Light plays an important role in plant life and it is necessary for the plant to survive as they serve as a primary energy source. No plant will survive for long without light. However, some plants still grow and flourish even without having direct sunlight on them, while some other plants thrive in artificial grow lights.
Few plants which thrive without direct sunlight are known as low light plants or shade plants. These kind of plants can be grown under fluorescent lights. Few plants like tropical plants need lots of sunlight and they cannot survive without sunlight. But if you don’t have direct access to sunlight then you can go for artificial grow lights.
There are lots of grow lights but the best three kinds of grow lights are High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Bulbs, Metal Halide (MH) Bulbs and Fluorescent Bulbs. Each grow light has their own advantages on growing plants better and healthier.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lights
HPS and HID lights emits red and yellow spectrum which is perfect for the blooming period of the plant. Most of the growers start with Metal Halide MH bulbs in the beginning stage and switch to HPS light in the flowering stage. HPS grow lights should be placed away from your plants. If using a 600 watt HPS light, It should be kept at least 16 inches away from the plant. If you have a light with a reflector that is air cooled then you don’t have to worry about the space as the air flow through the reflector will be having a cooling benefit. Always use 250 watts HPS lights for 2’x2′ space; according to the space you can increase the size of the watts. HPS grow lights are well suited in a cooler temperature area with good ventilation of air.
Metal Halide (MH) Bulbs
MH bulbs emit blue spectrum lights which are perfect for the vegetation stage of the plant. The UV rays of MH lights have similar effects on plant life. These grow lights are perfect for greenhouses and for hydroponics gardening. MH bulbs are used on young plants which help the plant to grow faster and most popularly 400 watt metal halide light has been used for indoor gardening.
These bulbs come with a spectrum of colors which is best for the growth of the plants. Specific indoor plants grow best in green light but most of them prefer red light to increase the speed of the plant growth. You can use MH bulbs in a combination with HPS lights to get more desired lighting effects
Fluorescent bulbs produce less heat which is perfect for clones and for low light plants. Fluorescent light bulbs are around 66 percent cheaper and last longer. T5 fluorescent bulbs are high-output grow lights that produce minimal heat and have low energy consumption. They distribute light in the red-blue spectrum that is intensely good for cloned plants, cuttings and short growth cycles.
Here is a tip while you focus on gardening: Nitrogen is the most important element credited for strong vegetative growth. Check out our hydroponic glossary for more details.