If you’re an indoor gardener, you know the importance of providing your plants with the perfect light source. But what type of light should it be? In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of lights that can be used as grow lights to ensure your plants get plenty of sunlight without ever having to step outside!
Benefits of Using Grow Lights
Grow lights can be used to ensure your plants and flowers get the preferable amount of light needed to support growth. Light has a direct effect on plant health: without it, plants are unable to complete the process of photosynthesis and cannot produce the energy required for growth. Many hobby gardeners choose grow lights because they have several benefits.
They offer greater control over brightness levels and exposure length, allow you to adjust it according to a variety of variables such as wavelength, intensity, duration, etc., and can be used in areas that get little or no sunlight. Furthermore, they provide consistent brightness levels throughout all seasons — in comparison to natural sunlight — more intense ones are able to penetrate inside buildings regardless of weather patterns outside. They are also incredibly versatile devices: they can be attached directly to your plants/flowers or placed above them suspended at various heights.
Additionally, there is an extensive range of types of grow lights available today with each type having its own benefits and drawbacks – such as LED grow lights being extra efficient but require more installation and maintenance; fluorescent bulbs offering less energy but natural-looking spectrum; high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps producing high amounts of heat but most PAR; metal halide (MH) lamps offering brighter white colors which closely mimics natural sunlight; etc. Understanding what type(s) will best suit your needs is an important part in choosing the ideal grow light(s).
Different Types of Lights That Can Be Used
When growing plants indoors, you’ll need some form of light to help them thrive. Fortunately, there are a variety of different types that can be used as grow lights for indoor gardening. Here is an overview of the most effective and popular light sources for indoor growers:
Fluorescent Lighting: Fluorescent lamps are often used in seed starts and as supplemental lighting. They come in T5 (higher output) or T8 (standard output) sizes and various Kelvin ratings to meet your plant’s needs. They work well when placed within 12-18 inches from the plants.
LED Lighting: They offer a full spectrum of light that plants need at very little energy cost. LEDs come in many shapes and sizes and run on less wattage than other types of lamp fixtures yet with an equivalent or larger lumen output. As such, LED units are also more expensive than other lamp options for indoor growing but may be worth it if you plan to keep your system running continuously.
HID Lighting: High Intensity Discharge bulbs provide intense brightness that’s suitable for large-scale grows such as those involving vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit trees. HID bulbs produce more heat than other types so proper ventilation is a must with this form of brightness system.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS): Commonly used in commercial settings such as greenhouses, HPS lights provide full spectrum illumination suitable for flowering plants but runs extremely hot which necessitates constant air flow or cooling systems when used indoors.
Halide Lights: One type of HID bulb is Metal Halide which produces intense blue-white light on the cool side best suited for vegetative growth cycles rather than flowing like its redder-toned High Pressure Sodium counterpart does best with flowering.
How to Set Up Grow Lights
They provide the supplemental artificial light necessary for many plants to grow in a controlled environment. While there are many factors to consider when setting up these lamps and ensuring successful plant growth, selecting the right type of lamp is an important foundational step.
For optimum use, fluorescent and LED ballast-powered lamps are generally recommended. Fluorescent and LED fixtures produce less heat than other types of bulbs, and they are usually more energy efficient than incandescent or halogen bulbs. They specifically tend to last longer while providing consistently brighter light throughout the lifespan of their bulbs. You can also find specific spectrum grow lamps designed for different stages in the plant’s life cycle, such as full spectrum for growing vegetative plants or blue spectrum for flowering plants.
It is important to consider aesthetics when selecting brightness fixtures as well; all types of lamps come in unique configurations that would suit any atmosphere from modern to traditional decor. Regardless of which type you choose, it is essential to evaluate lumens per square foot, wattage draw, geometry design and specifically the color temperature (or Kelvin rating) each fixture will generate. Do your research first! The proper selection of lighting can make a significant difference in plant health over time when used correctly alongside other environmental control measures such as CO2 replenishment, humidity maintenance and temperature regulation.
Ultimately, the best type to use is determined by your budget, the size of your growing space, and your end goal. LEDs are typically the most efficient and have a longer lifespan than other types of lamp, making them ideal for most horticultural applications. Incandescent lamps provide gentle warmth that works well with some plants but has poor luminous efficacy.
High-pressure sodium lamps boast the highest luminous efficiency but offer no additional features that are beneficial for some plants such as far-red radiation or blue light for optimal color rendering. Fluorescent provides a wide variety of spectrum options and great cost efficiency without too much heat output.
No matter what kind of lamp you decide to use when cultivating plants indoors, it’s important to do regular maintenance on all lamps in order to preserve their brightness and longevity. Last but not least, when in doubt, tailor the type of lamp specifically to the plant you’re growing! Doing some research on individual plants’ needs can make all the difference in their ability to thrive.