Grow lights can be defined as artificial lights whose sole purpose is to enhance the growth of plants throughout the year. They come in different light intensity and color spectrum options to ensure that the requirements of different plants are covered.
They are crucial when it comes to gardening and they allow plants to have enough light even when indoors where they do not have access to natural light.
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Grow lights work by producing protons from electrical energy. Protons are the light particles responsible for encouraging plant growth and stimulating photosynthesis. If you want to get the best sources of light for your plants, you need to make sure that you have different wavelengths.
The human eye perceives these wavelengths as colors. However, always make sure that you choose the right color for your plants. For instance, blue light is good for vegetative growth while red light is good for flowering plants and fruiting.
Using Grow Lights
Getting the right grow lights is not the only thing that you should do, you should also make sure that you are using them in the right way. For instance, when doing large-scale indoor gardening, you not only need to make sure that you have the right commercial grow lights but also use them the right way. To get started;
- Choose the right equipment: The first step is choosing a style of light that will work with your herb garden or houseplants. HID and fluorescent grow lights will need the use of ballasts for electrical output regulation. The best option for almost every other indoor plant is full-spectrum lights. Those that have a larger garden should use a large grow lamp and a reflector.
- Set Up The Lights: Now that you have bought the equipment that you need, it is time to set up the lights. The lighting level you are going to choose should be dictated by the type of plants you have in your garden. Even though you will find some plants doing extremely well in low light conditions, most of them, especially flowering and succulent plants, require a lot of light.
- Ensure That The Light Temperature is Monitored: You need to be very careful with your grow lights since some of them have the capability of burning your houseplants. This depends on the wattage of the lights. Incandescent lights should be placed about two feet from the plants while HID and fluorescent lights twelve inches from the plants. Even if you have kept the lights a distance from your plants, make sure that you have monitored the temperature near the plants to ensure that it is conducive for the plants’ growth.
- Use a Timer: Just like the plants that rely on sunlight for their growth, your indoor plants should also experience a normal dark and light cycle for a successful production. To enforce this, you can set a timer to ensure that the light they are getting is regulated. Most people recommend up to sixteen hours of light and darkness for the rest.
Types of Grow Lights
There are different types of grow lights for you to choose from. The one that you settle on should be dictated by the type of plants you are growing. The most common types of grow lights include;
- Incandescent grow lights: These are among the cheapest types of grow lights you can find in the market today. However, you need to be careful if you choose to use them. This is because they produce a lot of heat that, if you are not careful, can burn your plants. They also burn out quickly and use a lot of energy.
- Fluorescent grow lights: These lights come in different forms. The most common ones are compact fluorescent lights or CFL and tube lights. Just like the incandescent grow lights above, these lights are not efficient when it comes to energy efficiency and produce a significant amount of heat that can harm your plants.
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID) grow lights: HID grow lights are known for their ability to imitate natural light than any of the grow lights discussed here. Unfortunately, they are among the most expensive types of grow lights and are best used for commercial purposes. They are classified into two – ceramic metal halide best used for seedlings due to their blue color and high-pressure sodium which is known for their red color.
- LED grow lights: These are the most common types of grow lights and are most preferred compared to other grow lights due to their long lifespan. They are also efficient when it comes to energy consumption and their heat output is moderate – it does not do any harm to your plants. They are also classified into two – LED fixtures and LED bulbs.
Things to Pay Attention to When Using Grow Lights
The Right Color
Sunlight has the entire light spectrum. This includes all the rainbow colors. This means that it offers the best source of light for plants. Just like the plants relying on sunlight, you need to make sure that your indoor plants have the right color by using full-spectrum bulbs. These bulbs produce a balanced warm and cool light that tries to mimic the sunlight.
The Right Intensity
The intensity of light received by a plant is dictated by the plant’s closeness to the light and how bright the source of the light is. You need to know the do’s and don’ts of indoor plants and their requirements because different plants require different intensities of light. You, therefore, need to make sure that you are getting the right light intensity from your grow lights.
The Right Duration
Finally, you need to know the right amounts of light that your plants need every day. It does not matter the kind of plants you are growing, they all do not need light throughout the day and night. You need to understand that plants need darkness to respirate.
It, therefore, means that you need to balance the time you have the lights on and the time when the lights are off. This is important as it affects different processes such as buds and fruit set as well as the rate of growth of the plants.
Grow lights are important for those people who grow plants indoors. They play a very important role in the success of the plants. You, however, need to be careful when choosing the grow lights to use. Your choice should be dictated by the type of plants you are growing and their requirements.