Cannabis needs light, just like all other plants do. If you’re an outdoor grower, you have ample sunlight to cover that need. Indoors, however, you will need to provide your plants with sufficient lighting to foster strong growth and bountiful harvests. But how do you pick the best cannabis grow lights and what do you need to know to find them? This blog sheds light on these crucial matters, so read on and get enlightened.
How Do You Pick The Best Cannabis Grow Lights?
No matter whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned grower, using the right kind of lighting is absolutely vital for your grow results. Lighting quality is a substantial factor determining successful development and yields of your plants. If you’re looking to buy cannabis grow lights, however, you’ll soon find out that there are lots of options to consider, with heaps of technical info to take in.
So how do you find your way in the confusing world of cannabis grow lights? Allow us to help you on your way with some useful grower tips.
First off, you’ll need to consider the various factors that influence your choice of the best cannabis grow lights. These include the costs of purchasing and using lamps, the surface of the room where you intend to grow, ventilation, and the various stages in the life cycle of your plants.
Costs Of Grow Lights
When you set out to find the perfect cannabis grow lights, you’ll soon notice how easy it is to spend a fortune on your equipment. It may be a good idea to determine your budget before you begin, so you’ll know what your spending limits are. Sure enough, there are lamps that will set you back less than 100 euros, but these are probably low-quality bulbs that are unlikely to produce the light spectrum you need. Still, there is no need to go for the most expensive equipment out there, either.
Consider how often you intend to harvest, and whether your grow goals make big investments worthwhile. In addition to the costs of purchasing lighting, you may want to take into account how much power your preferred lights will use.
In fact, energy consumption of your cannabis grow lights can weigh heavily on the overall costs of growing weed. HID bulbs such as xenon lights are relatively cheap to, but their energy use can still make them expensive on the long term. LED lights, by contrast, are more expensive to buy, but they are much more energy-efficient and usually last longer, making them more sustainable and more affordable in the long run.
How Many Cannabis Grow Lights Do You Need?
Before you set out to buy your cannabis grow lights, be sure to check how much space you have available in your designated grow room. The difference between a spare closet and a large basement grow room will affect your choices for appropriate cannabis grow lights.
If you grow on a small surface, you’re unlikely to need more than one or two lights. Larger spaces obviously require multiple lights with greater capacity. Pick equipment that matches your available floor surface. If you use lamps that get too hot or produce too much light, you run the risk of frying your plants.
Generally speaking, we can add that growing for larger yields calls for greater wattage of your cannabis grow lights. You could opt for multiple low-wattage lights, but chances are you’ll benefit more from fewer lamps with higher output.
You’ll often see grow rooms with walls covered in silvery foil. This is a smart way of increasing your lighting efficiency. The foil reflects the light, enabling it to hit the leaves from different angles. No matter which cannabis grow lights you choose, tricks like these are always worth considering.
Ventilation and air circulation are also factors to take into account when picking cannabis grow lights. What is the usual temperature, and how do drafts and air currents contribute to its climate? Does the room serve other purposes (i.e., is it also a bedroom)? That can be a factor if you use lights that generate lots of heat. Going for LED lights may be a smart move here, since they don’t emit much heat. If the room has a natural chill, heat-emitting lights may be a better choice instead.
The phases of the cannabis life cycle also determine which lights work best. Young plants in the vegetative phase need lighting with different wavelengths than flowering plants. It makes sense to consider these differences when choosing your cannabis grow lights.
The first stage of growth is the germination stage, right after your seeds pop. At this vulnerable stage, blue light is most effective just as it is throughout the remainder of the grow phase. Be careful with your fragile seedlings though: intense lighting or lamps that are too close to the plants can cause stretching problems.
Throughout the vegetative phase, cannabis plants mainly need light ranging in the blue end of the spectrum. This lighting spectrum is expressed in nanometres, representing the wavelengths of different frequencies. Throughout the growth phase, you’ll mostly need blueish light with wavelengths ranging between 400 and 500nm. This type of lighting encourages activity of leaf surface stomata, boosting the pace of photosynthesis and speeding up healthy growth.
This does not imply, however, that you can just use any random bulb and slap a blue filter over it. Be sure to check whether your intended cannabis grow lights can handle this part of the spectrum, and the ease with which you can switch from one part of the spectrum to the next.
By the end of the vegetative phase, you can gradually switch from blueish light to frequencies that approach the red end of the spectrum. This simulates the transition from spring to midsummer, when the days are starting to grow shorter in outdoor conditions.
Cannabis plants behave differently in the flowering phase than they do in the growth phase, which affects their respective needs when it comes to lighting. Out in the wild, the angle of sunbeams changes as the days shorten. Your plants will still need some amount of blue light at this point, but less than before, and they now start to long for more red and orange light in the spectrum they receive.
In grow rooms, that means gradually adjusting the lighting as you switch from growth to flowering, going from predominantly blue (400 – 500nm wavelengths) to red. This ranges around 600 – 700nm wavelengths. This switch stimulates development of trichomes filled with cannabinoids to improve the potency of your buds, while also promoting the growth of the flowers themselves. Good news for your harvest prospects, that is!
Different Types Of Cannabis Grow Lights
There’s all sorts of cannabis grow lights out there, but we will only discuss the three most common types here. Most of the other lighting options are variations of the types we mention, although new kinds are launched occasionally, too. The summary provided below will make it much easier for you to pick your best option, however.
If you decide to choose LED cannabis grow lights, you know you are making a sustainable choice. Even though these cannabis grow lights are more expensive to purchase, they come with some serious benefits to compensate. Light yield is just as good as that of HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting, but they use considerably less power to achieve it.
In addition, LED cannabis grow lights hardly emit any heat. This reduces the amount of water you will need for your pants due to lower evaporation, and you will need to use fans less often as there is less heat to expel.
All things considered, LED lighting ranks high among the best choices for cannabis grow lights, especially since they save power while your plants grow. That makes LED lights the sustainable option: good news for the environment as well as for your wallet now that energy prices keep soaring skywards.
HPS Cannabis Grow Lights
Many growers agree that technically speaking, HPS (High Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) bulbs are the best cannabis grow lights. This type of lighting comes with pleasantly low purchasing costs. They are generally available in a 150 to 1150 watts power range; however, when growing for personal needs, 400 watts will usually suffice.
HPS bulbs do emit lots of heat, however, which you will have to take into account. Make sure to maintain a minimum distance between your lamps and your plants that measures 10% of your wattage in centimetres. If, for instance, you have a 400 watt bulb, you should keep it at least 40cm away from your canopy.
One advantage of HPS cannabis grow lights is their suitability for both the vegetative and flowering stages due to the broad spectrum of the light they emit. MH lamps, by contrast, shout only be used in he veg stage. A big drawback of HPS lighting is its high energy use. In addition, they require ballasts to function properly. You will need some technical skill to install these.
Fluorescent Cannabis Grow Lights
Fluorescent cannabis grow lights make up the last category discussed here. These include T-Neon, energy-saving bulbs, and TL tubes. They are commonly used for young plants, but if you make sure they have the right lighting spectrum, you could also use them in the flowering phase.
The benefits of these lights is their low heat signature combined with low costs and modest power use. The light they admit does not reach very far, however. That means you will have to keep them close to your canopy, risking heat stress and other problems. Not your ideal cannabis grow lights, then.
If you choose fluorescent lights, pay close attention to their colour coding. It should be stated on the package, and the final two digits denote the colour temperature. You will need colour temperatures between 4,500 and 6,500 Kelvin for the grow phase, and 2,100 to 2,700 Kelvin for flowering.
Putting Those Cannabis Grow Lights To Work
Hopefully, the information provided above helps you pick the best cannabis grow lights for your own situation. After all, lighting is essential for growth and flowering, as well as for your harvest yields. Take the time to find the right equipment, making sure that you pick the best match for your own unique grow setup.
Of course, good lighting alone will not get you where you want to be. Even the best cannabis grow lights aren’t much use if they don’t shine on premium quality cannabis genetics. Fortunately, you have come to the right place to order and grow the finest strains with the best yields and most potent effects!
Be sure to check our other Grow Blogs for more useful information, to make the most out of every seed you grow!