How To Choose The Right Grow Lights

Which Grow Lights?

Which Grow Lights

When starting out with a hydroponics grow room on a low budget you might decide to save a little money on Grow Lights. Now it’s OK to save a little money on grow lamps but it’s very counterproductive if you choose to use the wrong lighting. Below we cover HPS lights, MH lights and CFL or compact florescent lights.

For seedlings and clones Compact Flourescent Lights (CFL) work well as do low wattage metal halide lamps. Although CFL is acceptable for clones and seedlings it simply does not have the power to drive light very far below the maturing canopy of leaves in your grow room. CFL when used as grow lamps does not deliver the same quality of light and therefore is not really suitable for the main growth stage of you plants. Metal Halide lights (MH lights) should be used for the growth stage as they more accurately simulate the light the plant would be given by the sun at this stage of growth.

For the flowering stage High Pressure Sodium lights (HPS lights) deliver more of the red spectrum of light and they are designed to replicate the warmer colour of the sun during the autumn months. These are the optimum Grow Lights you should use when flowering your plants. They produce the colour of light your plants are naturally adapted to during this phase of their life.

Also, MH bulbs with added reddish spectrum and HPS bulbs with added bluish spectrum are also available for fuller spectrum and added flexibility during both vegetative and flowering phases.

As for light penetration into and below the canopy lumen output is a crucial factor. Lumen output will determine how well your plants will produce. There are two things to consider here.

1) The square footage of the area you want to illuminate will determine the number of watts.
2) The quantity of plants you wish to grow within that square footage.

A 400/430 watt HPS light cover an area up to a 2×2 or 2×3 footprint with the proper reflector.
A 600 watt HPS light can support a 3×3 footprint, while a 1000 watt HPS can illuminate a 4×4 area.

Carefully consider how many plants you would like to grow within that square footage of area. The more plants, the less space there will be between them, meaning the shorter they have to be. Fewer plants result in bigger taller plants, requiring more light penetration. There are many ways to train plants to remain short and to ensure there is enough space between them to allow for proper light penetration.

Do your best to obtain the higher quality Grow Lights and you’ll get better results from you plants.

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