Indoor Gardening – Let there be light!
When growing indoors in anything other than a greenhouse type room, artificial lighting is almost always required. Many exciting new lighting technologies now exist that perform quite well for those interested in indoor gardening.We will examine the main technologies and mention some of the pros and cons associated with their use. There is currently not a consensus “best” lighting technology but there are a few that may prove a superior choice for your application.
HPS & Fluorescent Lighting
Originally the indoor gardener had to use high pressure sodium bulbs or fluorescent bulbs for most applications. These technologies of HPS and fluorescent bulbs are still in use today and have there own benefits. The HPS bulbs usually have a lifespan of around a year, they are generally quite bright and often range from 200 watts to 1000 watts. These lights tend to use the most power of the options we will be discussing. The pro being that they are quite bright and the con generally being that they produce a lot of heat. If you are growing in an environment that could use a little extra heat then perhaps this becomes a positive. HPS grow lights are still quite common and are often a solid choice for growing light loving plants.
According to one source Fluorescent lighting can last around 10,000 hours for growing plants. Fluorescent lighting can be fairly cheap but in many instances you do not get the amount of light desired by some of the more light hungry plants. The bulbs will generally be kept very close to the plants in order to improve growth. The heat output of fluorescent lighting is much less than that of HPS bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs can be a good and viable choice depending on your requirements.
Grow Like Tesla Would Have
Induction grow light technology is created from technology developed by Nikola Tesla and according to a leading developer of the tech – iGrow, induction lighting has many reasons why it may be considered superior. The Bulbs produce almost no heat and can be lightly touched by the hand even after running for hours. A 400w model has been said to perform as well as a 1000w HPS. The bulbs are said to last for 10 years and should give the user significant electrical cost savings during that time. If you are looking for a light that is efficient but you do not like the purple glow that many LED lights put off then perhaps induction lighting is the perfect choice.
LED Grow Lighting
One new grow light technology that holds vast promise is that of LED grow lights. The idea being that plants only use certain spectrum of light in order to grow and that if you only give the plant exactly what it needs to grow you can expend far less energy providing that light than you would providing the full spectrum of light. In The LED Grow Book the author mentions that plants have been shown to grow best with certain wavelengths of far red and infrared light and certain LED grow lights can be created in order to provide exactly what plants need to grow without much waste. The lifespan of most LED grow lights is said to be 5+ years which puts them below the induction light but above most other forms of plant lighting.
What to Keep and Eye on
Lighting technology is at the forefront of much scientific research. It is highly likely that new advances will continue to be made in this area. LED lighting is constantly being refined and improved upon and many new advances in other technologies will most likely be reached. Light Emitting Ceramic lighting is something that has recently become available. This LEC technology is incredibly bright and looks similar to many HPS grow lights. A 300w unit is said perform on the level of a 600w HPS. This is just another reason to keep an eye on new advances in this area. No matter what you grow or where you grow it, doing it efficiently often helps the environment and is in everyone’s best interests.