When you are starting your indoor garden, you have to consider the source of light. Most people go for balconies and other windows. However, in winter or the cold season, you must start thinking about choosing a grow light.
A grow light gives you the ability to have plants all year long. You don’t have to think about the weather or the time to start planting. With a grow light, you can start at any time.
Yet, when you think about choosing a grow light, the process is not as easy as people think. You have to think about the type of light your plant needs, color, power, and plants. Most grow lights can support all plants, from seedlings to mature plants, but others only support a few categories.
So, you must choose a grow light that works for your home and your plants.
What are grow lights?
Grow lights are artificial lighting systems that are made to help plants grow. They provide a spectrum similar to the sun’s spectrum.
There are three types of grow lights, namely;
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
- Compact Fluorescent light (CFL): they include T5, T8
- Light Emitting Diode (LED)
LED is the most common type of grow light used in most systems. It is easy to use and doesn’t affect the plants. They are long-lasting, use less power to give more light, and produce less heat.
CFLs are more natural, like window light. They are efficient with minimal heat and more light. However, they don’t last long compared to LEDs.
HIDs are better for growing maturing plants. They are expensive, use more power, and produce large amounts of heat. However, they are the best for giving light to plant nurseries, and large-scale grow houses.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Grow Light
Consider the plants you are growing.
Different plants require different lights. So, before you choose a grow light, first find the type of plant you want to grow. Once you pick a plant, you can factor in the size of the plant and the type of light the plant needs.
For instance, plants need light for photosynthesis, so you must choose a grow light that can support photosynthesis since the lights are different. Some lights have the option of tuning to support a plant requirement.
Determine the space
After determining the plant for your home, you need to consider the garden space in your house. You don’t want a lamp that is too small or too big.
Some lights have their own grow tents, but that can limit you if you want to have extra plants in your garden. It all comes down to how big you want your indoor garden space. Getting the correct size of grow light will ensure all the plants access the light evenly.
The period of using the light
This is influenced by the amount of power a grow light consumes. You don’t want your electricity bill to shock you.
If you are growing your plant annually, you need a light that consumes low power because it will be on for approximately 10 hours a day except for the days the plant doesn’t need light. You can’t have it on 24 hours because the plant requires darkness for a complete growth cycle.
To know the amount of sunlight your plant needs, check the plant tag for instructions.
On the other hand, you can choose a light with a timer so that it switches itself ON and OFF for efficiency and time-saving.
The heat from the lights
Heat is another factor you have to consider when choosing a grow light. One thing you should know is that grow lights produce heat. All that differs is the amount of heat you can get from a light.
If you have a cool room, you can choose a grow light that dissipates more heat; otherwise, if you have a warm room, the light will lead to more heat which can kill the plant. HIDs produce more heat than LEDs. But, considering you have the light ON for more than half the day, there will be considerable heat in the room.
Indoor gardening doesn’t have to come with more expenses. The amount of power a grow light consumes can be huge. It’s important to check the wattage before choosing a grow light.
LEDs are the best when it comes to low power consumption. Finding a good LED with energy-saving measures can help you reduce the amount of energy you use in your home. Most companies have started creating environmentally friendly LEDs that save energy.
Position of the light
Grow lights produce different amounts of light, and the positioning of the light is an important factor. With some lights, you can position them far and others near the plant.
It also depends on the height of the plant. You should place fluorescent 3 to 12 inches above the plant; HIDs, 24 to 60 inches; LEDs, 12 to 24 inches. You don’t need a plant growing near a light; the heat can burn it.
Choosing to grow lights that have chains so that you can suspend the light is a good option. You can adjust chains as the plant grows.
When planting plants indoors, consider giving them more light than they could want if they were outdoor. The grow light can act like the sun but can’t provide the same amount. But, allow it to have hours of darkness to ensure a complete growth cycle.
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a grow light, start shopping for the light that will help your plants grow.