The Best Grow Lights for Growing Marijuana Indoors
If a grower has plans to grow their cannabis plants indoors, they have likely looked at the various lighting options currently available. Most growers will have their own, personal preferences related to grow lights, and have likely received advice regarding the right setup for a lighting system. However, a question that all growers must face is what setup is right for their plants and their needs?
Here it is possible to learn more about indoor grow lights and what to consider when setting up an inside growing system. This includes customization options, along with helpful tips that are beneficial for any lighting system.
Taking time to learn about light cycles to produce healthy marijuana plants is crucial for every grower. Read on to learn more.
The Marijuana Light Cycle
A crucial factor and one that is easy to control that contributes to cannabis growth is light cycles. Like any other plant, cannabis relies on light as the foundation of the photosynthesis process. This is the process used by plants to produce energy and food for sustained growth. In natural conditions, cannabis would follow the specific seasons in the growing environment. The plant would germinate, grow, flower, and then produce new marijuana seeds as the environment around it changed.
The changes that can affect a plant and its stage of growth include changes in light exposure, temperature changes, and changes in the relative humidity. A crucial factor is always going to be the light available, however, particularly the cycles that occur with the light. The cycles of dark and light are equivalent (roughly) to the total hours of daylight and night in 24 hours.
Usually, a cannabis plant will receive more light while in the vegetative phase, and equal amounts of darkness and light while in the flowering stage. Marajuana seeds are often germinated during the spring, while the total hours of sunlight start to increase. The plant will continue to grow until the days become shorter in the fall.
At some point, the shorter days will indicate the coming of winter, and the plants will begin the flowering process, so they can reproduce and pass their genes to the next generation. When the days are at the longest, the plant has the energy and time to grow a sturdy structure, which prepares it to support the sticky, dense buds. Remember, though, this is how things work in nature. Now, with the large array of growing techniques and the artificial growing systems in place, these natural cycles may be modified and recreated. If a grower wants to ensure their pot seeds become strong and healthy plants, mimicking the natural day and night light cycles is imperative.
As mentioned above, growers can utilize the way plants grow and develop in a natural environment. The grower will essentially “hack” the plant, so it performs in a designated manner. One technique commonly used is referred to as “forcing.” This occurs when a plant that has been exposed to very long days (this means a period of light that lasts for 18 to 24 hours) and then switching the exposure to light to just 12 hours. By creating this change from springtime to summertime, the method will cause the trainwreck plant to move into the flowering cycle quickly. With this high sensitivity to changes in the light cycles and exposure to light, it makes it possible for growers to grow their cannabis plants easily.
If a person is growing pure sativa cannabis seeds, they should know these are not as sensitive to changes in the light as other varieties. That’s because this class of cannabis originates from tropical regions around the globe. Usually, the relationship between day and night is much more stable in these tropical areas, and the changes are minimal from one season to another. This is one of the main reasons that cannabis sativa is bigger than some of the other strains. It takes up to five full months to reach maturity. Since this strain is so large before it flowers, it isn’t as common for indoor growers to use the pure sativa strain. While this is the case, it is possible to use hybrids without issues.
If a grower is growing feminized or og kush regular seeds outside, they need to understand the zone they are growing in and ensure the climate meets the specifications of the strain. It’s easy for a Sativa strain to be hurt or die in colder weather before it can flower or mature if it is grown outside of the native zone. This effect can be reduced somewhat by using a greenhouse.
It’s a good idea for each grower to research light cycles. Each cannabis strain will react uniquely to different stimuli. The bottom line here is that the light cycle is crucial to the final product that is harvested. If a cannabis plant gets the right amount and level of light in the proper cycles, the plant will grow and thrive. A cannabis plant will flower when the ratio of dark to light is equal, and they stop flowering when periods of darkness are interrupted with light.
More Light Produces More Cannabis
Whether cannabis is grown inside or outside, it must have a quality source of light. When more light is present, it means more marijuana is produced. If plants are grown in nature, they use light produced by the sun. After all, this is what makes photosynthesis possible. Through this process, a plant can convert energy into usable oxygen and glucose. Also, photosynthesis splits oxygen from hydrogen and will then combine with glucose and oxygen.
The fuel of the plant is glucose. This chemical provides the power for the basic growing and building functions that transform marajuana seeds into smokable flowers. The plants being grown require a lot of light to produce this, and, in broad terms, the more light, the better. Something growers need to remember is to make sure the rest of the environment is balanced with the light being applied. It’s necessary to monitor humidity, temperature, and the levels of carbon dioxide present in the air. Along with this, plants need proper nutrients along with enough water.
As a grower, the goal is to produce a yield of high-quality buds. Part of what determines if this is possible is the amount of light the plants receive. Cannabis is particularly receptive to heavier lighting, and the lumens present will impact the size and quality of the flowers.
It’s a good idea to have a minimum of 30K lm per every 10 square feet of space in the grow room. When proper balancing is achieved in the environment, it’s possible to go up to 80K lm for every 10 square feet of space. However, avoid this unless a grower has the time to devote money and energy to ensuring the environment is tweaked and altered, as needed.
The buds (a.k.a. flowers) of a cannabis plant are made up of the leaf, the calyx, and the stalk. If a plant receives plenty of light, it will focus on producing calyces, rather than making flowers. The reverse is true, as well. If a plant doesn’t get enough light, more energy is devoted to growing leaves, and growers will wind up with a subpar harvest. That’s because the plant is working to compensate for the reduced amount of light by growing new leaves to absorb sunlight.
The spectrum of light plants receive will affect growth significantly. The sun has a full spectrum, but it is possible to control the light types being used in the grow room to achieve the desired effects. Photosynthesis and chlorophyll related reactions are still stimulated by the blue, red, and orange parts of the spectrum. The phototropism process is controlled by colors that range from blue to ultraviolet. The plant uses this process so it can grow into the best position possible to capture the needed light.
An important rule to remember about cannabis cultivation and light is that the red spectrum of colors creates the right environment for flowering, and a blue spectrum of colors helps promote plant growth.
The periods (also called cycles) when a grower’s plant receives light is also a crucial element. When the gorilla glue #4 or girl scout cookies fem plant is growing, it needs to receive approximately 18 hours of light for every six hours of dark. When the plant is ready to flower, it is best to use 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness.
One of the best aspects of growing indoors is that growers have complete control over the light the plants are exposed to. They can choose how often it will be dark and how often it will be light. While this is true, it’s necessary to remain mindful of the right balance to ensure plants can thrive.
Getting to Know the Different Light Options
For individuals who choose to grow indoors, they need to determine the best way to set up their grow lights. There are several options to choose from for any lighting system and many options. Lighting systems typically vary based on the technology used, spectrum color, and intensity of the light. Usually, the determining factor is the size of the grow room, electrical needs, and the amount of money and time a person will invest in lighting the area.
When selecting a light system, determine the amount of light needed. Once known, compare that to the amount of light that can be provided to the plants realistically. If a person lives in an older house or if they are using an older building for growing that has direct current, the amount of light produced will be minimal. Remember to be realistic and that lights used for growing cannabis indoors will use a lot of power.
With lighting, there are several options. Some growers disagree about what lights are the best, but there is a specific light type for each phase of growth. It is up to each grower to determine how much they want to spend for the lights used in their grow house.
CFL Fluorescent Lights
In the past, these lights were used to simulate the sun. Today, though, these lights are expensive, and many of them are needed to recreate the light produced by the sun. Also, many different fluorescent lights are needed to recreate the full spectrum of natural light.
Today, growers use fluorescent lights for plants that are very sensitive to heat. This usually applies to seedlings and cuttings in early growth stages.
High-Intensity Discharge Lights (HID)
Originally produced for use in stadiums and arenas, HID lights are very powerful and used for many plants, besides cannabis. They do work well for cannabis, though. There are several options, including sodium vapor light, metal halide, and mercury. However, mercury isn’t an option because the light-producing capacity of these bulbs is much too low.
Metal Halide Lights (MH)
These create light by sending an electric current through a mix of mercury gas and metal iodide. The light produced offers the ideal color spectrum for the cannabis plant’s growing phase. It is excellent for the production of foliage.
High-Pressure Sodium Vapor Lights (HPS)
These lights produce the right color range for cannabis plants during the flowering phase. They work like other HID lights and emit a dull pink glow that transforms into an orange-pink color once the bulbs warm up.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
This is a low voltage, low heat option that many growers prefer. These lights are also much quieter than other options on the list. However, not all bulbs are the same, so find a quality option before using them.
The Best Light System
This is very subjective. The best system for one grow house may not be the best for another. Growers must consider the space they are using and the type of plants they are growing to find the right light system that will produce the highest quality plant. With the information here, making this decision should be simple, and the plants grown should be strong and high-quality.