If you are planning to set up an indoor garden or greenhouse, then you need efficient grow lights. However, this is easier said than done because once you delve into the world of indoor grow light systems, you might find yourself drowning in information. Grow lights are really hard to master, but once you get the basics, you are well on your way to having a good set up.
There are different types of grow lights that also have corresponding purposes to the type of plants that you are growing, but we are not going to concentrate on those types of grow lights in this article. Rather, we are going to discuss the important points you have to know before you set up your very own indoor grow light system.
Read on to find out the concepts you need to be familiar with and some quick tips on how to get you started with your grow lights.
Concepts: Indoor Grow Light Systems
Here are the basic concepts that you should know to aid you in setting up your indoor grow light system:
All types of light may it be visible or invisible; they fall in a specific spectrum which is measured by nanometers that points to a light wavelength.
For indoor grow lights, the spectrum that we have to care about is between the nanometer ranges of 400-700. This range is also called Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR). PAR refers to the light wavelengths that your plants can use for the photosynthesis process. Obviously, for your plants to flourish, photosynthesis should be that of a high-frequency rate.
Here are different ranges of nanometers:
- 400-500 nanometers: usually comes in a blue light that is used by plants when they are still in the vegetative phase of growth.
- 600-700 nanometers: usually comes in a red-orange light that is used by plants when they are in the fruiting or flowering phase of growth.
This takes into account how much light is needed for your plants to get any benefits. Remember that your plants should get the right type and amount of light.
The amount of light that your plants will get depends on the type of light that you use and also the position you set it up to. Therefore, it is crucial that you know the right type of light that is suitable for your plant and not only that, you should also properly set up or position your light in such a way that your plant is in full view of the bulbs.
This refers to how much or how less your lights will use energy and electricity. It is usually measured in watts. There are different types of grow lights, so there are also different ranges of power.
The most energy efficient grow lights are the Light Emitting Diode Grow Lights (LED), and the one that is most notorious in consuming high energy and electricity are the High-Intensity Discharge Grow Lights (HID).
The footprint refers to the surface area or the growing space that your indoor plants will occupy. In knowing the surface area, you can now assess how close or how far you will position your grow lights.
Remember that the farther your grow lights are to the growing space, the greater footprint but, the lesser intensity—and vice versa. It is a case of checks and balances. You have to balance out the intensity to the overall footprint of your grow lights.
This simply points out to how much time you should expose your plants to light in a period of 24 hours. In indoor grow light systems, you can limit the amount of light for your plants unlike in the natural outdoor setting. This affects their speed growth and their general health.
Changing the photoperiod can help some plants to hasten their flowering or fruiting process. Adjustment of the photoperiod is usually done to fruits and vegetables.
Accessories of Indoor Grow Light Systems
Most grow lights do not need other accessories for them to be properly set up but there are others that need other things to function properly. Here are those accessories:
- Magnetic Ballasts
- Electronic Ballasts
How to Maintain Your Grow Lights
Heat and Cooling
Lights generate heat so you should always check your lights to prevent overheating. An overheated light will consume much energy and will eventually start to break.
Usually, LED Grow Lights can be placed close to the plant as they do not generate too high of heat so your plants will not burn, but for Fluorescent Grow Lights and HID Grow Lights, you have to place them a bit further from the plants.
Degradation of the Bulb
Some bulbs will die out faster than other bulbs. It is a wise idea to purchase bulbs that will not immediately die.
- HID Bulbs degrade every time you turn them on.
- Fluorescent Bulbs degrade slower than the HID one.
- LED Bulbs: they have the slowest degradation rate.
A Simple Set-Up of Indoor Grow Lights
For this sample set-up, we are going to use the LED Grow Lights because they are the easiest to work with.
Let us pretend that you are growing four rose seedlings. You put the seedlings in one box that is approximately 12×12 inches. All you have to do is to put the box in a well-ventilated area as flowering plants need a lot of oxygen. You can then just use one LED Grow Light and put it near the box where all the seedlings can absorb the light.
That is it, but of course, this one is very easy and simple as we said earlier, we are working with LED Grow Lights which are easy to work around. Definitely, it will be a different story for HID Grow Lights, etc.
Now you know the basics of indoor grow light systems, you can now head on to learn more technical things such as light colors and temperatures. Always remember that you do not need to purchase the grandest of indoor grow lights. You only need the grow lights that are ideal for your space and especially for your plants.