Tomatoes are a versatile, delicious, and nutritious crop staple in many gardens worldwide. While they grow well outdoors and are easy to from seed or transplant, it is not easy to grow tomatoes indoors successfully. To grow healthy, hearty tomato plants indoors, it is important to provide them with the right tomato grow lights, conditions, and care. This article will discuss some of the best grow lights for tomatoes and how to grow tomatoes indoors in general.
Overview of the best tomato grow lights
Best For Flowering
MARS HYDRO TS 1000W Led Grow Light
- 1000 Watt
- 3x3ft Daisy Chain Dimmable Full Spectrum
- 1000W LED Grow Light
- Highly Reflective Hood
DR.BIGG Full Spectrum Cree COB Grow Light
- Light Source: HPS, LED
- Veg and Bloom Dual Switch
- CREE COB 5000K & 600nm
Why grow tomatoes?
Tomatoes are versatile crops that can be used in many different ways. They are a popular ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, and they can also be cooked into sauces, stews, and soups. Tomatoes are also high in nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K and dietary fiber. They are a good source of antioxidants, which help protect the body against cell damage and may reduce the risk of some diseases.
Why grow tomatoes indoors?
Growing tomatoes indoor can be challenging, as tomatoes typically grow best in full sun and require a lot of light to thrive. However, there are still many benefits to growing tomatoes indoors, which includes
Protection against harsh weather conditions: Tomatoes are a relatively hardy crop and can grow nearly anywhere, but when grown indoors they are better protected against harsh weather conditions such as excessive rain, high winds, and extreme cold or heat.
Convenient access: Growing tomatoes indoors makes it easier to grow a variety of different types and colors of tomatoes than when grow outdoors. This is especially beneficial if you have limited space, as you can grow more crops in smaller amounts.
Consistent grow conditions: Growing tomatoes indoors allows you to maintain consistent grow conditions for your tomato plants, such as temperature and humidity. This helps the plants grow faster and produce more fruit than if grown outdoors in variable weather conditions.
Shorter growing time: When growing tomatoes indoors, you can have ripe tomatoes in less time than it would take to grow them outdoors. This is because you can grow the plants under grow lights, providing them with consistent light and heat conditions that allow them to grow faster.
All-season grows: When growing tomatoes indoors, you can grow them year-round, which means you will have fresh tomatoes to enjoy throughout the year. This is especially beneficial if you grow other crops during the warmer months and want to continue enjoying fresh vegetables in the colder months when it is harder to grow certain crops outdoors.
Reduced pest and disease issues: Because tomatoes grow indoors, there is less risk of pest or disease infestation. This means that you can grow tomato plants without worrying about using harmful chemical sprays and pesticides on your plants, which can be expensive and harmful to the environment. Read our in-depth article on “how to get rid of spider mites” “11 proven steps for hydroponic pest control“
Reduced pesticides: As mentioned above, growing tomatoes indoors allows you to grow them without using harmful chemical pesticides and herbicides. This is beneficial not only for the health of your plants but also for your health, as exposure to certain types of pesticides has been linked to certain diseases such as cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Enhanced flavor: Because the grow conditions indoors are more controlled, tomatoes grown indoors tend to have a richer and more intense flavor than those grown outdoors. This is due to the higher sugars that accumulate when fruits grow in environments with consistent heat and light conditions.
Download our complete guide to choose the best grow lights for indoor plants
Light requirements for tomatoes
When growing tomatoes indoors, it is important to provide your plants with the right light. Tomatoes grow best in full sun, which typically means a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, some varieties grow better in shadier conditions so it is important to research what type of light your tomatoes need before you grow them indoors.
The best tomato grow lights review
Here are the best tomato grow lights available in the market:
1. Gooing LED grow Light (best for seedling)
- indoor with LED grow light, this is one of the best options.
- This plant grow light includes a full spectrum of colors, similar to natural sunlight. It is specifically designed for mini bonsai plants and has three color modes: 3500K White Light#1, Red Blue Light#2, and Mixed 5000K White Light#3.
- This indoor seedling light offers a circular memory timer function with 4 optional timer settings- 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, or 18-hour intervals. Once turned on and set, it will automatically turn itself off and on again every day at the specified time interval so that you don’t have to operate it manually.
- It is super easy to install this grow light.
- It is high efficiency LED grow light. This succulent light is very efficient, only consuming 5 watts of power. The light output is soft and strong, perfect for mini potted plants like germination/seedlings/seed starting, succulents, cactus, and herb plants.
- 1-year warranty.
2. Mars Hydro TS 1000W Led grow light (best for flowering)
- It is one of the highly recommended 1000 watt led grow light in amazon.
- The TS1000 grow light has a highly- reflective hood and upgraded white reflector design that is patented. With a refraction angle of 120°, it can cover a wider reflector range to enhance its light intensity and assist plants in absorbing more light. The actual power of TS1000 is 150 watts, while other brands’ model 1000 only produces 100 watts.
- The grow light’s new diode layout is more efficient and uniform than other brands. Perfect for a 2.5×2.5 ft space with maximum coverage of 3×3 ft, plants can absorb over 90% of the light energy. Whether you’re using it in a MARS HYDRO grow tent, reflective area, or crossing over multiple TS series LED lights, this grow light will provide higher intensity and more even coverage.
- The MARS HYDRO TS 1000 Plants Growing lamp uses only 150W with 354 LEDs, 30% more efficient than alternatives like HPS/MH lights. This product also employs the newest SMD LED technology to provide the highest PAR/LUMEN output, saving up to 50% energy compared to other led grow lights today.
- This led grow light 1000w is the sunlike full spectrum LED indoor grow light! This light provides spectra that make most of the light in the 400-700nm waveband, which is ideal for all plants in all stages of growth. Additionally, it has a rapid plant response from seed to flower and increased yield & crop quality.
- The Dimmable & Daisy Chain feature of this grow light is top-notch. There’s an independent dimming button on the external drive with adjustable 0-100% settings, and up to 60 LEDs can be daisy-chained together. Additionally, the auto-sensing power supply works for both 120VAC and 240VAC, and 277VAC, which is perfect for large rooms or personal setups!
- The Fanless Professional LED grow system design will make your growing life easy and quiet. Reduce light lost to aisles and walls by quickly heat dispersing material aluminum, increasing the light intensity to 20%. This allows your plants receive more energy without burning them for maximum growth potential
3. Dr.Bigg 2000W full spectrum LED grow lighting adjustable veg and bloom (best for flowering)
- LED: Cree COB white 5000K, Samsung LM301B 3000K and red 660nm
- Beam Angle: switchable between 90° lens and 120° reflector
- Dimensions: 19.68 X 7.87 X 2.56 inches
- Input Voltage: AC 100-240V
- Frequency: 50-60Hz
- Veg and bloom dual channel.
- Top-bin Samsung LM301B and Cree СОВ.
- Balanced design with COB and SMD technology.
- Sunlike full spectrum.
- The CREE COB 5000K Cold White light is great for plants in the vegetative stage, while the Samsung LM301B 3000K Warm White and 660nm Red light help with flowering and fruiting.
- The intensity of the light is adjustable with this product, allowing you to change it based on what stage your plants are in. For example, the flat lens is for the vegetative stages, including seedling and clone growth, while the 90 degrees optic lens is better for the bloom and fruiting stages. Additionally, COB lenses increase PAR (PPFD) by up to 50%.
- This reflector is unique and highly efficient, increasing PAR (PPFD) output and canopy penetration by up to 150%. This results in a more uniform footprint.
- Recommended for vegetative growth in a 4’x4.5’ area and flowering in a 4’x3′ space, this light is Energy Saving: it’s equivalent to 2000W HPS/MH grow lights but uses only 220W.
- Comes with 30-day satisfaction or return policy.
Common tomato varieties
Many different types of tomatoes grow well indoors. Some of the most common varieties are:
Cherry tomatoes: These small, bite-sized tomatoes grow in clusters and are great for growing indoors as they grow quickly and produce a lot of fruit. These varieties prefer full sun, but will grow in shadier conditions if necessary. T5 grow light fixtures are commonly used to grow cherry tomatoes.
Heirloom tomatoes: These larger, more traditional types of tomatoes grow well in various conditions and can produce large amounts of fruit. Some heirloom varieties are also disease resistant, making them ideal for growing indoors without pesticides or chemical sprays.
Bush tomatoes: These tomato plants grow in a more compact, shrub-like form and are perfect for growing smaller tomatoes indoors. They grow well in full sun or shadier conditions and can easily be maintained by pruning the plants.
Stake tomatoes: These types of tomato plants grow upright and are ideal for growing in pots or containers indoors. They grow well in full sun but can tolerate shadier conditions with grow lights.
Fruit cocktail tomatoes: These unusual varieties grow small, bite-sized tomatoes that mix different colors and shapes. They grow well in both full sun and shadier conditions, but may require a little bit more attention to keep them healthy and productive.
Plum tomatoes: These elongated, oval-shaped tomatoes grow well in light and heat conditions, making them an ideal choice for growing indoors. They grow best in full sun but can grow in shadier conditions if necessary.
Flat-bottom tomatoes: These traditional varieties grow on bush-like plants that grow well indoors. They grow best in full sun but can tolerate shadier conditions as long as they are still provided with plenty of light.
Caging tomatoes: These varieties grow on long, vine-like plants in full sun or shadier conditions. They can be grown indoors by placing them in large containers or grow bags and providing them with a support system such as stakes or cages to keep the plants upright.
Trellised tomatoes: These types of tomato plants grow on long, vine-like stems and are great for growing indoors. They grow best in full sun but can grow in shadier conditions using grow lights or reflective panels.
Determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes:
When growing tomatoes indoors, it is important to consider whether you are growing determinate or indeterminate varieties. Determinate tomato plants grow to a certain size and stop producing new flowers, whereas indeterminate tomato plants grow continuously throughout the season.
Here are some of the key factors to determine which type of tomato is best for your indoor garden:
Lightning conditions: Indeterminate tomato plants grow best in full sun, while determinate varieties grow well in shadier conditions using grow lights or reflective panels. Read our in-depth article about “Do grow lights work? is it worth the investment?“
Plant size and shape: Indeterminate tomato plants grow on long vine-like stems that require a lot of space, making them better suited for larger indoor grow spaces or outdoor gardens. Determinate tomato plants grow more compact and shrub-like, making them ideal for smaller grow rooms or grow containers.
Seasonal conditions: Indeterminate tomato varieties grow continuously throughout the season, while determinate grow to a certain size and then stop producing, making them ideal for growing indoors all year round.
Plant care requirements: Both determinate and indeterminate tomato plants require plenty of water and nutrients to grow successfully indoors. However, indeterminate tomatoes may need extra attention to keep them healthy and productive throughout the season.
Temperature: Tomatoes generally grow best at temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Determinate varieties may grow well in a slightly colder or warmer temperature range, whereas indeterminate tomatoes grow best in cooler conditions using grow lights or reflective panels.
Light requirement during different seasons
When growing tomatoes indoors, it is important to consider the amount and type of light your plants will need throughout each season.
Spring: During the spring, tomato plants grow quickly and require a lot of light to keep them healthy and productive. This can typically be accomplished for indoor gardens using grow lights or reflective panels that provide plenty of direct sunlight. Tomato varieties that grow best during spring are typically indeterminate, such as plum and flat-bottom tomatoes.
Summer: In the summer, tomato plants require a much more moderate amount of light to keep them productive. This can be accomplished by providing your garden with less direct sunlight or using grow lights or reflective panels to supplement natural light. Indeterminate varieties grow well during this season, such as cherry tomatoes.
Fall: As the fall season approaches and the days grow shorter, tomato plants require less light to stay healthy and productive. This can be accomplished by providing your garden with natural sunlight or supplementing it with grow lights or reflective panels when necessary. Most tomatoes, including cherry and plum tomatoes, grow well during the fall.
Winter: During the winter, tomato plants grow very slowly and require little to no supplemental light. To grow tomatoes successfully indoors during this season, it is important to select compact and low-light varieties such as cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes.
By understanding the lighting requirements for your plants throughout each season and choosing the right tomato varieties accordingly, you can grow healthy and productive plants indoors all year round.
Do I have enough sunlight to grow tomatoes?
Whether you are growing tomatoes indoors or outdoors, it is important to consider the amount of sunlight available in your garden.
Tomato plants grow best in full sun and require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day for optimal growth and productivity. Growing your plants indoors can usually be achieved using grow lights or reflective panels to direct more sunlight onto your plants.
Grow light buying guide for tomatoes
When choosing the best grow light for your tomato plants, it is important to consider different factors, which include:
Light output: The amount of light your grow lights provide is important, especially if you are growing large plants. Look for grow lights with a high-lumen output to ensure that your plants get the light they need to grow and thrive.
Energy efficiency: Another important factor to consider when choosing grow lights for tomatoes is energy efficiency. LED grow lights, for example, are generally more energy efficient than other grow light options, which can help cut down on your energy costs over time.
Heat output: When growing indoor plants, it is important to consider the heat that grow lights generate. Some grow lights produce higher levels of heat than others, so it is important to choose grow lights that will not overheat your plants and damage them.
Spectrum: The spectrum of light that grow lights produce is also important when choosing grow lights for your tomato plants. Different grow lights have different spectrums, and you may need to experiment with a few different types until you find the one that works best for your plants. Check our in-depth article on plant grow light spectrum.
Height: Another important consideration when choosing grow lights for indoor tomato plants is height. Depending on the size of your grow room and the types of tomato plants you are growing, you may need to choose grow lights that can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of your plants as they grow. Read our in-depth article on plant grow light distance chart.
Grow light accessories: When using grow lights for your tomato plants, it is also important to choose the right grow light accessories and add-ons that can help you grow healthy and productive plants. These might include grow light stands or grow light reflectors that can direct more light onto your plants. Other accessories may include grow light timers or grow light controllers to help manage the grow lights in your grow room.
Several different types of grow lights are available for growing tomatoes indoors, each with pros and cons. Some of the most popular grow light types include:
Fluorescent lights: Fluorescent grow lights are a good choice for starting seedlings or for supplemental lighting to plants that don’t get much natural light. However, they may not have enough light for larger plants and may need to be replaced more often than other grow light types. Check our in-depth article on fluorescent grow lights.
LED grow lights: LED grow lights offer many benefits for indoor gardening, including energy efficiency, low heat output, and a wide spectrum of light wavelengths that can help plants grow and thrive. However, they can be more expensive than other grow light options. Check our in-depth article on LED grow lights.
HID grow lights: HID grow lights, such as high-pressure sodium or metal halide grow lights, are popular for growing large plants indoors. However, they can be more expensive and require additional equipment like ballasts and reflectors to function properly. Check our in-depth article on HID grow lights.
Best Double-Ended HPS Bulb
XAMT Double-Ended HPS Bulb
- Best For Flowering
- 1000 Watt
- Light Color – Red
- PAR Output – 2100K
How to grow tomatoes indoors
To grow tomatoes indoors, you will need a grow light to provide the right amount of light and heat for your plants. You will also need a large pot or container to allow your tomato plants to grow and thrive, nutrient-rich soil and adequate water and drainage.
1. Variety: When choosing the right tomato plant variety for indoor growing, consider factors like grow light needs, grow room size, and overall plant size. Some popular tomato varieties ideal for indoor growing include cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and vine-ripened tomatoes.
2. Location: Once your grow light, grow medium, and tomato plants are in place, it’s important to choose an ideal location for your indoor garden. This sunny spot should receive adequate air circulation and is free from drafts or other environmental hazards.
3. Set up your grow light: If you are growing your plants under grow lights, make sure the grow light is positioned at the recommended distance from the tops of your plants to ensure optimal light exposure. You may also need to adjust the height of your grow light as your tomatoes grow, depending on the grow light you are using.
4. Potting mix: Choosing the right potting mix for your tomato plants is important, as different growth mediums can greatly impact plant health and growth. A good potting mix should be well-draining but retain enough moisture to keep your plants hydrated.
5. Tomato seeds: When starting your tomato plants from seed, choose a high-quality seed variety that suits indoor grow conditions. You can also purchase starter plants from your local garden center or nursery.
6. Choose your container and growing medium: When growing tomatoes indoors, it is important to choose a large container or grow bag that will allow your plants to grow and thrive. You may also need to amend the soil in the container with compost, fertilizer, and other nutrients, depending on the growing medium you are using.
7. Plant: Carefully plant your tomato seeds in the container. Seedlings should be spaced about 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on the grow light and grow room size. Once your tomato plants have grown a few sets of leaves, you can begin fertilizing them with a balanced liquid fertilizer at least once per week.
8. Hand pollinate: To boost tomato yields, you may consider hand pollinating your indoor tomato plants. This helps to ensure that pollen is distributed evenly across the flower and increases the likelihood of fruit set and successful pollination.
9. Watering: To grow healthy and productive tomato plants indoors, it is important to water them regularly. Daily watering during the growing season may be necessary, depending on grow conditions. You can also use a moisture meter or other tools to monitor soil moisture levels and avoid overwatering your plants.
10. Fertilizer: Supplementing your tomato plants with a high-quality fertilizer is an important part of growing them indoors. Look for a nutrient-rich grow medium or liquid fertilizer that can help to promote robust growth and produce high yields. Read our in-depth article about “Top 6 best tomato fertilizer“
11. Pruning & maintenance: Regular pruning and maintenance are important for growing healthy tomato plants indoors. This includes removing dead or diseased leaves, staking large plants as needed, and removing any suckers that grow from the base of your tomato plant.
12. Harvest: Once your tomato plants are fully ripe and ready to harvest, you can enjoy their delicious fruits right from your indoor garden! Use proper harvesting techniques and store your tomatoes properly for maximum freshness.
Tips for effectively using grow lights for tomatoes
1. Choose grow lights that give your plants the correct spectrum and intensity. Look for grow lights that offer both red and blue light wavelengths to promote healthy growth and fruiting, such as LED grow lights, or high-pressure sodium grow lights.
2. Position your grow lights close enough to your plants but not too close, as this can cause overheating or damage. The ideal grow light distance will vary depending on the grow light you are using, and the size of your grow room.
3. Consider investing in grow light reflectors or other reflective materials to better direct light onto your plants and increase their exposure to grow lights. This can help improve plant growth and yield and reduce grow light energy costs.
4. Use grow lights in conjunction with other indoor gardening methods to ensure optimal growing conditions for your plants. For example, use grow lights and grow tents to create a controlled indoor environment, or pair grow lights with a ventilation system to ensure proper airflow throughout your grow room.
5. Be mindful of the power usage and grow light operating costs associated with your grow lights. To reduce grow light energy costs, consider using grow lights with adjustable settings or timed grow light shutoff functions to only use grow lights when needed.
Whether you are a seasoned grower or just starting, using grow lights for tomatoes is an effective way to ensure optimal growing conditions for your plants. To get the most out of your grow lights, choose grow lights that provide the correct spectrum and intensity for your specific plants, position them close enough to your plants but not too close, and consider investing in grow light reflectors or other reflective materials. Additionally, by using grow lights and other indoor gardening methods, such as grow tents and ventilation systems, you can create the perfect environment for your tomatoes to thrive indoors all year long!
How long do tomatoes need to be under grow lights?
The optimal grow light exposure time for tomatoes will depend on various factors, including the grow lights used and your grow room setup. Generally speaking, most growers recommend providing at least 12-14 hours of grow light exposure daily for best results.
How much do grow lights for tomatoes cost?
The cost of grow lights for tomatoes will depend on the grow lights used and other factors such as grow light intensity and grow room size. In general, grow lights for tomatoes can range from $30 to $2000 or more, depending on your needs and preferences.
What grow light configuration is best for growing tomatoes indoors?
No one-size-fits-all grow light configuration is ideal for growing tomatoes indoors. However, many indoor tomato growers recommend using grow lights with both red and blue wavelengths, paired with grow light reflectors and other reflective materials, to provide optimal grow light exposure for your tomato plants. Additionally, it is important to position grow lights close enough to your plants but not too close, and to consider using grow lights in conjunction with other indoor gardening methods such as grow tents and ventilation systems for the best results.
Can I leave my grow light on 24/7?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the ideal grow light exposure time will depend on various factors, including grow light type and grow room setup. However, many growers recommend leaving grow lights on for at least 12-14 hours daily to ensure optimal plant growth and yields. Of course, the timing of your grow light exposure will also need to consider other factors, such as natural day length and the growth stage of your plants. Ultimately, the best approach is experimenting with different grow light settings to see what works best for your tomato plants.
What wattage grow light for tomatoes?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the optimal grow light wattage for growing tomatoes indoors will depend on various factors, including grow light type and grow room size. However, most growers recommend using grow lights in the 200-1000W range for growing tomatoes, depending on your needs and preferences. Additionally, it is important to carefully consider grow light placement and other factors, such as grow light intensity, to ensure optimal results. Ultimately, the best approach is experimenting with different grow light settings to find what works best for your tomato plants.
Will tomatoes ripen under a grow light?
Yes, tomatoes grown under grow lights can be ripened once they have reached maturity. However, ensuring that your grow light setup provides the right grow light spectrum and intensity for optimal tomato growing conditions is important. Additionally, it will be important to monitor the ripening process closely so that you can harvest your tomatoes at just the right time for the best results.
How different temperature light helps plants in different stages of growth
Different light wavelengths can help plants to grow in different stages of development, from the seedling stage to the flowering and fruiting stages. For example, cool-white grow lights are ideal for supporting early plant growth, while red grow lights can promote flowering and fruiting in plants. Additionally, it is important to monitor grow light temperature and intensity carefully, as too much heat or light can damage your plants and affect their growth and development.
What color grow lights are best for tomatoes?
Many indoor tomato growers recommend using grow lights with a combination of red and blue wavelengths, as these colors have been shown to promote optimal plant growth and yields. Additionally, it is important to consider factors such as grow light intensity and grow light placement when choosing the best grow lights for your tomatoes.
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