Hydroponic Grow Lights: Choosing the Best Hydroponic Grow Lights

Monday, Mar 24, 2014

Choosing what kind of hydroponic grow lights you will use for your grow system is one of the most important decisions you will make as a hydroponic grower. Photosynthesis, the process by which your plants will process nutrients and grow, relies entirely upon the availability of quality light. Choose the right light, and you will enjoy a faster harvest and a bigger yield time after time. Choose poorly, and you will most likely see your plants struggling.

Here are the four most common hydroponic grow lights used in modern gardens, and the benefits of each.

Fluorescent Grow Lights– Fluorescent lights are typically used in smaller or amateur gardens, and are extremely limited in their usefulness. Since they only produce white light and are low intensity, they can’t deliver the range of light needed for most plants to grow to their potential. They are therefore only really useful on seedlings and clones. Since they do not give off much heat, they can be placed as close to the plant as you’d like, but most hydroponic professionals recommend a distance of between four to six inches. Fluorescent grow lights are typically very inexpensive, but their bulbs must be replaced frequently, which can add up to much more cost over time.

High Intensity Discharge Grow Lights– Because they offer a broader range of colors on the light spectrum, and thus more closely imitate natural sunlight, High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are much more appropriate for general hydroponic growing. They do, however, produce a great deal of heat, which may require purchasing cooling fans to keep your plants safe.

There are two kinds of high intensity discharge lights: metal halide grow lights and high-pressure sodium grow lights. Metal halide lights can emit light on the blue end of the spectrum, and are more ideal for the vegetative stage of plant growth, while high-pressure sodium lights emit light on the red end of the spectrum and are more commonly used for the flowering stage. High-pressure sodium grow lights are also ideal for use on fruit bearing plants and vegetables.

LED Grow Lights– A LED (Light Emitting Diode) light emits illumination through processing a current in one terminal and out another, forming a simple semiconductor. March 24, 2014