Plants need light to grow, and when plants are grown indoors, there may not be any sunshine reaching them. To compensage, grow lights are used to simulate sunlight. There are different types of grow lights that indoor growers can choose from.
A grow or plant light is an electrical light that provides an artificial source of light to stimulate the growth of plants. Grow lights achieve this function by emitting electromagnetic radiation in the visible light spectrum that simulates sunlight for the important process of photosynthesis.
Grow lights are useful in indoor gardens where sunlight is non-existent and cannot stimulate growth. They are very useful also during the winter months when sunlight is available only for a few hours.
Grow lights are put to use during times when there is not enough sunlight or natural lights to stimulate natural plant growth. Grow lights work in one of two ways. Grow lights may be designed to provide plants with a broad light spectrum to simulate the sun, or it may be designed to produce an optimal light spectrum that is needed to cultivate certain plants.
A grow light has a specific range of colors used to mimic outdoor conditions, such as the sun’s light, temperature, and color. A grow light is used when there is a need to cultivate plants that are otherwise out of season to allow growers to have a year-round crop. The intensity can be adjusted according to a given plant’s stage of cultivation or growth.
Plants have specific reactions based on time and intensity of light, known as photoperiods, at different stages of their cultivation. Grow lights may be utilized to imitate sunlight to stimulate those photoperiods, resulting in the plants’ increased yield.
Grow lights have been used by plant growers since 1868. A Russian botanist started his experiments on the use of artificial lights to grow plants. Today, growers can find several grow lights on the market such as light-emitting diodes or LED, high-intensity discharge or HID lights, high-pressure sodium lights, metal-halide lights and more.
Grow Light to Choose
Grow lights make growing plant indoors easy. Fortunately for indoor growers, there are now many grow lights systems that are available for them. While all types of grow lights are helpful, each type of them offers both advantages and disadvantages. The availability on the market of affordable and easily accessible grow lights will make your indoor plants as happy as they would be outdoors under the sun.
The types of grow lights are the following:
High-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights are the brightest grow lights available. This type of grow light may be installed in any part of your house or greenhouse to either supplement existing light source or to serve as the sole source of light for your indoor plants.
HID grow lights work by passing electricity through a hermetically-sealed ceramic or glass tube that contains a mixture of gases. The gas blend determines the color of light given off by the lamp. HID grow lights are twice as efficient as fluorescent lamps. HID lights run on the regular 120-volt current at home. They require a special fixture that has ballasts.
HID lights are categorized as metal halide (MH) or high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights. MH lightbulbs emit cool, white light that is ideal for compact and leafy growth. HPS bulbs are used by growers who desire lots of bloom. The bulbs’ red/orange light distorts the colors of the plants they illuminate.
High-Intensity Fluorescent Grow Lights
High-intensity fluorescent grow lights resemble HID bulbs although they are less expensive. Growers can use in the same fixture either for a cool or warm bulb.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
If the grower’s goal is simply to supplement natural light, not replace it, fluorescent light is a good option. Fluorescent light tubes are the most cost-effective choice for growing indoor plants. However, the light produced by a fluorescent tube is less intense than other grow lights, giving growers a limited choice of plants to grow.
LED Grow Lights
Light-emitting diode grow lights are energy-efficient lights that may be the best option for indoor growers. Unlike other grow lights, LED lights do not burn a filament. Instead, it passes light through semiconductors to create a spectrum. LED grow lights may be used as the sole source of lighting in plant growing, as a natural light supplement, or paired with other types of grow lights.
The light emitted by LEDs is focused, with none dispersed or lost between the bulb and the plants’ canopy. The lifespan of LEDs is long, with bulbs lasting from 50,000 to 100, hours of continuous use. Most growers choose from 300w to 600w LED grow lights. Small plots or tents have 300W LED grow light installed. Larger tents may require one or more Mars Hydro 600W LED panels. Beginners with smaller tents are better off getting a 300w LED growlight, which can be augmented with more panels as needed.
There is an ongoing debate among indoor growers on the best type of grow lights to use, which often boil down to the choice between LED and HID grow lights. However, other growers take into consideration also the other types of grow lights.Many indoor growers, especially weed-growers, are inclined to use LED grow lights over types because of the focused light and longer lifespan. However, some growers are used to the HID or other types of grow lights. Growers who have become comfortable with one type of grow light are difficult to persuade to use other grow lights despite the inherent advantages.