Marijuana Grow Lights for Indoor Growing – An Overview
Are you confused about what to choose as your indoor marijuana grow lights? Providing sufficient light can be very beneficial to your cannabis garden and getting the light with the best quality will give you positive results for your cultivation.
It’s important to know that cannabis cultivation will require the use of grow lights specifically made for planting indoors. The lights we have in our homes will only give little support for photosynthesis. Traditional incandescent lights do not have the proper spectrum of light and intensity to support the plant.
Types of Indoor Marijuana Grow Lights
There are three main types of grow lights available in the market.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
The standard fluorescent bulb light is commonly known as T12, is a decent grow light that can be used for houseplants, starting seeds, supplementing the natural light of a window and the situations where lighting needs are modest.
They have weak intensity but it can be placed within a few inches of the foliage to give much effect on the cannabis plant. Compact Fluorescent Bulbs are a great option for growing in small spaces or just in case you’re not a fan of the look of long rectangular fluorescent light fixtures.
LED Grow Lights
These are more expensive than fluorescent light bulbs but they use half the electricity and last five times longer. This saves you more money in the long run. However, the average LED lights that you can find in the hardware store is not designed for the plant growth.
You might need to check on the LEDs available in the market since there is new technology that can be used for horticulture purposes. LED lights are also more capable of giving greater light intensity than the fluorescent bulbs and they are also available in the full-spectrum form.
A rule of thumb: You can use fluorescent bulbs for growing small quantity of plants while the LEDs are preferred for larger quantities since it gives a higher light intensity. LED lights also produce very little heat as compared to other types of bulbs.
HID Grow Lights
Before the technology of the LED light, the only option to large indoor growing is the HID grow lights. They can be extremely powerful but they are expensive to purchase. They also consume electricity inefficiently, require special light fixtured and they give off a lot of heat.
But behind all of that, they can be very effective and are still widely used. There are 2 types of HID lights: High-pressure sodium (HPS) best used for flowering and for low spectrum while the MH (metal hide)bulbs are used for vegetative growth and in the high spectrum. These 2 can be used in conjunction with each other but each type will require its own fixture.
Warm VS Cool Lights
If you happen to shop for grow lights and see the numbers like 2700K or 4000K, this refers to the relative warmness or coolness on the color spectrum. The higher the number on the label, the cooler the light it will give.
If you’re using the method of using foliage method it is generally best to use around 6500K, but for some plants, they may need a period of warmer light of around 3000K to produce flowers then fruits.
If your objective is to simply produce seedlings, you should go for higher spectrum bulbs. However, for growing marijuana that will flower and produce buds, you will be required to use low spectrum bulbs.
Installing your Grow Lights
The installation requirements will be different from each other since it will depend on the scope of your indoor garden and the type of bulb that you will use. Here are some basic steps that will help you install your own marijuana grow lights.
- Check how many bulbs you need
Plants that produce flowers like marijuana will need 40-50 watts per square foot in order to produce abundant high-quality crops. The wattage will always be indicated on the package. You just need to multiply the square footage of your growing area by the number of watts that you plan to provide then divide the number of watts supplied by the bulbs you plan to use.
- Make a Light Rack
You need to make sure your lights are supported at the proper height. You might also need to raise the light rack as the plants grow to ensure it’s still getting optimum growth. This will depend on the cannabis strain that you will use as some will remain short while others will grow tall.
You can use a pulley system or by hanging light fixture with a metal chain so that you can easily adjust the height by changing the link with a light fixture.
- Add the necessary equipment
It’s a wise investment to plug the grow lights into a timer just to make sure that they get the proper amount of light and that they get it at the same time each and every day. If you have lights that give off a temperature that goes beyond 80 degrees or more, you need to install a ventilation system to avoid heat stress.
Experienced growers make use of reflectors and all sorts of other grow light accessories to achieve optimum results.
Always check on the temperature on your grow area so that your cannabis plants will not be damaged. You can also opt to install thermostats that will give you accurate results on the temperature inside the growing area.
Keeping the Lights On
The cannabis plants that are grown indoors will require more hours of light than those who are grown outdoors. The recommended duration of light exposure will be healthy 14-18 hours per day when grown under artificial lighting.
Never be tempted to leave the lights on for 24 hours for 7 days a week. Keep in mind that 6 hours of darkness each day is essential for your cannabis plant to have optimum results.
As your cannabis plants grow, you need to fix the light fixture but maintain optimum distance. This will vary on the type of bulb and its wattage that you will use.