The public secret behind and at the base of indoor garden success stories is high quality grow lights. Hydroponic grow lights are the sunlight in your garden. Field crops carry out the process of photosynthesis with sunlight to produce food for themselves. Similarly, when you are growing indoors, an artificial light source is essential to stimulate plant growth and for photosynthesis. There’s never enough light from outdoors, and normal light bulbs, such as incandescent bulbs, just don’t do the job. They aren’t the right colour and emit too much heat. HID grow lights are the most useful type of grow lights when it comes to emulating the outdoors. Choosing appropriate HID grow light for the hydroponic system is the major factor that decides decent functionality of your garden.
The types of HID lights primarily used for growing are Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium. When used in conjunction or during specific periods of the plants’ life cycles, these lights can be extremely effective, although they also certainly put out a large amount of heat which needs to be dealt with by appropriately ventilating the grow area.
(MH) Metal Halide Grow Lights- These bulbs exude light which is in the blue spectrum, much like the light on a hot summer’s day. This type of light is extremely useful for the vegetative stage. It’s better to use the MH bulb strictly for vegetative growth, as a red-spectrum light (see below) is ideal for flowering, and looks much like bright weather on a sunny, Halloween afternoon.
(HPS) High Pressure Sodium Grow Lights- HPS grow light replicate the end of summer light and are great for the bloom phase of the plant’s growth. Plants flowered under an HPS bulb form unparalleled (by all apart from sunlight) dense buds coated with trichomes. This one has a long functional life. All HID bulbs are efficient (more lumens of light emitted per watt of power drawn), but the HPS is the most efficient one of the lot. It is also the one which generates the most heat.
Size and number of bulbs to be used for a healthy yield depends on the number plants and the method of cultivation. For example, a vertical or stadium grow would require less space and bulbs. Rough calculations can provide the perfect light intensity; all of this is limited by the plants’ lighting requirements.
- 250 watt bulb for 2.5’ x 2.5’ (75cm X 75cm) area
- 400 watt bulb for 4’ x 4’ (120cm X 120cm) area
- 600 watt bulb for 5’ x 5’ (150cm x 150cm) area
- 1000 watt bulb for 6.5’ x 6.5’ (2m X 2m) area
Time and intensity have to be closely monitored occasionally to check for hardware problems. Light timers do fail, and you don’t want your plants getting 18 hours of light in the middle of their flowering cycles. It doesn’t take much time and can be easily controlled.
Filed Under: Hydroponics