You have decided to grow some of the plants indoor, but you don’t know which type of light to choose? There are several types of lights available in the market and all of them have their own positives and negatives, but they all have some or the other property by which they prove their efficacy. This further increases the confusion. So let’s take a look on different types and characteristics of these lights. After reading guide, you should be able to select the best grow light for indoor growing.
Colors of Light
Different colors of light have different properties. Every color of the light impacts the photosynthesis process of a plant differently. Such as red or blue light which are either end of the spectrum, influences photosynthesis the most.
Blue Light: It is also known as cool light and it boosts the dense bushy growth.
Red Light: As compared to blue light, it is the spectrum’s opposite end. The blossoms are the result of red light because it activates the hormone responsible for blooms.
Duration of Light
It is important to know how long a plant needs to be exposed to light. Some of the vegetables require exposure to sunlight (or artificial light) for somewhat 14 to 18 hours each day.
For their healthy growth, a rest period is also important. So, make sure that the plants as well as seedlings get the darkness for at least eight hours. It won’t be easy to manually turn off the lights each day, an automatic timer will be the best option as it will make sure that lights are on or off for the right amount of time every day.
Characteristics of Grow Light
The Grow lights which emits the reddish and orange lights usually produce considerable heat, still, there are some advanced lights which produces the full spectrum light without too much of heat.
Grow lights are available in all size, shapes and price. The performance of grow lights depends upon the specialized fixtures and ballasts. Although, price does not indicate performance, but cheap grow lights are usually less effective and LEDs may last shorter time.
Different types of Grow Lights
Incandescent Grow Lights
These lights are beneficial in conditions where the plants require the light to be placed at a distance of minimum 24 inches. These lights need special care because they get extremely hot. Color corrected incandescent lights and spot grow bulbs can be installed easily.
They are also useful in case of specific plants or a small group of plants. The life of most of the spot incandescent bulbs is less than 1,000 hours which is very less. There are some light fixtures in which a clip handle is also provided which helps in placing them exactly where they are required. From all the different options available, these lights are the least expensive and can be purchased for around $30.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
These lights are commonly preferred by home growers. It is very easy to install fluorescent lights and also, they are energy efficient, i.e., they consume relatively low energy. The life expectancy of fluorescent lights is almost double as compared to incandescent lights, they last for 20,000 hours. The light emitted from the fluorescent lights is typically of the spectrum’s blue end. The bushy compact growth is encouraged by blue light and the seeds grow rapidly. It is cool to touch and that’s the reason it can be placed few inches away from the seedlings.
Full-Spectrum Fluorescent Grow Lights
These types of lights encourage blooming as they provide light from spectrum’s red end. When these lights are combined in a fixture, they allow the plant’s even and all-around growth.
These are the next generation fluorescent lights and gives extremely high output, are long lasting and energy efficient. The output of these lights is just triple as compared to the output of fluorescent lights and the energy consumption is similar to fluorescent lights.
A high percentage of these lights is absorbed by plants because the fixtures can be well placed close to the plants. In case of these lights, normal fluorescent fixtures won’t work because high output bulbs operate with high output fixtures.
LED Grow Lights
LED technology is what the latest plant lights are using. One of the major advantage of LED lights is their small size. These can be easily mounted and they measure just few inches in diameter. In various greenhouses, the only practical option is to use LED lights only.
To hang the grow lights in a greenhouse, the structure of the greenhouse should be strong and proper space or hooks should be present. When it comes to weight, LED lights weighs very little as compared to other lights. Some manufacturers claims that LED-chip based plant lights provides excellent balance for the growth of plants as these products have the ability to maximize red and blue wavelengths.
HID Plant Grow Lights
High Intensity Discharge or HID lights are the brightest grow lights. In these bulbs, a mixture of gases is filled in a ceramic or glass tube. When electricity is passed through them, they glow. The mixture of gases determines the emitted color of light. In comparison to fluorescent lights, they are twice more efficient. All HID lights need special fixtures with ballasts.
There are two types of HID lights namely metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS). The positive aspect of these lights is that both of them emit much intense light in comparison to fluorescent bulbs, which also works with same mechanism i.e., in fluorescent bulbs also, electricity is passed through a tube filled with gas.
MH bulbs helps in the leafy growth because it emits the blue light of the spectrum’s strongest end. These bulbs need to be replaced once in every 12 months. On the other hand, HPS bulbs are longer in size and they need to be replaced every eighteen months. The light emitted by them is of red color. This light is responsible for flowering.
Now you have the information about all major types of grow lights, their characteristics and how can plants benefit from them. You should note is that darkness also benefits plants. It has been found that at least six hours of darkness is beneficial for all plants. So, avoid exposing you plantations to continuous light. You should consider light with automatic timer or use separate timer to switch power on / off.
Overall, it can be said that modern led lights offer complete lighting options. Those are perfect for hobbyist or a commercial grower having a vast variety of plants, providing energy wisely full spectrum of light without producing too much heat.
- If you expect the best performance from led lights then you should position them close to the plant.
- The position of the fixture should be changed i.e. raised, considering the growth of the plants.
- In indoor growing, plants grow rapidly. You should check regularly whether light is positioned at a safe distance or not. The plants touching the light or positioned very close to some lights could get damaged because of heat.
- To make quick adjustments, adjustable hangers should be used as they can move easily.
Please note that sometimes the visibility of light emitted from the bulb is very low, in some modes you can hardly see it. It’s normal, don’t panic because there are many spectrum of light that plants need, but human eye can’t see them.
Now you can easily decide and choose which light is best according to your needs. Enjoy growing plants indoor with the right knowledge and powerful lights! Are you looking for the best grow lights? Read our buying guide and take a look at grow light reviews.