A plant needs a lot of different sources of nutrition to flourish. Unlike other species of animals, they do not directly intake their nutrition, rather synthesize their nutrition from barely the basics of nature. Above that, they require a lot of care and love to help them grow into the beautiful green lifeforms that continue to serve us even in death.
Among the things that a plant needs to grow are good air-flow, good soil – full of nutritional minerals, lots of water, the right temperature and most importantly, light. Without any one of these, a plant will soon wither and die. Often, when plants are being grown on a natural patch of land or grown as crops in the field, the bare necessities like good soil, air-flow, temperature and sunlight are present by default. Of course, farmers would have to occasionally throw in some fertilizers to make up for some lacking in the soil, but the basics are there.
However, when one is looking to grow plants indoors, one has to be very careful about the factors that are not present in closed conditions, such as the weather or lighting. So, when it comes to indoor farming, there is no alternative to using Grow Lights. Also known as Plant Lights, these are lights that are used to provide adequate light as well as work as a heat source for plants to grow indoors, where they have little room for getting sunlight. And boy doplants require a lot of light for their photosynthesis process.
So, the importance of grow lights do not need to be stated; being such an obvious necessity for any aspiring indoor grower. But with all the different options out in the market, it’s far more important to know which types of grow lights to use and weight out their pros and cons if one is looking to grow indoors and make some commercial profits.
HID Grow Lights
If you’re looking for grow lights for your indoor planting stations, there’s one that stands out amongst the other options in the market: HID grow lamps. The term HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge and works by producing light by discharging high amounts of voltage, creating electric arcs between electrodes(1).
These electrodes are made of tungsten which is contained within a fused quartz or alumina arc tube, which can be either transparent or translucent. This tube can contain metal and/or metal salts, placed within the space filled with an inert gas. Due to the presence of the noble gases, the arc can be ignited with an initial strike.
After the preliminary ignition, the metallic mixtures present in the tube begins to heat up and soon begins to be evaporated. This heated up metallic mixture is what gives off its visible light with the metal ions emitting many different spectral lines, all falling within the visible light spectrum.
The more updated, newer versions of these lamps can produce more visible light per unit of electrical power used compared to its in can descent and fluorescent counterparts. These arc lamps can produce more visible light than infrared lights itself;however, the amount of visible light output can get reduced by 70% if the lamp crosses 10,000 hours of burning. This is because the metal mixtures within the tubes get evaporated with time and even though the closed system, there are some losses of materials and ions that escape out from the system.
HID lights are becoming increasingly common amongst some vehicles and laser technologies, which have adopted this system for a while now. The Ultra-High Performance (UHP) versions of these lights are even used in different types of LCD or DLP screens to project the images onto the liquid crystals. However, what we’re more focused upon are its uses as a grow light for your plants.
As a grow light for indoor farming, HID lights are extremely good options due to a few of the factors:
- It produces a lot of heat along with its light source, which helps in controlling the temperature as well as providing the light needed for the growth of the plants. The heat also helps to ensure that the closest possible simulation of sunlight is being made for the plants to give them an optimal growth opportunity.
- HID lights, just like sunlight, can produce a LOT of Ultraviolet radiation. While this may be detrimental for a plants’ growth, when provided in controlled amounts, UV becomes extremely beneficial for a plant’s growth. If you’re planning on using grow lights for plants that does not produce UV radiation, you might even be needed to add in additional sources of UV for the plant growth.
- They have been used for a long time now for indoor farming due to their energy efficiency, low running costs and due to them eliminating the need for additional implements for an indoor farming.
The amount of heat produced by the light can vary from the wattage of the HID lights and the type of HID light used. Depending on the weather, location and the season, the heat from the light might be too intense of too low for the growth of the particular type of plant one is willing to farm. For the cases where the heat is too much, the lights can be moved far away from the plant sources and thus the heat produced can be reduced. Unfortunately, if the temperatures are too cold and the green room isn’t well insulated, the farmer might still need to install room heaters for the proper temperatures. But it’s a relief to know that at least, the HID lamps can provide some comfort the tree even without the use of a room heater and for most of the farmers and the different areas of the US, the HID lamps would be enough even without the use of a heater.
However, it’s important to note that while, UV produced from the HID grow lights are beneficial for the growth of the indoor plants, too much can harm the plants and damage them(4). So, it’s sometimes important to use UV filters on the lamps (Just like how the Ozone Filters out Sunlight that gives just the right amount of UV for the plant growth), if the lamps are placed at a dangerously close proximity to the plants.
Types of HID Lights
There are many different types of HID lights, most of them are differentiated by the type of metal or metal salts used in the arc tube. The choice of the type of lights used can make a huge difference for indoor farming, as the right type with a complex ballast of digital grow light can eliminate the need of any additional hardware. There are two main types of HID Lamps that are excellent for growing indoor plants:
MH HID Light Bulbs stand for Metal Hallide High-Intensity Discharge Light Bulbs. These lights are very similar to mercury vapor lamps, with the main difference being the Metal hallides within the quartz arc tube of the lamps can produce a greater Color Rendition (CRI) and provide a better burning efficiency(3).
Being a HID lamp, they are able to provide very bright lights with just the right amount of UV radiation and produce heat during its operation. Generally, these light bulbs have a lumen output of approximately 100 lumen per watt. They can properly provide lighting with a great life span of around 20 thousand hours and has favorable degradation rates.
These types of light are best used for providing light to plants that are planted very close to each other with a dense vegetation. Even in these conditions, MH bulbs can prevent plants from stretching (which is caused by a lack of the light from the blue spectrum reaching all parts of the plants due to their proximity to each other). Therefore, the MH bulbs are the best options for growers when the plants are at earlier stages of life and are closely packed in a small space.
HPS Grow Lights
HPS grow lights stand for High Pressure Sodium grow lights. Unlike the Metal Hallide HID lights, these lights are less balanced in term of their Color Rendition and are more focused upon producing lights in the red spectrum. While this makes these light grow hotter and output less UV light, it also makes these lights ideal for increasing the flower yield of the plants(2).
That means, the HPS grow lights are more useful as a light source for plants in the later stages of their lives. Although, these light sources are not a good option for plants in their earlier stages or plants planted very close to each other, a good combination of MH and HPS light sources can make a world of difference for plant growth all throughout the plant’s life.
HPS can be used in different types of growing conditions, such as in green houses, grow tents and large indoor rooms. These lights usually require reflector fixtures to be used however, it’s always suggested to get a good ballast fixture so that the HPS lights and MH lights can be interchanged as necessary, during different growth stages of the plant’s life.
While some HPS lights are specially designed to produce more light in the blue spectrum, most of them needs to be combined with MH lights for the proper growth of the plants in the vegetative stages. Above that, if the plants are grown at an area with a partial exposure to sunlight, the need for an MH can be eliminated altogether.
It’s important to understand that one cannot compare an HPS lamp to a MH lamp in terms of “which one is better” since both are equally important and serve their own purposes. It’s important to choose the right lights at the right stages of the plant growth, or use a good combination of both of the lights to get the best output.
Using any kind of HID lights require a good set up of reflective and ballast fixtures. When purchasing grow lights, we would recommend you to go for grow lights that come pre-built with good quality ballasts, so that the MH and the HPS bulbs can be interchanged in the reflective fixtures, saving your time, money and trouble(5). Apart from that, it’s important for a grower to understand the specific light spectrum requirements for the plants that they are growing in order to choose the correct combination of HPS and MH lights for their indoor plant set up.
LED Grow Lights
LED or Light Emitting Diodes Grow Lights are lights that use two different lead points made out of a semiconductor. When connected properly, the voltage passes through the two leads, making the electron holes in the conductor allow the flow of electrons, releasing a stream of photons and emitting light. This process is also known as Electroluminescence. The most notable feature of this kind of light is its ability to produce lights of different color spectrum, depending on the semiconductor used. The different energy band gap in the different semiconductors determine the color of the light that is emitted by the LED(6).
LED lights produce very little to no heat, making them ideal as grow lights in the areas, seasons and conditions with high temperatures. Above all, their different light spectrums can be used to light plants at the right stages of growth. For example, a combination of horticulture LED grow lights can be used to light up plants at their vegetative stage with a higher number of blue lights than red. And once the plants have grown enough to start flowering, more red LED lights could be added in for increasing the growth yield of the plants(7).
Notice, when we specifically said Horticultural Grow Lights? Well, not just any LED lights can be used as grow lights for your indoor plants. The LED lights used for general usage are not ideal choices for growing your indoor plants due to their wavelengths. There are horticulture LED lights that are specifically created for growing and farming of the plants that produces the correct wavelengths that can be utilized by most of the plants.
The most important aspect of LED grow lights is its energy efficiency. Without producing much heat, LED lights ensure that most of the energy it’s using to light up is being used to produce photons rather than heat. This ensures that the lights are giving out the same amount of light with the same intensity as other lights for a lot less energy. Approximately, LED lights are 60% more energy efficient than the average consumption of all the other types of grow lights combined. While its lack of heat can be considered a downside, it can also be considered beneficial when considering growing plants at warmer climates at a much lower running cost.
Above that, LED grow lights can be used to increase daylight hours, given that the farmer has more control over how much light of which spectrum, the plant is receiving. The lack of heat also means that the farmer can control the room temperatures better using other implements, giving the plants just the ideal conditions to make greater yield. This can result in the farmer being able to make the plant produce crops twice during one season cycle.
LED Grow Lights have a lifespan of over 50,000 hours, which is almost 2.5 times the lifespan of an HID grow light. Its longer lifespan can partially be attributed to its lower running temperatures. With its crazy lifespan, you can bet that you can keep on farming and growing for a lot longer than you can expect to with other types of grow lights.
Above all, with LED grow lights, you can control the exact amount of UV and IR radiation the plant is receiving. Choosing the correct color of the LED grow lights, you can provide the plant with the exactly right amount of UV and Infrared Radiation to help it grow healthy with the least amount of damage. This may, sometimes, be even better than using direct sunlight for plant growth.
However, even with all these advantages, they do have some major disadvantages. For one, they are much more expensive to buy than the other light sources. When you consider their lower running costs, in the long run, that isn’t such a bad deal. Even then, at an initial level, a farmer would be looking at a larger investment. If you’re looking to just farm for one season, it’s better to switch to its alternatives. But if you have a long-term plan, LED Lights are the way to go.
Apart from that, LED lights are directional light, meaning that they do not give a wide area coverage like HID lights would. LED lights, above that, may cause light pollution, creating a subtle blue light that may cause harm to the human eyes if exposed to it for extended periods of time. These lights are affected by temperatures, reducing their lifespans if the weather is too hot. Above all, LED lights may change their color with time, which may require a farmer to replace them even when their lifespan hasn’t run out, making them more expensive than the other options.
Even with all its disadvantages, LED grow lights advantages outweigh them, making them very great grow lights for your indoor farms. And given that the LED lights are recyclable, these can be used to only help the environment, growing greens and producing no wastes in the process.
Sulphur Grow Lights
Sulphur lamps are also known as Sulphur Plasma Grow Lights. These lights provide lights of full spectrum, with a perfect balance of all types of lights. They do not have any electrodes and work by inciting Sulphur Plasma using microwave radiation. This is a very efficient type of lamp and is one of the most modern inventions of Plasma Lighting(8).
However, they have some major problems as grow lamps that make them less feasible for practical use as a grow light. First of all, one 250 Watt unit, in the current market (as of 19th July 2019), costs around 1000 USD, making it one of the most expensive choices out there. Despite its power efficiency, this cost makes it very impractical as a grow light(9).
Above that, these kinds of lamps cannot provide the farmer with much control over what spectrum of light is being provided to the plants, limiting the yield of the crops and unlike LED Grow Lamps, these cannot be used to incite the plants to provide yield twice in one season.
The wavelengths produced by Sulphur Plasma lands are not optimum for the plant growth and given the cost of the lights, is definitely not worth the investment. However, it’s not all bad with the Sulphur Grow Lights; if it was, it wouldn’t have been worth a mention in this article. Sulphur plasma grow lights’ balanced light output makes it easy to use it as a grow light with little to no supervision. This makes it easy for even amateur growers to grow indoor plants.
So, if you’re new to indoor farming, but have enough money to invest behind your first set up, Sulphur Plasma Grow Lights would most likely be the best choice for you. But even then, as a beginner, one should brush up on one’s knowledge on the plant light requirements, so that one may avoid such expensive set ups altogether.
High Intensity Fluorescent Grow Lights
High Intensity Fluorescent Lights are great alternatives to HID grow lights. These lights use the same concept of Fluorescent lights, as such, uses a tube full of fluorescent gas between two electrodes. As electricity flows from one electrode to the next through mercury vapor, the gas emits photons, giving out light. Although, these lamps do require a starter to give it the initial strike for the fluorescent gas to light up, it lights up faster than the HID lamps, removing the need to heat up the whole light before lighting up(10).
Among other advantages it has over the HID lights, the lack of flickering, a lower operation noise, better color performance and more energy efficiency are to name a few. However, when it comes to the control over the amount of light from a specific spectrum, HIF lights are quite limited to say the least. For a long time, HIF lights were only good for growing plants in their vegetative states, much like Metal Hallide HID lights, however, there are not options available for growing plants in their later stages(11).
Apart from that, the lights contain mercury vapor, which makes it a bad choice if you’re looking for environmentally friendly alternatives such as LED. They have shorter life spans compared to the other lights on the list and produce quite a big amount of heat, making it a less viable choice for using at high temperature areas.
But HIF lights do offer a good range when it comes to shape, size and wattage and is much cheaper than LED if one is looking to create a beginner’s indoor set up for a much lower cost. But if we’re comparing Fluorescent Lights to LED lights, LED has HIF’s beat almost in all aspects.
Plasma Grow Lights (200)
Plasma Grow Lights, (such as Sulphur Grow Lights that we’ve already talked about) are essentially grow lights that use microwave radiation to create plasma and emit light. These types of lights tend to be very energy efficient, producing minimal heat. However, they do tend to be much more expensive than the other types of grow lights out there.
But the biggest advantages of these types of lights is their ability to emanate all the types of wavelengths away from the visible spectrum, meaning that they produce less light than you can see, but more light that the plants need for growth. Above that, these lights can produce output just like the LED but in a much more compact setting; One Plasma light can replace 200 LED grow lights in a set up(12).
Plasma Grow Lights can provide a wide area of coverage, making it easy to grow a lot of plants with fewer units of light in an area. However, they do tend to have a much higher carbon footprint than LED lights and thus might not be the best choice for you in you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option for your hydroponic setup. Even through all that, it still remains as a viable option.
Double-Ended Grow Lights (200)
Double-Ended Grow Lights aren’t exactly a type of grow light on their own, in the sense that, HPS, MH or any other type of Grow Light can be used in a Double-Ended Grow Light set up. The way it works is by using a single strand of wire material suspended in a closed location with an inert gas with the electricity being provided from both ends to incite the electrons in the material and generate heat and light in all directions(13).
This provides much brighter results and a greater area coverage than its single ended counterparts, but do provide even higher heat output, making it idea for colder climates. However, the tradeoff is that this leads to a much higher energy requirement, reducing its cost effectiveness in the long run. But given that you need lower number of units of DE lights for a large area, with more compact sizes, and them coming at much lower prices, the tradeoff is well within reason, making these a good choice whenever going for your first HID Grow Light set up.
But if you do live in a warm climate, using one of these might require you to use an additional air-conditioning set up to cool down your hydroponic room to keep the temperatures at check and provide maximum comfort to your plants.
What Type of Grow Light is the Best?
So far, we have discussed the different types of grow lights available for indoor plant growth. While nothing beats sunlight, sometimes people want to extend the growth season of plants and decide to grow their favorite plants inside their homes. The ideal grow light would be one that is efficient, lasts long, costs less and paves way for healthy plant growth(14).
While incandescent bulbs are the cheapest option, they are great only for a limited number of plants and is often used alongside natural sunlight. These bulbs produce a lot of heat and should be used cautiously, with a distance of at least two feet between the bulbs and plants to prevent damage. Fluorescent lights on the other hand are more popular and offer a greater light spectrum, but it works better for germinating and vegetative plants instead of flowering. These lights are comparably much safer as they produce less amounts of heat. These lights are more effective and versatile and also cost-effective.
While HID lights are extremely efficient, they can be expensive and operation costs are much higher. These lights are brighter. The MH types and HPS types are used in tandem, whenever required. MH is good for blue light emission which encourage vegetative development and leafy growth while the red hues of HPS promote budding and flowering. Thus, both types can be used in different phases of the plants whenever needed. In contrast, LED lights emit no heat, and save a lot of energy costs, all in the while producing temperature and intensity similar to sunlight. There really is no best option; you simply have to pick one based on your budget and needs.
Which Are Better: LED or HID Grow Lights?
This question bothers many indoor gardening enthusiasts. While HID has been successfully used for a prolonged period of time, LED has slowly caught up the game.
HID produces bright light with high intensity that can nourish the entire plant. Its initial cost is slightly lower compared to LED. The HID MH bulbs include UV light which is especially useful for plants during their budding phase. HPS is used for the later stages. For commercial growers who use large spaces, 1000W HIDs give perfect coverage, while much lower wattage can be used in homes. HID bulbs can be used alongside LED lights for fuller spectrum(15).
HID lights do have a few drawbacks. Long term running costs could bother you, as well as frequent changing of the bulbs. After a year, HID bulbs start degrading, as in their light intensity decreases. Both HPS and MH are changed sooner, which can be a difficult process when they are hanging over the plants. HPS creates so much heat, making it inappropriate and unsafe for small spaces or low rooms. Due to heat production and evaporation, water bills may be higher, and plants may require more nutrients than usual. HPS light intensity decreases every time the rays bounce off a surface, thus the plant may get less light than what the bulbs are producing. HPS produces more yellow and green light than needed, which is a waste of energy. Also, these bulbs contain toxic metals, making them environmentally unfriendly.
LED lights do not waste electricity and do not produce light that the plant does not need, thus it creates a precise spectrum to serve the plant’s needs. LED lights can be used for a full grow cycle of a plant and can be kept closer to the canopy of the plants because they produce less heat. This means LED lights are good for stealth growing. LED lights have high yield and PAR per watt and may last up to 100, 000 growth hours, without any major loss in light intensity. LED lights work amazing in greenhouses with additional sunlight, or can be dimmed in less sunny days, turned on or off. Powerful LED lights are more energy efficient since less water and less electricity (hence more cost-effective) is used compared to HID. The lights do not need changing or maintaining and contain no toxic metals.
LED lights may come with high initial cost but low running costs. These lights may cause the plant to undergo ‘light burn’ caused by excessive lighting. Other than these issues, it might seem that LED light is a better option. However, HID lights are more common and a bit cheaper, so it depends on your needs.
Are LED Grow Lights Cheaper to Run?
Cost is an important consideration when growing plants indoors, because it means extra expense and extra bills! Both water and electricity bills are affected. LED lights are gaining fast popularity among people growing plants at home. Despite their initial price being higher compared to HID lights, people are still rooting for LED lights because their maintenance costs in the long run are much cheaper(16). LED lights produce less heat, which means less evaporation, hence the plants can retain their essential nutrients and water. This also means that the plants would require less watering, hence lower water bills! Producing less heat also means that it is using up less electrical energy to create an intense amount of light, so your electricity bills can be spared.
When HID lights are used, especially during hot summers you might need to use fans and appropriate ventilation to cut the heat but this adds to the electricity bill. LED bulbs can be used for a longer period of time, and their light intensity does not even deteriorate much, which means LED lights do not require maintenance and changing. This makes use of LED lights cheaper long term. In fact, with LED lights 50-60% energy can be saved, assuming these lights are used 18 hours for flowering phase and 12 hours for vegetative phase.
LED lights involve use of chips, not bulbs, which produce a more specific spectrum of visible light. It has already been established that an LED light produces the same amount of intensity as a HID light, while saving at least 50% of the energy. HID lights have hoods and ballasts which can be annoying to maintain. LED lights are easy to install and don’t require changing in any phase of the plant. Changing bulbs is an additional cost that comes with HID lights. LED lights can be fine-tuned if you want to change spectrum; this control can come from any device. The design of an LED light is such that whatever heat is produced is directed away from the plants and up, so that the plants can grow under the right temperature conditions.
Do LED Grow Lights Require a Lot of Electricity?
As mentioned many times before, LED requirements are the best in terms of electricity consumption. Needless to say, that does not mean that a 250 Watt LED will be consuming much less electricity than a 250 Watt HPS HID Lamp. What it means is that, a 250 Watt LED, will essentially provide the same output as a 750 Watt HPS HID Lamp, in terms of solely the light output. If we’re considering the heat output of the systems, of course, the 750 Watt HPS HID lamps will be providing more.
But when we’re considering the lighting systems only (since heating can be handled with air-conditioners and heaters), it is apparent that LED can do much more than HID or any other types of lamps out there for the same amount of electricity. Approximately, farmers can get a yield of 0.5 grams of hemp for per wattage of electricity used behind lighting, when using an HPS HID Lamp as a grow light. However, a LED grow light can provide a yield of 1.5 grams or more for the same amount of power. That is almost 300% of the yield, making it far more efficient in terms of electricity consumption(18).
So, to answer the question: Do LED Grow Lights Require a Lot of Electricity? The answer would be, depends on the wattage of the lights. But if we ask, do LED lights provide better output for the same amount of electricity than the other kinds of grow lights – definitely times three. LED Lights are the best form of lights when it comes to strictly providing light to the plants. With a directional light, it might not look as bright as a HID light to the naked eye, but as a grow light, they definitely are more efficient in their work done to electricity consumed ratio.
How Much Does It Cost to Run a Thousand Watt LED Grow Light?
For good quality plants, you need good quality grow lights, and for indoor gardening, supplemental lighting is required. Utility costs are of huge concern, the extra expense of plant lights can add to that. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid extra costs and save energy. What you first need to look at is the amount you pay per kilowatt hour. For example, the rate could be $0.122 per kWhr. This rate is usually fixed as it consists of a basic charge, a PSCR renewable energy charge, system access distribution charge etc.
Then you need to consider the wattage of the light used. If four fluorescent bulbs have a total wattage of 160W and cover 4 feet, divide the wattage by 1000 and then multiply by your rate. The amount you get is the amount of cost to run the light per hour. If you can estimate the number of hours you are using the light you can calculate how much money is going behind grow lights per month. The same calculation can be used for HID and LED lights. However, HID use up quite a bit more power than LED, making them more costly to use at home. The type of HID used can also change costs(17).
If your rate per kWhr is $0.122 and your LED lights have a total wattage of 1000W then the amount of money you are spending on your LED lights is $0.122 per hour. For flowering plants, the number of hours you keep the lighting on could reach up to 12 hours and if that is the case then the cost per day is $1.464! This might not seem a lot, but if you keep up using 12 hours every day in a month, the total cost is $43.92. You can reduce costs by taking some simple steps. For example, you could provide appropriate nutrients, temperature and ventilation to the plants and use more efficient light bulbs that would emit more light and reduce energy consumption.
What Are the Best LED Grow Lights?
It might be difficult for you to choose the best light for your lovely plants, so we have made the task a lot simpler for your convenience. The King Plus 1200W LED grow light is our favorite. As the name suggests, the total power output is 1200W (120 pieces x 10W). It can produce a full spectrum of visible light which includes red, yellow, blue, white along with a bit of UV and IR, perfect for both flowering and vegetative phases of plants. Although the IR cannot be seen, it plays a crucial role for flowering and fruit stages. This spectrum is ideal for all kinds of indoor plants.
The 10W double chips are brighter and more efficient than the traditional 5W and 3W LED lights, and can maintain PAR/Lumen output and coverage well. The product comes with a long lifespan of 100, 000 hours. The light system can cover an area of 3.5 ft x 5.2 ft, but the lighting area and height of the lights can be adjusted according to plant environments. Simply plug and turn on the light, no other technical requirements! A power cord up to 6 feet in length and a hanging hook make for easy installation.
The product comes with an efficient cooling system. The thickness of the LED board is 3.0 mm, which is much larger than other lighting systems available in the market, and consists of holes for cooling. The glass and fans assist with convection and heat dissipation. Every piece of LED light has a measure of resistance so that each of them can work separately.
For vegetative plants, the recommended timings are 12 to 14 hours, and 9 to 12 hours for flowering stage plants. For fruiting plants, 7 to 8 hours is enough. A distance of 2 to 3.5 feet between the light source and plants is highly recommended. The light system is only suitable for indoor gardening and is not waterproof. Ensure the temperature is ambient, around 20 to 40 degrees Celsius. The light can be controlled by timer as well. When the light is working, as a precautionary measure do not look directly, because it is extremely bright.
Last but not the least, the product comes with a 3-year warranty. It has been designed and developed by professionals with solid research and manufactured within the company’s own factory. For any problems or assistance, their professional customer service can be contacted. If you are unhappy with the product, you can opt for money back within 30 days. For a fix, customers will get free shipping service within 180 days.
How to Determine Plant Grow Light Wattage?
Before we move on to the process of determining optimum grow light wattage, you first need to know what wattage is. Basically, wattage can give you a good approximation of how much grow light you will need for the amount of space your plants are covering in the grow area. For a successful grow, knowing the correct light intensity in a given area is important.
The number of watts that will be needed for good plant growth firstly depends on the type of plant. For example, tomatoes are high light plants and herbs and leafy vegetables are low light plants. Wattage also depends on the phase of growth the plant is currently in. Vegetative plants, flowering plants and seedlings all need different amounts of light. If you have a larger area, you will need more power and more light intensity(19).
An average LED light could draw 32 watts per 1 square foot for flowering plants. In comparison, a HID grow light can produce 40 watts per square foot. This means, using LED grow lights is better for energy saving. Around 38% of energy could be saved. However, energy saving depends on other factors as well. For example, if efficient ventilation and air conditioning systems are used for the appropriate amount of grow area coupled with ambient temperature could highly contribute to energy saving, even if you use a HID grow light. Efficiency differs among various LED grow lights. A more efficient light system will consume less energy to emit the same amount of light as a less efficient light system(20).
For vegetative plants, wattage needs to be reduced by 50% compared to flowering plants, because these plants require half of the light intensity. Keep in mind that few watts may mean less yield while more watts may produce more yield. However, it is still best to check manufacturer’s recommendations.
For a 1’ x 1’ area, 32 watts of LED light is needed, which is equivalent to around 40 watts of HID. For a 2’ x 2’ area, 128 watts of LED light is equivalent to up to 140 watts of HID grow light. Recommended wattage for a 6’ x 6’grow area is 1152 watts and 1200 watts for LED and HID lights respectively. These approximates will fare well, however, it is still best to check manufacturer’s recommendations(21).
Conclusion and Light Growing Tips
As a beginner in growing plants indoors, it’s important for the farmer to know the light requirements of a plants. But that’s not the only thing that they need to know and understand. There are some actually good beginner tips that we came up with that may help you with your first hydroponic garden, which we came up with after consulting with the experts in the field. So, when setting up an indoor farm, make sure to abide by the following:
- Know and learn the specific requirements of the plant that you’re growing, in terms of temperature, light spectrum requirements at different stages of growth, the type of soil and the distance the plants need to be planted. As a beginner, it’s better to use a sparse density to avoid complications.
- Understand that there’s no standard one-setup-fits-all solution to indoor gardening. Know that your hydroponic setup for growing roses wouldn’t likely be a good fit for growing hemp or cannabis. So, if you plan on changing your crop, you should consider the pros and cons of changing the whole set up and if it will be worth the investment or not. It’s better to consider the most profitable crop for planting and create your first setup accordingly if you’re looking to monetize your efforts. It’s better to stick to one plant than experiment.
- Ensure that you provide proper attention to your garden. Gardening might not be a full-time job, but it’s not a part-time effort either. It doesn’t matter how much or how little attention you give it, but it has to be on a daily basis with no shortcuts or cheat days. It requires consistent effort and monitoring to ensure a good yield from your crops. You cannot expect to skip a day of weeding or watering, nor think that your automatic watering system would be enough to keep your garden going indefinitely. Anyone who says otherwise needs to be ignored in this matter.
- Your plants are your babies, treat them with that much love and care. There has been numerous instances where research showed that plants indeed have feelings(22). Treating them with love and care will go a long way. Trust me.
Of course, these are just some tips and not a comprehensive guide to growing crops indoors. There are a lot of other factors into play, but these just mention the steps that many tend to overlook. And thus, they have to learn them the hard way and might have ended up wasting valuable time and money. But the most important aspect of indoor farming is definitely the lighting.
While you may use the same soil from outside, and same water that you use to water your plants outside, you cannot just carry the sunlight from outside in a bucket and pour it on a plant. So, the lights you use needs to be as close to simulating the sunlight as possible in order to grow your plants into healthy vegetation. So, we have this article to help you learn more about these lights, so that you may apply that knowledge properly in your next Hydroponic Setup.
Meta Description: Grow Lights are a necessity for an indoor farmer. But it’s important to weigh your options when shopping for one, in terms of their light spectrum and costs.