Grow lights are basically manufactured to instigate plant cultivation through sending out an electromagnetic spectrum that is used for photosynthesis. Artificially similar to sunlight, grow lights serve to create alfresco environmental conditions; the difference lies in the fact that the power of these lights can be controlled. In addition to the ability to vary the light’s temperature, a luminous impact and flexibility in adjusting color temperatures is what makes them an appropriate source of energy for cultivating plants.
Discussed below are three prominent types of grow lights that are known to be the most effective for hydroponics. These are fluorescent grow lights, metal halide (MH) grow lights, and high pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights. Before preceding however, a word of caution: it is always best to place your plants at an adequate distance from the grow lights, in order that they are not deprived from its impact as it moves out of the bulb.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Usually used for cultivating clones and seedlings, the good news about fluorescent grow lights that they can be set as close to your plants as you desire, without running the risk of burning them. For best results, the distance between these lights and your plants should be approximately 18 inches. It is also suggested that these grow lights be used optimally in order to reap rich and healthy plant yields.
Metal Halide Grow Lights
Like fluorescent grow lights, metal halide grow lights are usually used in the premature or vegetative phase of plant cultivation. The difference here, though is, that these lights need to be kept at approximately 12 to 18 inches away from atop the plants, as they become inflamed enough to burn the plants! Additionally, caution needs to be exercised when it comes to the size of these MH lights – the larger they are, they further should they be placed from the tops of the plants. On a more positive note, MH grow lights result in taller plant yields, approximately 24-26 inches, and the rate of plant growth is also more rapid than is the case with fluorescent lights.
High Pressure Sodium Grow Lights
High Pressure Sodium Grow Lights are generally more beneficial during the bloom stage of plant cultivation, used to grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Like MH lights, HPSG grow lights can also cause plants to burn, so again, it is best to place your plants at a distance of at least 12 to 18 inches away from their pressure; as well, the size of these lights matters as to how close or how where you place your plant tops to avail their energy.
It should be borne in mind that when plants blossom and reach the flowering stage, much more light is needed for them to grow at an adequate quality. In quantitative term, this generally means that the fruits, vegetables, and flowers should develop to a size of about 12 to 36 inches on the top of your plants.
Concluding words of caution:
Prior to investing in and using grow lights, it would be well worth being considerate of factors such as their heat generating capacity (too powerful or too light are virtually useless as your plants could either get burnt, or not grow as well as they should. Additionally, you should also determine the amount of electricity these lights use; remember, that in addition to lights, you are also going to need to use water, and it is very important to be careful to remain safe from any harm when using both these sources for your gardening activities. Be sure to read up on any literature that comes with the grow lights, you may find the necessary safety precautions stated above!