Comparing Cannabis Grow Lights
Comparing your different grow light options for growing Cannabis
When a person is thinking about growing marijuana plants inside, they have probably done some research into the various available lighting options. Each grower will have their preference regarding grow lights, and there’s a good chance they have already received advice regarding what they should or should not do to set up their lighting system. The question is, how to figure out what option is right for your particular growing setup?
The Marijuana Plant Light Cycle
One of the most critical factors that impact the growth marijuana plants is the lighting schedule that they are subjected too. Just like with any plant, weed grown from cannabis seeds relies on light as the foundation of photosynthesis. This is the process used by the plant to produce energy and food for itself to grow. In a natural setting (i.e., outside), the cannabis plant follows the change of the seasons in its environment. It will germinate, grow, flower, and then produce seeds all as a reaction to the external changes in its environment.
The changes that occur include total light exposure, changes in the temperature, and changes in relative humidity levels. The factor that has the most impact is light, however, particularly the cycles of light and dark periods. The cycles of light and darkness are equivalent to the hours of daylight and nighttime.
Usually, marijuana plants receive more light during a vegetative phase, along with equal amounts of darkness and light when they are flowering (12 hours / 12 hours) . Typically, cannabis seeds will germinate in the spring when the total number of daylight hours increase. They will continue growing until the days become shorter.
When winter days arrive, marijuana plants move into the flowering process. This allows the plants to reproduce and pass their genes on to the “next generation” of plants. During the periods where the days are longest, the cannabis plant has the energy and time needed to build a strong foundation and to prepare for the sticky, dense buds that will grow. Keep in mind, though; this is how it works in nature.
Due to the vast array of growing techniques and various artificial growing systems, there are situations where the cycles can be modified and used for specific advantages. Usually, growers want the plants to be as strong and healthy as possible without using energy for reproduction or seeds.
As mentioned above, it is possible to take advantage of the way the plants would develop in nature, “hacking” this process to achieve specific performance metrics. One technique is referred to as “forcing.” Forcing means to take a plant that has been in “long day” settings (i.e., 18 to 24 hours of light) and to switch the exposure light suddenly to just 12 hours. By creating the change from spring to summer, it will result in the grandaddy purple cannabis plant entering the flowering cycle rapidly. It is this high sensitivity to any changes in light cycles and exposure that make it possible for a grower to expedite the growth of cannabis plants.
When growing pure sativa cannabis seeds, growers will find these plants are not as sensitive to lighting changes as other varieties. That’s because it comes from tropical regions around the world. Usually, the relationship between day and night in these areas is considered more stable in tropical areas and changes very little between the seasons. This is one reason that Sativa cannabis is often bigger than other varieties and why it takes as much as five months to reach full maturity. Since it gets so big before it flowers, it isn’t as common for indoor growing. hybrid weed seeds have been designed for many decades now that integrate some indica cannabis genetics. This helps to decrease plant size, decrease flowering time, and increase the overall yield .
For growing plants outside, it is important to know the zone they are being grown in to ensure the climate is right. It is easy for a Sativa strain to be hurt or die in colder weather. A grower can alleviate this pain point by using a greenhouse.
More Light Results in More Weed
It doesn’t matter if you choose to grow your cannabis plants inside or outside; a quality source of light must be present. The more light plants have, the more weed they can produce. In nature, plants love the sun. Light is what makes photosynthesis possible, and what provides energy to the plant to be transformed into oxygen and glucose. Photosynthesis is a process that splits oxygen from hydrogen and combines with oxygen and glucose.
The plant’s primary source of fuel is glucose. This chemical works to power the building and growing functions that transform medicinal marijuana seeds to the flowering stage where buds are ready to be smoked. Your plants require a lot of light to produce this final product, and generally, the more, the better. Even short stature plants like og kush or The auto blueberry strain can see an increased yield when you provide them more light in the vegetative stage.
Understanding the Different Lights Available
If a grower opts to grow their plants inside, they have to figure out the right way to set up their lights. There are several options. Beyond positioning, modern lighting systems also vary in spectrum color, underlying technology, and intensity. It depends on the grow room size, your electrical specifications, and the amount of time you can put into lighting the grow room you use.
When creating your light system, figure out the amount of light needed. Compare this to the light you can provide for your plants. If you are growing in an older building with direct current, chances are the amount you can provide won’t be very high. Keep realistic expectations and remember the lights you install use a lot of power.
Next let’s look at a brief overview of the different lighting options that are commonly used to grow medicinal marijuana indoors.
CFL – Fluorescent Lights
In the earliest days of cannabis growth and cultivation, growers simulated the sun with fluorescent grow lights. Farmers and botanists also used these for indoor growing for years. The bad news is, this lighting option is expensive, and if you need a lot of lights, it can get costly. Also, it requires many of these lights to mimic the full spectrum of the sun.
If you have plants that are sensitive to heat, fluorescent lights may be a good option. This is usually the case with newly germinated weed seeds and cuttings when they are first starting to grow.
HID – High-Intensity Discharge Lights
These lights were created for use in large scale venues, such as stadiums and arenas. The lights are powerful and used by many people who grow plants other than cannabis. However, they also work well for cannabis.
You have several options for HID lights. These include mercury, sodium vapor light, and metal halide. Mercury lights should be avoided, as the lumen to watt capacity is too low for them to compete with the other options.
MH – Metal Halide Lights
These lights produce light by arcing an electrical current through a mercury gas that’s mixed with a metal iodide (i.e., sodium, thorium, or thallium). The light produced is in the ideal color spectrum range for cannabis’s growing phase. These lights are very suitable for producing lush green foliage.
HPS – High-Pressure Sodium Vapor Lights
In the 80s, it was discovered that American growers were using much more power than those in Europe. One reason was that most growers in Europe were using HPS grow lights, and Americans were still using metal halide light and visual reflectors.
HPS lighting has the right color range for cannabis plants during the flowering stage and is a useful option for the growth phase.
LED – Light Emitting Diodes
LED lights are ubiquitous in the lighting industry. While they aren’t the ideal option when growing cannabis, they do offer a few benefits. For example, LEDs are low voltage, which means less money you must spend on electricity and upkeep. They also produce very little heat, which means you don’t have to worry about overheating the grow room if you are using LED lighting. This bulb also reduces your reliance on fans and ventilation, resulting in even more energy savings.
The Best Systems
The real consideration to figure out the type of light needed is to figure out the size of the grow room. For those using an area that is under five square feet, think about choosing an HPS 250w or fluorescent light. Fluorescent light is smaller and can help cuttings root better. As plants get larger, it’s best to use an HPS light.
Remember, the position of the lights and plants also matters when optimal growth is desired. While the bulbs used are crucial, they aren’t the only factor that impacts the growth and health of a cannabis plant, so keep this in mind. When selecting lights and arrangement of the lights, using guides from successful growers is highly recommended, as they can provide insight on things that worked and things that didn’t (which is usually quite helpful).
The Right Lights
For any grower who wants to ensure their cannabis plants have a chance to grow and thrive, using the information and considerations here is a must. It will help ensure the desired results are achieved, regardless of the strain being grown. The right arrangement will be effective for growth, regardless of what options are being considered and what the grow room is like. We at 149 seed bank know there can be a lot of costs involved when starting up, which is why we provide a way for USA growers to buy marijuana seeds online.