Understanding Grow Lights 101

Proper lighting is important when you are growing indoors. A good fertilizer plan and a well-establish watering routine along with the help of indoor grow lights will help your plants thrive.

What are Grow Lights?

A grow light is an artificial source of light, usually electric, that is designed to stimulate growth with the best light spectrum and intensity. Grow light effectiveness is most useful in situations where you do not have enough natural light, or you need to supplement what you do have.

You can choose grow lights with a spectrum of light customized for your specific needs or an all-purpose light spectrum that mimics the sun’s natural light. This not only gives your plants the qualities of natural light needed for growth but also allows for light customization for your specific crop. Whether you have herbs you are keeping healthy and green or fruiting/flowering you want to stimulate, grow lights help the growing process.

Why are Grow Lights Needed?

Grow lights provide the exact light needed by allowing you to control the intensity, duration, and color of the light. As seeds are sprouting, they need plenty of bright sunlight so that they don’t become spindly or weak. By using a grow light, you control the brightness and proximity of the light. You can then adjust the light as your plant collection matures.

You can control the duration of light with grow lights, which is especially important when growing vegetables as they require as much as 12 to 18 hours of proper light each day to be healthy and thrive.

Grow lights provide the full spectrum of light that the sun naturally provides. Several types of grow lights can be used to create the perfect balance of warm and cool lighting

The Different Types of Grow Lights

Grow lights use a variety of bulbs to produce their light:

  • High Intensity Discharge (HID) grow light bulbs are the most intense form of artificial lighting and work well for tall plants. They can fully light a 6-8 ft plant getting light through the canopy. There are two main types of HID lamps used in indoor gardens.
    • Metal Halide (MH) grow light bulbs are strongest at the spectrum’s blue end. They offer a cool white light that is ideal for compact leafy growth.
    • High Pressure Sodium (HPS) blubs have a strong light on the spectrum’s red/orange end, which is best to promote flowering.
  • The are two types of Fluorescent Grow Lights commonly used in indoor gardening. T5 high output fluorescents are much brighter than standard T12 or T8 fluorescents. They have blue and red spectrums available similar to HID but are more affordable and budget-friendly. Compact Fluorescents are the most economical option, but they are less intense. Their compact size makes them ideal for tight spaces.
  • LED Grow Lights (Light Emitting Diodes) produce the least amount of heat and consume the least amount of power but have less penetrating power so they work better for shorter stature plants about 2.5ft or shorter.

Have a question about which grow light is best for your gardening and hydroponic needs? Contact the specialists at Root Grow Bloom.

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