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Growing Cannabis with Infrared light

Apr 23, 2020
Types of Lights

Should You Use Infrared Lighting in Your Grow Room?

In the cannabis industry, there’s a great deal of controversy surrounding IR (infrared) light and its effects on plant health. Because infrared light can’t be seen with the naked eye, many growers believe it has no benefits. That’s why some question whether it should be used in cultivation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what infrared light is, how it is used in grow lighting, and how it may help your cannabis seeds to grow, survive, and thrive.

Infrared Light: What Is It and What Does It Do?

A little less than half the light that reaches the earth’s surface is heat radiation, otherwise known as infrared light. Visible light only makes up a small portion of solar radiation. Along with visible light, the sun emits wavelengths that are too long or too short for us to see. However, we can feel them. Have you ever had a bad sunburn? That’s infrared light at work.

IR light is a part of the electromagnetic light spectrum, where the wavelengths are much longer than those of the visible light spectrum. Most infrared wavelengths range from 700 nanometers up to one millimeter, and they are a primary source of heat transfer. The longer an IR wavelength is, the more heat it produces. There are several types of infrared light:

  • Near-infrared light has the shortest wavelengths in the IR spectrum. They’re almost visible, and they’re commonly used in household objects because they’re not hot.
  • Mid-infrared light is warmer than near-infrared light, but it’s not quite hot. With special tools, astronomers and researchers can use mid-IR light to study celestial objects.
  • Far-infrared light is made up of hot wavelengths. This type of IR light is used in grow lighting to help cannabis plants like og kush and sour diesel bloom and thrive.

Like the sun provides infrared light to outdoor greenery, grow lights give it to indoor plants. Some growers are reluctant to use IR lighting because they believe its heat will harm the crop, but that’s not the case. Grow lights are designed to provide the right wavelengths for better growth and more effective photosynthesis.

How Grow Lights Utilize IR Light

There are three kinds of grow lighting: HID (high-intensity discharge), LED, and T5 fixtures. All three types can provide IR light in different ways.

  • HID lights provide significant infrared light as soon as they’re switched on. Your plants get IR light via a chemical reaction that occurs when arcing electricity interacts with ionized plasma or gas inside the bulb. The color of the light depends on the type of gas used. Metal halide lights give off a white light, while HPS lights provide a warm orange or yellow light. In between these wavelengths is infrared light, which makes up about 20% of an HID light’s total emissions.
  • LED lights consist of multiple diodes, some of which produce IR light. Most LED grow lights only produce visible red and blue light wavelengths. To emit IR light and increase resin production, you’ll need to add IR diodes.
  • Like HIDs, T5 grow lights produce light via electricity and a chemical reaction. T5s give off some IR light, but not much. Growers can combine infrared diodes with T5 fixtures, or they can buy separate IR bulbs.

If you’re growing cannabis for the first time, the experts at can help you find the right grow lights for your operation.

Infrared Light and Its Effects on Cannabis Plants

Though IR light isn’t visible, it does assist in the process of photosynthesis. Infrared light gives the plants a small amount of heat radiation that stimulates growth in the following ways.

  • Improved blooming. Cultivators have discovered that IR light helps plants flower. This phenomenon is due to the presence of phytochromes, which are special photoreceptors within plants. These receptors regulate critical processes such as stem growth, leaf expansion, and flowering.
  • A cannabis plant’s phytochromes receive light all day, and structural changes occur depending on the level of light it gets. Growers use IR light to trick plants into thinking that a seasonal change has occurred, changing the growth process. Phytochromes have a strong reaction to IR light, which means that growers don’t have to wait for the right time of year to grow or harvest a crop.
  • Accelerated growth. Another reason to use IR light is the effects it has on plant growth. Because sunlight is a crucial part of photosynthesis, plants have automatic defenses for when other plants block their light. The purple kush or white widow plants will grow and stretch toward the light. When it’s combined with other types of light, infrared light aids in growth and plant shaping.

Using Infrared Light in a Grow Room

Depending on the type of lighting you’re using in your grow room, you may not have a choice. Even with T5s and LEDs, using infrared light may help. Before starting, though, it’s important to consider these factors.

  • Your plants’ needs. Infrared light may help plants from medical marijuanas seeds or regular autoflower seeds grow and flower because it interacts with phytochromes. However, if the lights are too powerful, they may damage the plants.
  • Your plans for plant shaping. Because infrared light encourages plants to grow and elongate, it may lead them to become less compact. Consider the size of the grow room before introducing IR lighting.
  • Overexposure may pose risks to you and your plants. When using IR grow lights, be sure to monitor exposure and wear the right protective gear.
  • Because infrared light isn’t necessary for plant growth and development, growers should consider the cost of use. For example, those who use HPS lighting must use an HVAC system to manage the heat. These systems can be expensive to maintain and install, and growers should weigh the costs and benefits before proceeding.

Closing Thoughts

Though infrared grow lights may not be necessary, they do offer advantages that improve the growth and health of cannabis plants. IR lighting stimulates photosynthesis, growth, and flowering, among other important processes. When growers use it in the right way, they may see more benefits than they ever thought would be possible. Thanks for reading this installment of the grow guide blog, brought to you by the best seed bank in USA!

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