Indoor Grow Lights And Light Spectrums For Plant GrowthAuthor: Susan Slobac
Hydroponic gardening is a popular method of indoor gardening that can be used in everything from large commercial greenhouses to apartments. There is certain equipment necessary for hydroponic gardening, which usually includes some type of reservoir to hold the nutrient solution, an aerating pump to keep the fluid moving around and oxygenated, and a means for holding the plant crowns above the solution.
Another major component are appropriate indoor grow lights. There are a wide variety of hydroponic lights available to help your plants to photosynthesize, grow and mature.
The Light Spectrum And What It Means To Indoor Plants
When plants are grown outdoors, they rely on sunlight to provide them with a full light spectrum range. Because there is not enough sunlight available indoors, hydroponic lights are used to imitate what the sun's light spectrum can do for plants.
Seedlings need light in the blue spectrum in order to grow properly. Mature plants that are ready to reproduce and form flowers and fruits require light in the red and orange spectrum. There are certain spectrums that a plant cannot use, such as the green light spectrum, so light bulbs with that spectrum are wasted on plants. Both of these spectrums, plus others, are readily available in sunlight. With hydroponic lights, though, this is not always the case. Many indoor grow lights are created with a focus in one particular spectrum, usually either red or blue, while others are full-spectrum grow lamps appropriate for all stages of plant growth. What this means is that if you are growing seedlings on to maturity, you may need to have different hydroponic lights on hand in order to give them the appropriate light spectrum they need when they need it.
Differences in Hydroponic Lights
•MH Lights: MH stands for metal halide. These grow lights put out a lot of light for their compact size, which makes them powerful and efficient. Because of this high output, however, they do require special fixtures for their proper function. MH lights will often have a boosted red spectrum, but are also available as full spectrum and blue spectrum bulbs.
•HPS Light: These grow lights are very effective at producing the red light spectrum. They also boast a long life of up to two years of use. Like the MH bulbs, the HPS light also produces a very bright light. These bulbs burn hot, and thus air-cooled reflectors and ducting are needed to keep them from overheating.
•LED Grow Lights: Although usually more expensive on the initial purchase price, these grow lights offer many benefits and superior lighting to the other lights. They are very lightweight, a factor when lights are hung overhead, and they produce a brighter light than the other grow lights. LED grow lights cost less to run because they use much less electricity than other grow lamps, and they offer both the red and blue light spectrums in the same bulb.
Any of these hydroponic lights could be an appropriate choice for your hydroponic system, depending on plant growth stages and budget.