Light plays an integral part when it comes to growing cannabis. More specifically, apart from providing the ideal temperature to your plants, you must also ensure that you’re supplying the right type of light to your plants. That way, you can create the correct environment for maximum yields.
Sure, you can opt for natural sunlight, but you’re better off growing your marijuana indoors. For starters, the climate in your area may not allow you to grow cannabis outdoors. On top of that, indoor cultivating enables you to control the vegetative and flowering phases of your plants via grow lights.
Speaking of which, the market is awash with various grow lights so you must know what works for your plants and needs. See, all indoor growing lights are not the same. Some are more effective while others are relatively cheap. So, before you settle for any light or model, be sure that it offers everything your plants need to thrive.
Remember, the grow light that you choose ultimately determines the level of success (and yields) with you marijuana. On that note, here’s an in-depth look at various types of light cannabis and what to expect with each.
Fluorescent (CFL) Grow Lights
First things first – CFL is an acronym for Compact Fluorescent Lights. CFLs are a common feature in areas such as grocery or home improvement stores. These make a perfect choice for small grow tents or if you’re in for quality lights without leaving a hole in your wallet.
- CFLs are readily available and relatively affordable in comparison to other lights for cannabis.
- They come with standards sockets to allow you to use them with virtually any light fixture
- You can choose from a variety of color temperatures, including “daylight” at 6500K or “warm white” with a reddish spectrum at 2700K.
- CFLs provide a low output in comparison to other types of grow lights
- You must place your bulb close to the plant to ensure that they offer enough light
- You may end up using many CFL bulbs especially if you have a large growing tent. You can only use them to grow one or two plants. In other words, it makes sense to use CFLs if you’re growing clones or for seedlings.
Generally, CFLs are not as powerful or efficient as other grow light. Even then, you may want to try them out if you’re getting started with indoor cultivating and are not sure which lights will serve you better. Or, you can use them if you don’t have a lot of cash to go for other alternatives.
HID Grow Lights (MH & HPS)
HID (or High-Intensity Discharge) grow lights are what you may call the holy grail of cannabis lighting. Many growers hail them as the best to use if you want high yields and reliable performance.
It is essential to note at this point that HID lights fall under two categories – MH (Metal Halide) and HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) lights.
The primary difference between the two is that MH lights generate a “cooler” blue-ish illumination while their HPS counterparts provide red light. By extension, this makes MH lights ideal for the vegetative stage of growth. HPS, on the other hand, are perfect for flowering.
You may consider combining both MH and HPS bulbs especially if you’re an advanced grower. But, you can opt for HPS if you’re not sure which type of HID will work for your entire grow.
Most growers prefer HPS lights with an output of 600W. These offer an excellent balance between the amount of light they generate and the utility cost. Be sure to get a complete kit that includes the bulbs, reflector, and ballast if you plant to grow using HID lighting.
- HIDs initial cost is relatively reasonable in comparison to some alternative
- You don’t need a lot of knowledge to set them up
- HIDs are easy to operate and maintain
- They will give you brilliant results if you install and use them correctly
- HIDs with an output of more than 600W may be too powerful for efficient growing. What this implies is that you must ensure your grow tent has enough vents and exhausts.
- You may have to change your HID bulbs once in a while – they’re not long lasting. The standard lifespan of HIDs is anywhere between six months and one year.
- You cannot plug HID grow lights into standard socket because they require ballast and a unique hood.
- HIDs use a lot of energy which translates to high electricity bills.
LED Grow Lights
Indeed, LED lights had no place in cannabis growing a couple of years ago. Most growers considered them suitable for clones and seedling on lights. LED technology has, however, improved significantly.
The best LED grow lights boast well-thought-out designs and capability. They provide more lumens per watt powered by COB (Chips on Board) technology. In short, you can use LEDs to grow the most demanding cannabis strains without having to worry about light intensity. You’re better off with LED lighting if you were to compare LEDs vs. CFLs, for instance.
When we match the differences between LED and HPS here, it makes perfect sense to conclude that LEDs can compete with or even exceed the performance of HPS lights. It is essential to emphasize, however, that you must get the right one to reap the maximum benefits.
- LEDs are super energy efficient. They’re the best choice if you don’t want to pay high utility bills.
- They provide more light in comparison to their running costs.
- LEDs are relatively cooler compared to HIDs – they hardly generate any heat at all.
- Because of the low level of heat, you won’t have to worry about “burning” your plants. In essence, this means that LEDs allow you to maintain the correct temperature inside your grow tent with doing a lot of hard work.
- You don’t require ballast when mounting LEDs as is the case with HIDs – just plug your bulb into a standard outlet, and you’re good to go.
- The initial cost of setting up LEDs is high in comparison to other types of lights for cannabis.
- You may need to spend a significant sum for high-end LED fixtures.
The Bottom Line
There you have it – the advantages and disadvantages of various lights for growing cannabis. As stated, the more you understand what to expect with a particular type of lighting, the easier it is to make an informed decision.