Choosing Grow Lights for Hydroponics Gardening – Grow lights Types
Plants use light to convert it into energy during the process, called photosynthesis. Growth of the plant is directly dependant on the amount of light received. By the way, the amount and type of light depend on the particular plant and its stage of development. So, a good grow lamp is the one, which is chosen in accordance with the light requirements of the particular plant.
Light is essential for health of your indoor plants, but choosing a proper grow light may be challenging and always requires thorough considerations. Grow light fluorescent offers the benefits of high effectiveness, no heat generation and full spectrum of light. For comparison, incandescent bulbs also produce a lot of light, but at the same time they generate a lot of heat, which is not always beneficial for indoor plants.
Each stage of plant development requires a particular light. When the plant is in its growing stage during which stem, branches and leaves develop, it is the best timing to use metal halide lamps for they produce blue spectrum light. However, when plant forms flowers and fruits, it is better to use high-pressure sodium or HPS lamps, which provide red light spectrum.
The only downside of MH and LPS lights is the heat generated by them. Heat is not good for plants and soil. To prevent overheating, special cooling fans may be required.
diodes or LEDs, introduced in early 1920s, have debuted in hydroponic gardening as grow lights only recently. In comparison to metal vapor lights, LED lights offer a lot of benefits with the initial cost being their only disadvantage. However, these grow lights are more cost-effective in the long run, having the average life time of about 100 000 hours vs. 15 000 hours of other lights. Besides, LED lights consume less energy, providing energy saving up to 80% in comparison to fluorescents and metal vapor lamps. Furthermore, LED lights do not generate heat, and, therefore, they need no additional cooling and ventilation.
In order to increase plant growth and productivity it may be necessary to use certain additional accessories, such as reflectors, which help to increase light intensity and make it more balanced, eliminating any “hot spots”.
Another key component of the grow light system is ballast, which provides energy. While fluorescent light fixtures have built-in ballasts, the other types of grow lights, namely metal vapor and LED lights require remote or external ballasts. Digital ballasts are important components, so it’s better not to save money on them. It is recommended to choose domestically produced digital ballasts instead of old magnetic coil types or those imported from China. In addition to being more reliable, expensive digital ballasts are equipped with additional features, such as short circuit or defective bulb detection.
Hydroponic gardening belongs to the most common techniques to grow plants and flowers with no land required. While building hydroponic system, sooner or later one faces the necessity to invest in high quality grow lights. A lot of people give their preferences to HID (high intensity discharge) lights equipped with digital ballast. These types of lamps provide the most natural light similar to sunlight, which is especially important for successful indoor plants growing. However, there are certain differences between HID lamps worthy to know.
In general, five types of HID lights exist. They are mercury vapor, xenon short-arc lamps, metal halide, low-pressure sodium and high-pressure sodium lights. Among these metal halide and high-pressure sodium lights are the most preferred types.
Related Gardening Articles