In the life of the plant, one of the fundamental things is enlightenment. In outdoor cultivation, the sun does everything. But let's try to give it a try. We put on one side a plant that grows in full sun and a plant that grows in the dark or dim. You will see the differences (as long as the plant that was in the perennial shade is still alive :))
If we grow indoors, we must be sure that the plant receives quality and quantity light in order to meet its needs and be able to grow by producing beautiful flowers.
Explanation of light:
The sun emits energy in the form of solar radiation, including gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, and even radio waves. This is defined as a light spectrum (also called light spectrum, colorimetric spectrum, or visible spectrum).
Color temperature (Kelvin);
If you are looking for a grow lamp, you will probably come across the term "color temperature". This is essentially a way to describe the type of light provided by a light bulb and is measured in kelvin (K). The color temperature does not indicate the physical temperature of your lamp but the degree of heat or coldness of a light source, that is, the "visual temperature". When a light has a higher degree of kelvin, it has a bluish appearance and so we call it "cold light". A light bulb with a lower degree of kelvin emits a "warm light", which is more reddish. Attention that color temperatures have nothing to do with the spectrum of light but describes how the light produced by a lamp is seen by the human eye. For some types of lights, such as LEDs or fluorescent lamps, this does not describe the spectral distribution of light or wavelength. In other words, even if the light appears equal to the human eye, some wavelengths (colors) that plants require for healthy growth may be missing.
Types of light. Which one to choose?
Both main types of grow lamps (HID, LED, CFL) will provide your plants with various levels of ultraviolet light. To make the most of the potential for more flower development given by UV rays, you will need to consider the following for each type of lamp. Let's see the differences together.
HID differs in:
Although HPS bulbs are particularly suitable for the flowering phase, you can also find mixed HPS bulbs (dual spectrum), which are fine for both the growth and flowering phase.
Benefits: Traditionally HPS bulbs are thought to be the ones that give the best global yield. 600w HPS bulbs are the most popular ones because they offer a good balance between the amount of light they produce and the electricity they consume. In general, this type of lighting is cheaper than other options, it is simple to install and use and has good performance performance.
Drawbacks: HPS lighting has a problem: it produces a lot of heat. In addition, bulbs with more than 600W give off a lot of heat, so they require a good ventilation system in the grow room. What is more, they degrade over time, so they must be replaced periodically. To give you an idea, their average life time is around the year, although it can increase slightly depending on the use you make of it.
Metal iodide lamps or HM
HM lamps are the modern version of high pressure mercury lamps. Thanks to the mechanical components they contain they can significantly increase the performance of the lamp and have a more balanced spectrum. This type of bulb requires a support to turn on, which is usually compatible with both HM and high pressure sodium or HPS bulbs. If we use the same support for growth and flowering, we have to consider watts, because we will have to use, for example, bulbs and supports of 600w, or 400W, etc. It is more common to find them from 250, 400 and 600W.
Advantages: the luminous spectrum of HM, very rich in blue, is fantastic for the stage of growth of cannabis plants. These bulbs offer excellent results even during the pre-flowering phase (the first 2-3 weeks of flowering).
Drawbacks: In general, HM degrades much faster than HPS, so you have to change them much more often, at most every three crops.
What are light spectra and what are they for:
It is interesting to know that Cannabis plants receive a lot of information from the light they receive and, almost instantly, react to the different wavelength bands. This is a very broad and complex subject, so we will only try to focus on its fundamental principles.
Vegetative Growth Phase - "Blue" Light for Healthier Leaves
In the phase of vegetative growth it is always advisable to stimulate plants to produce as many leaves as possible. In this way plants should remain more compact, without stretching excessively, developing more robust branches. When Cannabis grows in the open air, the angle of the sun in spring and summer allows multiple "blue" wavelengths to penetrate through the atmosphere, stimulating the leaves of Cannabis plants to grow strong, large and healthy.
Flowering Phase - "Red" light for huge peaks (Interval: 620-780nm; Best: 660nm)
When a Cannabis plant enters the flowering phase, the highest production yields can only be reached with a spectrum of light with a "red" wavelength, capable of stimulating adequate flower production. The greatest photosynthic activity is achieved by a plant when it receives a "red" wavelength of 660nm. In any case, know that a lighting system with a high degree of "red" in its spectrum remains the best strategy to simulate the lowest corner of the sun, reproducing the summer-autumn season.
UV fascia light
For the cultivation of cannabis, you need to know three types of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC. Although all three belong to the UV spectrum, they do not all have the same effect on plants, and some can cause more harm than good if not implemented in the right way. UVA rays represent more than 98% of the UV light that reaches the Earth, thus becoming an integral part of our natural environment. If you grow cannabis outdoors, you don't have to worry about increasing UVA levels: your plants already receive plenty of them!
Unfortunately for humans, prolonged exposure to UVA rays can increase the risk of skin cancer, so make sure you are protected with sunscreen. For our flower-producing friends, UVA rays can instead help raise the level of some cannabinoids (including THC). Increased exposure to UVA light becomes more important during flowering. But be careful, exaggerating means creating damage to the plant. Most good quality grow lamps emit a certain amount of UVA.
This type of light bulb, whose acronym refers to the English acronym Lighting Emitting Diode, is gaining more and more acclaim among experienced growers. On the market you can find several powers, from 100 up to 1000W, or even higher. We find on the market a lot of types and all prices. From experience we can say that good quality LED lamps have a higher price than normal HID but it is a cost that is recovered in 3 cultivation cycles thanks to energy saving. Many buy LED lamps from a few euros, mateful by the attractive price but when they notice the low yield it is too late. A good LED lamp costs money and has its own why. For example, the quality of the light itself, the possibility of being able to repair the lamp (those that cost very little often cannot be repaired), the spectra of light that serve the plant (often those that cost little do not have all 3 spectra of light and we do not talk about the visible colors). If you want a good LED need to talk to an expert who can advise you, we advise against buying poor products that then affect your beloved seedlings that will receive poor light resulting in low value product (low cannabinoids, small flowers, almost non-existent aromas)
Advantages: LED bulbs have a really unbeatable cost-benefit ratio: their production results are very similar to those of HPS bulbs, but with the advantage that they consume much less and produce little heat. This not only translates into significant relief when the electricity bill arrives, but also the fact that, generating little heat, with LED lights you can save a lot of money even when it comes to extractors.
Drawbacks: their highest price. Of course, the high initial investment is immediately offset by a significant drop in the monthly electricity bill. Poor heat generation can also be a disadvantage, and in the coldest months of the year you may have to supplement them using thermal blankets to raise the temperature of the grow room a little. In addition, there is a very wide variety of LEDs on the market, with very contrasting results, so be careful. You may find yourself with a low-quality lamp and you will be "seared" :)
Fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) are the ideal type of lighting for the early stages of the cannabis plant, since at these stages it needs less light power. At the time of flowering there are hot white CFL, which produce a more reddish light. As for their shape, they are very simple to use. On the one hand, fluorescent tubes are located in the format of a light bulb, with the typical lamp holders attachment. THE CFL, for their part, has built-in support, so you just have to screw them into the spotlight and connect them. Typically, fluorescent ones range between 18 and 55W per tube, while CFL's usually hover around 100, 125, 200, and 250W.
Advantages: Fluorescent and CFL lights are the ones that produce the best blue spectrum for the vegetative phase. In addition, being low consumption, they help you reduce your spending on your monthly electricity bill. Due to its availability and low cost, this type of lighting is ideal for novice growers.
Drawbacks: the problem with this type of lighting is that, due to its low power, a large number of bulbs are needed to properly illuminate the cultivation. In addition, it is necessary to activate a system to approach or remove bulbs from cannabis plants, to ensure adequate intensity for the different stages of indoor cultivation, thus increasing the space necessary for proper installation.
Of course, for any questions or advice we are available..... and may the light be with you:)