Types Of Hydroponic Lighting And How To Choose The Right One

To start the many growth stages of each plant when growing inside, it’s crucial to match the seasonal changes in natural sunshine. The intensity of the sun and various environmental temperatures act as catalysts for plants to produce internal compounds that will begin the next phase of their life cycle.

The sort of lighting and lighting intensity you should employ will depend on the size of your indoor garden area and the plants you intend to grow.

There are a few things to think about when you buy a grow lamp for your hydroponic plants, especially because grow lights come in a variety of sizes and forms, and each type has pros and cons.

What Is A Grow Light And What Advantages Do Hydroponic Plants Get From Them?

An unusual lamp known as a grow light creates intense artificial light to mimic sunshine for hydroponic plants. In order to maintain stable plant growth rates and increase yields, grow lights offer a setting where photosynthesis occurs with the greatest efficiency. Grow lights are made with various spectrums and intensities that you can change to meet your plants’ needs.

For hydroponic plants, grow lights have a number of advantages, including:

  • Increased yields and growth rates.
  • Growth cycles that are more reliable.
  • More growth seasons.
  • Lower energy prices.
  • May be utilized anywhere, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Why Use Grow Lights Instead Of Sunlight?

For several reasons, grow lights are preferable to sunshine. Finding a spot where your plants can get adequate sunshine might be difficult because it is only available at specific times of the day. Also, changes in weather have an impact on plants’ ability to photosynthesize.

Grow lights can be used all year long. The primary distinction between sunshine and grow lights is that grow lights emit a particular wavelength of light that is advantageous to plants, whereas sunlight consists of all light wavelengths. This means that even when it’s overcast outside, we can utilize grow lights to grow plants indoors.

The closer the grow lights are to the plants, the more intense the light and the fewer shadows. Additionally, some studies showed that employing grow lights enhanced plant height, leaf count, and fresh weight.

Which Are The Most Popular Types Of Hydroponic Lighting?

The majority of indoor growers prefer to use high-intensity discharge lights or HID. HID installations typically include:

  • Metal Halide (MH) or High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs.
  • Ballasts are used to regulate an even and steady flow of power through the bulbs.
  • A lighting reflector. Since there should be no “hot spots” in your grow room, using a lighting hood or lighting reflector, you may disperse the light and heat that the bulbs create more widely and cut down on the number of bulbs you require.

Which Grow Light Is Right For Your Plants?

The kind of plants you are growing and where they are in their growth cycles will determine the type of grow light you should select. Fluorescent or LED grow lights are suggested for vegetative development. On the other hand, grow lights made of HPS or MH are commonly suggested for flowering plants.

Make careful to take the cost of operation and the amount of light the light bulb emits into account when selecting a grow light. Although incandescent and fluorescent grow lights may be better suited for specific plants, LED grow lights are the most effective and economical solution.

Newer Types Of Indoor Lighting Systems

1. Fluorescents

Cool blue light from fluorescent bulbs is perfect for cuttings and seedlings. Fluorescent lighting offers a broad spectrum of light and produces little heat, which is ideal for the early stages of a plant’s life cycle.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL) – Is a type of fluorescent lighting that uses a single, compact fluorescent tube or a group of tubes with the ballast built into the fixture. Compact fluorescent lighting is thus perfect for grow spaces or grow rooms that are quite small.

Fluorescent lights use little energy to run because of their low output, and choosing CFLs eliminates the need for a separate ballast, further cutting your costs.

Fluorescent lighting should only be used to promote growth in seedlings and young plants because, due to their low output, they don’t produce enough heat to function as a reliable lighting source later on.

2. LED Lighting

For indoor cultivation, LED illumination is a relatively new form of lighting system. When compared to alternative hydroponic lighting options, LED lighting has a higher upfront cost. They are, nevertheless, quite energy-efficient, and the bulbs can endure for many years (in comparison to MH & HPS which may only last one season).

Additionally, LED illumination produces significantly less heat than conventional bulbs, making it ideal for very limited growth spaces where the bulbs must be placed very close to the plants.

Similar to conventional bulbs, you can choose LED lights that can emit various light spectrums that will aid in producing optimum efficiency during various stages of a plant’s lifespan.

Additionally available are RGB or multi-color LEDs, which may produce any color spectrum by “mixing” the primary colors. By utilizing different filters, it is possible to use the same LED bulbs at each stage of a plant’s lifetime, doing away with the need to change bulbs as the plant grows.

3. Sulphur Plasma

Systems for lighting hydroponics with sulfur plasma are relatively recent. The tunable output of sulfur plasma lights may replicate wattages ranging from 100w to 1300w.

This indicates that you can use the lights with a variety of plant species in grow rooms of various sizes. These types of bulbs offer a full and continuous spectrum of light, which, according to manufacturers and many users, allows them to more closely mimic natural light than conventional lights.

The effectiveness of sulphur plasma lighting for indoor growing is still unknown because it is a relatively new technology. The bulbs are currently difficult to get and extremely expensive.

How To Pick the Right Grow Light Taking Into Account Relevant Factors?

It is crucial to take into account the particular requirements of your plants when selecting a grow lamp for your hydroponic plants.

You might need to take into account the following:

  • Your plants’ dimensions and species.
  • The size of the space you have to grow the plants in.
  • What stage of development the plant is at (seedling, vegetative, flowering).
  • How much light the plant requires (intensity and spectrum).

Other Lighting System Components

1. Reflector Hood

The reflective covering that encloses the bulb is called a reflector hood. By reflecting the light down onto the plants at various angles and providing a more effective spread, it improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the bulb. Additionally, it enables you to choose cooler lighting, saving you money on cooling and electricity.

2. Remote Ballast

The power supply that powers the light is called the ballast. Ballasts are occasionally sold with lamp assemblies, however, they are frequently overly hot and heavy. For household systems, remote ballasts are considerably superior. This must be maintained off the ground because it is the most expensive part of the lighting system and must never get wet in the event of a flood or leak. Because their wattages must match, it is advised to purchase the ballast and bulb together as a set.

3. The Timer

Timers are the cheapest component of the lighting system, but they are vital. They can be manual or electric, but they must be robust and grounded (three-prong plug). Two plugs are located on either side of the manual timer’s pins, allowing you to simultaneously connect two grow lights.

Is 24-Hour Lighting Necessary For The Plant To Grow?

No, a plant can develop without receiving light for the entire day. In actuality, plants may thrive in the absence of all light.

Darkness is necessary for plants’ metabolisms to work properly. They are not designed to continuously create food, and doing so would be bad for their long-term health. Therefore, yes, plants do need as much darkness as they do light.

That being said, plants can grow larger and more quickly with the aid of grow lights. Depending on the particular plant, the Grow light should be on for a different length of time. However, the majority of plants require at least 12 hours of sunshine each day in order to thrive.

Last Thoughts

It might be difficult to choose the best hydroponic light sometimes because there are so many various types and sizes available. But in the end, the main takeaway is that your choice of light will be influenced by the particular requirements of your plants.

If you are unsure which hydroponic light is appropriate for your plant, get guidance from a professional or go to a gardening supply store.