When it comes to growing plants indoors, one of the most pivotal factors in terms of determining your success or otherwise will of course be your choice of lighting. It’s no secret that keeping plants in a state of perpetual darkness will wipe them out pretty quickly, just as in the same way that blasting them with dozens of lights brighter and hotter than the sun will also result in disaster.
To be frank, the biggest problem with this incredibly common question is the fact that the answer varies enormously in accordance with exactly what it is you plan to grow. Nevertheless, in terms of the different types of indoor growing lights on the markets, it becomes much easier to make the right choice just as soon as you have picked up a few basics.
High Intensity Discharge Lights
For example, High Intensity Discharge lamps are often flagged as the very best lighting choices for indoor growing as they represent the brightest option available. The suitability of HID lamps is in accordance with the plants being grown, as if for example you were looking to grow orchids, light this intense hammering down for 16 hours each day would not be a good idea. HID lamps are generally regarded as the number one choice when and where vigorous and rapid growth is required. In addition, the kinds of plants and vegetables that tend to do extremely well in greenhouses respond particularly well to HID lamps – tomatoes being perhaps the best example.
In terms of costs, HID lamps have the potential to be reasonably affordable to buy in the first place though can at the same time be quite expensive to run. Nevertheless, in terms of value for money they can also bring about extremely fast growth, therefore are worth the expense if this is what you are looking for.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps
A considerably more energy-efficient alternative to HID lamps is the Compact Fluorescent Lamp, which along with utilizing less energy also does not require a ballast to be put into use. CFLs are not as intense in nature as HID lamps, therefore are recommended for use where rapid growth and development is not the primary concern – rather the progressive development of strong and healthy plants. CFLs are also a great choice when looking to control flowering cycles and can be directly controlled with a standard timer for maximum ease-of-use – no contactor required. CFLs are available in red or blue spectrum varieties.
T5 Fluorescent Strip Lights
Last but not least, fluorescent strip lights are by far the least expensive types of indoor growing lights to run, but are also the least powerful. T5 fluorescent tubes are by far the best of the bunch and usually come supplied in the form of a prefabricated lighting unit designed to add supplementary light to indoor herb gardens and other smaller, younger plant varieties. Their affordability makes them an extremely popular choice among those who intend to get a head start on the spring by starting their plants during the winter months and transplanting them outdoors when the weather improves.
Standard Household Bulbs – Don’t Do It!
Regardless of what it is you intend to grow or how much you intend to spend on equipment, if you’d prefer to steer clear of disaster it’s a good idea to never, ever even consider going near standard household bulbs. Yes, they may be cheaper, yes they may provide plenty of light and no, you personally may not be able to see the difference, but rest assured your plants will. From the spectrum of light emitted to the light’s intensity to the way in which it churns out heat and so on and so forth, standard household bulbs were created with a purpose in mind and that purpose was most certainly NOT producing strong and healthy plants.