Types of Grow Lights: Amazing Results With the Power of the Sun
The many types of grow lights available to ensure strong, healthy, and vigorous vegetative growth and production can often be hard to sift through. Even if you are looking for specific growth cycle support, you might become slightly overwhelmed by the different choices and their actual capabilities. Nothing is worse than trying to compare the labels of your choices and not being able to find them all in one spot, so I’ve compiled a list of all the most current grow lights used for various plant growth stages all in one spot.
Whether you are curious about how different types of grow lights may influence indoor plant health, are a hobbyist seasonal grower, or even a more serious crop producer- all you need to know can be found below to help you get started in making choices that will best support your plant needs.
What is a Grow Light?
How Do Grow Lights Work?
What Spectrums of Light Do Plants Use?
What Different Types of Grow Lights Exist?
- High Intensity Discharge (HID)
- Metal Halide (MH)
- High Pressure Sodium (HPS)
- Light Emitting Ceramics (LEC) and Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)
- Double-Ended Lighting (DE)
- Light Emitting Diode (LED)
- Light Emitting Plasma (LEP)
Light is one of the major components plants need to survive. Whether you are looking for the best indoor light, best seed starter light, best light for flowering orchids, or for weed, your light choices should influence your plant growth and production. Plants utilize light to support the chemical process of photosynthesis, the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy your plants can use to grow and produce.
Photosynthesis is one of the single most important processes on the planet as it supports all life in one way or another. In fact, we can attribute much of our own energy resources to the millions of years worth of photosynthetic processes that
Blue wavelengths are shorter, and warmer than their red/orange counterparts. The blue spectrum supports plant growth, thick stems, and healthy branches, and an abundance of leafy vegetation to partake in photosynthesis. Red wavelengths are longer, and cooler, and are desired by plants for blooming and plant crop production. Plants also may use parts of the UV.
They emit a bluish- white looking light. When used correctly you should get thick, full, and healthy plants prior to maturity and production. Typically they have a 6,000-15,000 hour light life.
A 400 watt bulb can easily cover an area of about 15 feet and has a life expectancy of 12,000-24,000 hours.
Because of the ceramic element, these do burn warmer and are not always the best option for smaller grow areas unless it is well vented. But on the flip side they are also less likely to burn your foliage. And they do last, on average, twice as long as MH and CMH choices.
They also are much more efficient and can still be producing up to 90% of available light after 10,000 hours of use. They are pretty high intensity, and can produce 750-1000 watts of power or more. Plus their long, tubed shape allows for them to be used in long rows when ballasts are daisy chained together.
These tubes are used within ballasts much like HID bulbs, but all fluorescent bulbs are double ended to create the electrical current needed to create light. Fluorescents come in high output (HO) or very high output (VHO) choices and need to be matched to their ballast types when replacement is necessary; although they are extremely long lasting, and can provide good lighting for 50,000 hours or more with very little loss in intensity. Plus they run extremely cool, making them excellent choices for small growing areas.
T8 are approximately an inch in diameter, and T12 are approximately one and half inches in diameter, making them the largest of the T series. The larger the size, the less light intensity, and life each bulb produces. These bulbs mostly still exist in order to fill any lingering demands of older ballasts systems since they are long lasting and are popular with more than plant enthusiasts due to their efficiency.
These are a popular light for home lighting as well as gardening as they can put out various spectral wavelengths. Plus they are cool to use and work well in small spaces.
Although there is often a higher initial cost, these more than pay for themselves since they are so versatile and efficient in their overall use. 50,000 hours or more of use have been recorded with LED light use, making them one of the longest lasting bulb available. Small units can be used for counter top herb grows with ease, while larger panels and be joined together to cover larger, enclosed grow spaces without worry of overheating or plant burn.
Because they are so hot, they cannot be placed close to your crops, and are supposed to be a good solution to high ceilinged rooms as they provide a wide footprint of coverage. They also are supposed to be extremely long-lived, although they are so new that many specifications of their use have not yet been determined.
This quick guide to grow lights available for your plants hopefully can get you started in the right direction to find out exactly what you need. If you have any further questions, or comments, about any of the lights I’ve listed above, please comment below and I’ll get back with you! And if you’ve found this helpful, please share!