Ideas for Lighting Your Greenhouse

Illumination for Night-Time and Winter-Time Gardening

Greenhouse Lighting example

If you are a keen and passionate gardener, time flies when you are covered in compost. You might start first thing in the morning when the sun is barely up and not look up again until it’s setting on the opposite side - and in the colder months, that happens even faster. As the seasons move, the darker hours impede on precious gardening time, so finding a way to light up the greenhouse is very useful.

When the days get shorter, many gardeners may find themselves tinkering around in the greenhouse in complete darkness. And sometimes, in the height of summer, it is plenty warm enough to carry on repotting and sowing late into the night.

But how to light the way? Here are some of our pointers for creating the best working light conditions in your greenhouse:

Safety First

Key pointers for making sure your greenhouse lighting solution is safe:

  • A greenhouse is a wet and dirty environment, so whatever lighting you choose should be able to handle these conditions. Look for bulbs with an IP rating of 65 and above. IP65 and IP66 can withstand some direct contact with water although should never be completely submerged - so some splashing is fine while watering but keep away from the aquaponics unless you invest in something far more heavy-duty!
  • If you are connecting your greenhouse lights to mains electricity, consider whether an RCBO might be needed to better protect the home circuit.
  • Avoid the danger of over-heating by selecting low-watt bulbs. LEDs are the most popular choice and more cost-effective in their power usage.
  • You should also be aware of light pollution in your garden, so consider whether your choice of lighting might negatively impact your neighbours.

Will artificial lighting affect my plants?

Some gardeners worry about what affect artificial lights will have on their precious plant babies.

“Will artificial lighting be bad for my plants?” It is highly unlikely that artificial lighting will affect plants. Unless you are installing sun lamps and leaving them on throughout the night, the amount of light produced by standard bulbs is neglible when compared to the sun or purpose-made grow-lights.

“Can working lights help encourage growth?” No. If you want to stimulate growth, then grow-lights are needed. Grow lights use specific light spectrums and controlled timing in order to create the right conditions; standard household or garden bulbs will not do this.

How to power the lights?

There are 3 ways to power the lighting in your greenhouse:

  1. Mains electricity
  2. Battery-operated or USB rechargeable
  3. Solar-powered

Mains Electricity Lighting

Getting electricity supplied directly to the greenhouse is the most labour-intensive and expensive route to greenhouse lighting. The best time to install electricity is before the greenhouse has been installed, so that wiring can be properly situated and protected during the groundwork stage of the build.

Consult with an electrician to make sure safety and practicality are achieved.

Battery-Operated and Rechargeable Lights

A very simple option, with lots of styles to choose from, battery-operated lights can be easy installed anywhere you like in the greenhouse to add a decorative touch.

The only downside is that if you forget to charge them or you don’t have replacement batteries, your lights will go out and you’ll just have to wait for the sunlight to return and the hardware store to open!

Solar-Powered Lighting

Solar-powered options are very popular among greenhouse owners. They are more eco-friendly and very easy to install. The subtle glow creates a pretty aspect when viewed from afar and they come in a vast range of styles too.

However, be aware that solar lights may not be bright enough to make working in the greenhouse possible. Most gardeners report that there is enough light to see by while watering or picking, but not much else.

The solar charging panel should be placed in the best position to receive maximum sunlight, so place it on a south-facing side if possible. It is best to place it externally as the glass may prevent some of the UV rays getting through. The glass on our Rhinos won’t offer much UV protection though, so this isn’t imperative and many report solar-panels charging perfectly well from inside their Rhino greenhouses.

Prior to purchasing your solar lights, it’s worth checking to see if they have a manual on-off switch. Some don’t have this function and will turn on and off automatically as day turns to night, which may not always be needed. Having the option to turn it off will allow the lights to keep their charge for when it is needed.

Some sets of lights may have battery back-up or the option to charge them with a USB cable as well, which can offer the best of both worlds if sunlight is scarce.

Some Greenhouse Lighting Inspiration:

There are so many ways you can customise the lighting in your greenhouse, with literally thousands of lights available to buy:

  • Strip lighting
  • Floodlights
  • Festoon lights
  • Fairy lights
  • Bulkhead lights
  • Standing lamps
Rhino greenhouse at night with lights

And their functions can be just as varied:

  • Motion-sensing
  • Dimmable
  • Colour-changing
  • Twinkling
  • On timers

From industrial strip lighting to multi-coloured fairy lights, dimmable or motion-sensored, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find the perfect lighting for your gardening needs.

Here is some inspiration from our Rhino family: