Hydroponic Grow Lights - Choosing the One for You
By Martha Cadwell
While they can be easily grown with the absence of soil, hydroponic plants still need two other things to survive - water and light. Thanks to the developments in agricultural technology, plants no longer need to be placed in areas that receive adequate light from the sun. Growers and hobbyists can either choose from LED (light emitting diode) grow lights, HPS (high pressure sodium lights, or MH (metal halide) lights. Although there are other lighting alternatives out there, these three are the most popular among hydroponic gardeners.
A Look at the History of Hydroponics
Contrary to popular belief, hydroponics' origins are actually very old. Before the term was even coined, ancient cultures have already practiced a rough version of this growing technique. It's even said that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are in fact, one of the oldest known hydroponic gardens.
Hydroponic technology however, only took off in the 19th century, after researchers found out that plants absorbed mineral nutrients in the form of inorganic ions in water, which essentially meant that they did not need any soil at all.
Light Still Important
While hydroponic gardening provides growers and hobbyists the ability to grow plants, fruits and vegetables inside the comforts of their homes and without the mess that comes with soil, lighting is still very necessary. In order for photosynthesis to occur, plants need all the light they can get. Hydroponic lights act as an alternative to sunlight, and also allow hydroponic gardens to be placed virtually anywhere in your home. As mentioned earlier, you have a number of choices when it comes to hydroponic lights, each one with its share of pros and cons. Each light is aimed at gardeners with different needs, so it's best to determine your lighting requirements before making any choices.
Which Light is for you?
From the 3 main hydroponic lights, which is the right one for you? Metal halide lamps are miniaturized versions of the streetlights littered along streets and freeways. Despite their small size, they boast of a lot of power without eating up your electric bill. Unfortunately, you might have to spend more on the special fixtures needed by these lights.
High pressure sodium lights are specifically designed for mature plants that are at the flowering stage. Despite using little energy, HPS lights are very powerful-they also last long. However, because HPS lights produce higher lumens, they also generate more heat. Be ready to install fans and hoods to cool down your garden.
LED lights are prized for their power-saving qualities. These bulbs consume the least electricity, and produce little, to no heat at all. For plants that require warm environments, LEDs are not recommended. If you prefer to go the LED way, be ready to cough out cash to install more lights.
These days, hydroponic lights are the best and most flexible lighting solutions for hydroponic plant growth.
Other Indoor Gardening Articles
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Benefits of Organic Liquid Fertilizer
LED Grow Lights - Advantages
Cut Your Energy Bill With LED Grow Lights
Using CFL Grow Lights - Best Practices
Benefits of Hydroponic Herb Gardening