desk lamp turned to grow lamp elicits the right reaction you may want to think about the light waves you are throwing at it.

  • Blue = growth of foliage
  • Red = flowering

So, let’s look at some different types of artificial light that you can use in your desk lamp for growing.

Different Types of Artificial Light

There are kits you can buy that will come with multiple light sources all with their own specific light wave specifications. But if you are growing on a budget here are some of the different types of light bulbs available:


These are a great option for typical houseplants. They are cheap and do not radiate excessive amounts of heat which means you can get them up close and personal with that potted plant on your desk. You will want to pay close attention to the color temperature and should probably look for one that says 'cool white' to make sure you are getting the closest to full spectrum capable from an artificial light source.


These are the least appropriate when it comes to using them to grow plants. They give off way too much in the red spectrum and heat up quite easily.


These light bulbs come in a variety of colors which make them a perfect choice to use in your desk lamp for any growing needs you have. These light bulbs do not get hot but can be a little on the expensive side.

These are just some styles of the light bulb and there are artificial light sets and bulbs specifically designed for growing. So, what is the final word on our question?

Final Words

So, can a desk lamp grow plants? The short answer is yes, although there are some things to consider when utilizing your desk lamp as a plant lamp. Not just any light bulb is going to work — you need to make sure you pay close attention to this issue. After all, light is the plant's food source and so you need to make sure —  just like you would your child — that you are feeding your plants the appropriate food, as well as ensuring that they eat at the right time and for the appropriate amount of time.

Invest in a timer and set it for the most effective time schedule for the plant you have chosen to grow. That is the other thing — even though your desk lamp can act as a light source for your plants, you need to make sure you have the right light for the right plant.

Just like the example above, no two babies are the same; therefore, no two plant species are the same. The best idea for a successful harvest is to use that desk lamp in combination with the right light spectrum LED light bulb on a timer. If you follow these few guidelines and suggestions, you will really reap what you grow.

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