Plants growing outdoors of course use the energy from the sunlight and can grow to the size of a tree in less than a year but when you grow marijuana indoors, your lighting is your number one priority. It is a good idea to understand all grow lights types and invest in the best lighting option you can afford. There are a few good options for a grow light.
Main Grow Lights Types
LED Grow Lights
LED lights are highly efficient, require less electricity, create much less heat, and contain more wavelengths across the light spectrum, which leads to better quality plants. Check out the most popular LED Grow Lights. Here are some other advantages and a few disadvantages for LED grow lights types:
- The LED Grow Lights have increased lifetime – their light emitting diodes have high efficiency but low energy use. On that account, they are energy saving – they produce the same amount of light as other grow lights but consume fewer watts. LED grow lighting emits far less heat than the lighting methods of other grow lights which is of great importance for the plant grow – too much heat can be damaging to the plants, and decrease their growth and lifetime. LEDs are also easily controllable and many of them are waterproof and dustproof, as well as recyclable. Finally, they are easy to install – their design is “all-in-one-package” and requires for the light to be simply plugged in, and hung up.
- One of the main cons of LED grow lights are the initial expenses – this type of lights are considerably more expensive than others. Despite the return on investment, the fact that you will need to spend a lot of money in the first place is important to consider, however it is worth the investment. Another con is the purple color LEDs emit, under which some damage stays hidden. For example, pest prevention may be harder because the light hides pest damage. LED grow lights are also severely heavy because they include an appropriately sized heat sink
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Fluorescent lights are a good option for basic indoor gardening, beginners in indoor gardening, and herb gardens. These type of lights come in different shapes and sizes. For example, there are T5 grow lights, a popular type, which are big, panel-like lights. There are also CFL grow lights which have twisty looking bulbs. Here are some other advantages and a few disadvantages for fluorescent grow lights types:
- Fluorescent grow lights are generally less expensive compared to other grow lights. They have a good light spectrum for growing cannabis and are a suitable option for beginning stages of growing such as clones, seedlings and young plants. Similar to LED grow lights, they do not generate a lot of heat and do not use too much electricity. They can be kept closer to the plants, which makes them a good option for small indoor grow spaces. An advantage which applies to T5 grow lights is that they emit light that covers a large area.
- Among the disadvantages of fluorescent grow lights is the small yield per watt (those type of lights has the smallest yield per watt of any other type), and the fact that they are not as useful during the vegetative and flowering stages of plant growth because the fluorescent light is not strong enough to penetrate deep down into the plant. They are most beneficial for short and flat plants.
HID Grow Lights
The HID (high intensity discharge) lights can be either a HPS (high-pressure sodium) or MH (metal halide). It is better to use each type at a different stage. MH bulbs should be used during vegetative growth, while HPS bulbs are a better option for the mature flowering stage. Here are some of the pros and cons for HID grow lights types.
- HID grow lights have a relatively low initial cost. They emit very bright and very intense light which is able to penetrate the canopy and nourished the whole plant. There is plenty of reliable and detailed information on HID grow lights since they have been used for indoor growing for decades. MH bulb spectrum includes UV (ultraviolet) light which stimulates production of terpenes and resin for better flavor and THC levels. HPS bulbs can be used for the full grow cycle, though it’s optimal to use MH instead for the vegеtative stage.
- Disadvantages of HID grow lights are the following: bulbs should be frequently changed which increases running costs in the long term. HID lights, especially HPS bulbs generate a big amount of heat and get extremely hot. Therefore, they are not suitable for smaller spaces, especially if not cooled properly. They have to be hung higher than other lights to protect the plants and a complex cooling system should be established which will also generate costs. Another additional cost will be the increased water and nutrient bills due to evaporation. The lights include high levels of infrared which can damage plants in the long run. HPS bulbs create much more green and yellow light than the plants actually need, wasting energy. They are also not great for the environment because the bulbs contain toxic metals.
Name: Luis Rivera
Luis has 20+ years of experience in global market expansion, business development, mergers and acquisitions, business re-engineering, finance and investor relations of software companies. He is passionate about technology, spectral science, indoor farming, food production, automation, and more. Since 2015 he is the president of Advanced LED Lights, a leading LED grow lights manufacturer based in Hiwasse, Arkansas. When not at work, Luis enjoys swimming, yoga, as well as growing grapes and flowers in Sonoma, California.