Hydroponic systems have made gardening and farming a lot more fruitful with their impeccable growth capacity. With a rising demand for organic food across the world, these systems are fast becoming more popular amongst professional farmers and amateur growers. While they provide excellent harvest, a few pressure points within the system require thorough knowledge and understanding to keep the systems yielding the best results. And grow lights for indoor plants is one of them.
Grow lights are alternatives to natural sunlight for any indoor system, and they stimulate photosynthesis, one of the key processes for plant growth. So, it is essential to know the best lights for growing plants indoors and have an in-depth knowledge of which are the best grow lights for your plants. There are so many options available in the market that without sound knowledge of which lights suit the best for your system can make or break your plantation.
So, in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about grow lights for indoor plants, the types of grow lights, and how to choose them:
Important factors to consider before choosing the right light
Several factors come into play when you choose your grow lights. From the kind of plants you grow, budget, the spectrum of colour to intensity, choosing the best grow light requires proper knowledge. So, before you decide which grow light suits the best for your hydroponic system, here’s a list of important factors you need to consider:
Choice of plants: What plants you grow in your hydroponic garden will decide the kind of lights required. Different plants require a different intensity of light, spectrum, coverage, and the type of bulb you need. A flowering plant might need a different set of light than a microgreen.
Budget: How much you want to spend will determine what light options you choose. Remember, these lights remain functional for at least 12 hours a day, amounting to higher expenses. Depending on your budget, you can choose either bulbs or complete light fixtures. The intensity of the lights will also depend on the amount of money you want to spend.
The bulb type: There are options like fluorescent, LED, and HID bulb types available typically used as grow lights. While fluorescent bulbs are the most affordable, they are not very efficient. LEDs are the most preferred bulbs as they emit the right kind of light, have a longer shelf life, and are highly efficient. HIDs are usually used for large-scale farming.
Know your spectrum: Lights emit different colours known as spectrum, and plants use blue, red, yellow, and green spectrum during various stages of their growth. You can either choose for specific colour light or opt for full-spectrum bulbs that imitate sunlight. These are the best options since you only need to install them once.
Getting the Intensity right: Intensity is the amount of light that reaches the plants. This is crucial as a poorly placed light with high intensity might damage the plant. The best way to go about this is to use a light that evenly distributes the light and heat and can be placed at a safe distance from the plant. Refer to the light’s intensity chart for better knowledge.
Coverage required: Depending on how big your grow area is, you will need to figure out how many lights you need. Ideally, it should be 20-40 watts of coverage per square foot. A 1000-watt bulb will light up 25-50 square feet of the growing area. So, measure your grow space and select the number of bulbs accordingly.
Which light works the best for me – Grow bulbs or lighting fixtures?
Your choice of lights will depend on the kind of plants in your hydroponic system. You can either change your regular bulbs with specialized grow bulbs or replace them with a brand-new fixture of built-in lightings. Whichever you choose, make sure that the lights are suitable for your plants and provide them with the right amount of light and energy.
Grow light bulbs: Bulbs are the most affordable options and best suited for small-scale gardening or farming. They are easy to install and maintain. But they sure come with their own set of limitations as compared to lighting fixtures that are more comprehensive in their function. For those who have simple plants in a small system, bulbs are the best bet.
Grow light fixtures: These are more expensive, but they provide a more holistic solution. Just one lighting fixture can provide enough light for your entire grow area as it evenly distributes light throughout the space. They are specifically designed to be used as grow lights and thus offer a complete spectrum of light with the right amount of intensity.
Fluorescent, LED, or Incandescent – which one to choose.
Like we mentioned earlier, the right kind of light can make all the difference in the output of your hydroponic garden. Now whether you need a fluorescent light, Incandescent, or LED will depend on the factors that suit your system the best. While incandescent lights are the least expensive, they are also the least energy-efficient and have a higher heat emission output. So, if your plants are sensitive to light, avoid these. On the other hand, fluorescent lights are more energy-efficient and produce less heat and a wider spectrum range. But they can be a little more expensive than incandescent lights. LED grow lights are the best grow lights that you can find in the market. They are highly energy-efficient, provide the ideal spectrum and have a very low heat output. These qualities make them the best grow lights for indoor plants.
So, now that you know everything about choosing the right light for your hydroponic system, you can think of owning one of your own. Visit Kushy.com.au for a seamless, easy, and hassle-free shopping experience for all your hydroponic equipment.