How to hang your grow lights
The very first thing to always remember is that the grow lights are not going to remain static throughout the growing process. Meaning, they’re going to have to be raised as the plants mature.
Use adjustable hangers for all grow lights
The use of adjustable hangers provides the flexibility to easily raise or lower the lights as needed. If you start off with adjustable you’re going to save yourself a lot of headaches moving lights around later.
Hanging grow lights isn’t all that complicated provided you keep a few simple things in mind. There are four basic rules to properly hanging your new grow lights.
- Light placemen
- Lamp height
- Bulb heat proximity
- Light bending
Let’s explore these a little deeper.
Grow Light Placement
Grow light placement depends a lot on what you’re specifically doing. Seedling and cuttings placement is much different from mature plant requirements. In all cases, however, you want to place your lights directly over the growing area.
Good plant health depends on the light intensity they receive.
Lamp height varies on the intended use
Always remember that there is no one-height-fits-all when it comes to grow lights. You’re going to be adjusting the light height as the plants mature.
Seedlings and cuttings require a more intense, concentrated light source so lights do need to be placed closer. When it comes to seedlings or cuttings you generally want a light height of about 2”-3” inches above the plants.
The exception to this rule are heat producing HID or MH lighting. You want to avoid stressing seedlings or cuttings by creating hot spots, so you will want to go a bit higher depending on the amount of heat produced.
LED lighting units don’t produce a lot of heat so there is no problem placing them closer.
Mature plants require a different height and again, this depends on the specific type of growing you’re engaged in. Most indoor growers prefer a height as close to plants as possible because this will produce a squat, fatter plant.
The rule of thumb for other plants Is to manually raise the lights so that the rays produced cover as many flats as possible without diffusing outward. Generally speaking, the appropriate height is about 2’-3’ feet above the trays or pots.
Grow Light Intensity
The light intensity really depends upon what wattage of bulb or combination of bulbs you’re using. A 1,000-watt HID bulb is going to produce a lot of heat and create some hot spots with a lot of intensity if you place it too close.
A better route to reduce this is a 400-watt/600-watt combination. This way you’re producing the same 1,000-watts but diffusing by breaking it down into two bulbs. By doing this you are able to place lights closer to utilize the intensity to its fullest.
Grow Light Heat Proximity
We rather covered this under some of the other categories, but it merits mentioning again. Remain cognitive of the amount of heat your chosen grow lights produce. A simple way to test for hot spots is to place a hand at the height the plants will be.
If its too hot for you, it’s too hot for the plants and adjust your lights accordingly.
Light bends and the higher the light the more it’s going to want to spread outward. A grower has to watch for this as they adjust their grow lights. The idea is to bend and concentrate the light to maximize flat or plant exposure while not wasting light by permitting it to bend outward.
This is where the winged grow light reflectors come in very handy. The wings can be adjusted to bend the light downwards toward the plants where it is most needed.
Hanging grow lights using movers and reflectors
The main point to keep in mind when hanging grow lights using a grow light mover is that you still need an adjustable hanger. These lights are going to need to be raised or lowered depending on the height of the plants.
There are some great commercial adjustable hangers on the market or you can simply use a length of light chain to move the lights up or down.
Reflectors are another great help when hanging lights. They can help focus the light where it is most needed and can be adjusted to further diffuse the light as the plants mature and grow.
As we mentioned at the beginning, we wish there was a magic formula for a consistent method for hanging grow lights but that simply isn’t possible given the uniqueness of each growing environment and the very nature of plants.
The best anyone can do is provide some factors that need to be considered which will offer some guidance as you determine exactly what is going to work for your specific needs.