Here are the top 10 grow light FAQs we receive here at Hydrobuilder.com.
When people are starting to grow their own gardens indoors, they soon realize that they will need to have a way to provide light to their plants. Fortunately, there are many different types of grow lights on the market today. However, those who are new still tend to have quite a few questions about grow lights. The following are 10 of the most frequently asked grow light questions.
Do I Really Need Grow Lights?
Some people wonder if they really need to have special grow lights for their indoor gardens. Since those gardens are not able to enjoy natural sunlight, they are going to need to have specialized light that will allow them to grow and perform photosynthesis. Grow lights are needed for those who want their plants to live and thrive.
What Are the Different Types of Grow Lights?
Many different basic types of grow lights are available for growers today. The type that you choose will depend on a range of factors, including what you are growing, as well as how much you are growing and the amount of space you have. The most commonly used grow lights today include fluorescent lights, LED lights, and HID lights including metal halide and high-pressure sodium lights.
How Long Should I Run the Grow Lights?
While your plants certainly need to have a substantial amount of light to do well, those plants are also going to need to have a dark period, as well. This is how it works in the natural world, and you will want to replicate that as best as possible with your grow lights. Most of the time, plants are going to grow quite well when they have 12 hours of light a day. However, there are also plants that could use a bit more light – about 16 hours a day. Know the types of plants you are growing and what amount of light they will typically get and try to replicate that. Also, watch the plants to get an idea of whether they might need more or less light.
Do All Grow Lights Need a Ballast?
All grow lights do need to have a ballast, as this is what will allow them to power up. You will find that the LED and fluorescent lights tend to have their ballasts already built into them, so you will not have to worry about buying additional hardware if you are using this lighting option. However, the HID lights – metal halide and high-pressure sodium – are going to need an additional ballast. You can buy these separately, or you can find kits that come with the ballasts that you can use.
Should I Consider a Grow Light Mover?
If you would like to make sure your plants are getting as much light as possible, and you want to make the process as simple on yourself as possible, a grow light mover can be a great addition to your system. These will have a rail and a motor system where you can hang the lights, and then the lights will automatically move back and forth to provide your plants with the ideal amount of light coverage. They are an added expense, but many believe them to be well worth the cost.
What Is the Color Rendering Index?
The color rating index is a measurement of just how accurately a light source can illuminate the true colors of an item. Having a high CRI rating means that you know exactly what color the lights you choose are emitting, which ties in with the next question.
What Color Is Best for Vegetative and Flowering Stages With Grow Lights?
Different colors on the light spectrum are important for different stages of a plant’s life. While you can find full spectrum lights that are capable of providing everything a plant needs, you will find that some types of lights, such as HID lights, have specialties. The metal halide lights that fall into this category, for example, produce a blue light. This is good for plants when they are in their vegetative state. The HPS lights emit a reddish light, which is better for the plants when they are in a flowering state.
Can a Grow Light Reflector Really Help?
You want to make the most out of the light emitted by your bulbs, naturally. Much of that light is lost if you are not using a quality grow light reflector. They can help to make your setup far more efficient, and they are highly recommended.
What Wattage Grow Light Should Be Used?
The “best” wattage will depend on the type of plants you are growing, along with the amount of space you have for the grow room. However, there are some simple rules of thumb that you can remember. For a 2’x2’ space, you will need 250W. A 4’x4’ space will need between 400W and 600W. A larger 8’x8’ space will need to have about 1,000W. Again, be sure you understand what the particular types of plants you are growing need to thrive.
What Is Needed to Get Started?
First, you need to make sure you have a plan, and that you know about the types of plants you are considering growing. When it comes to the hardware, you will need to have a lamp and socket assembly, a ballast, a reflector, your grow lights, and a means of hanging the grow lights.
Keep learning about grow lights and how to make your plants the healthiest they can be. Experiment with different options until you find out what works best for you.