If this is your first grow, then yes, any light that you purchased will get the job done, but it may not get the job done as well as it could if you had the best lighting. Not to worry, after a few harvests you will become a seasoned grower and will be able to easily identify small enhancements (like the best lighting)that will increase your yield and make for great photos!
More light= more buds. It’s that simple. However, there is such a thing as too much lighting. Replacing the sun doesn’t have to be difficult. Your plant’s use sunlight as food. Using poor lighting results in small, weak, plants that produce little bud.
Chillax, I’ve got your back! I’ll show you how us old schoolers’ used to grow our herb, what your options are, and we’ll touch base on creating an optimal lighting schedule for your girls as well.
Lighting: Back in the Day
High-intensity discharge, more commonly known as HID are the OG’s of growing cannabis indoors. Once upon a time, it was illegal to grow your own cannabis, so some guy with a brain decided to bring a street lamp inside to grow his herb. Turns out, he was onto something and the massive industry of indoor gardening was born.
Sodium and metal halide are the two main types of HID lighting. They are intense and produce a lot of heat. If you can manage the temperature in your grow room, they do the job quite well.
Next came the fluorescent grow lights: CFLs. I am going to spare you the details on why they are not the best choice for your grow. In fact, I am going to skip them altogether.
Fast-forward to now, most people are choosing LED over CFLs for two reasons. One, they’ll produce a decent harvest, and two, they are inexpensive. Because there are so many options when it comes to choosing the correct LED lighting, it is best to do your research as some models will give you better results than others.
Types of Grow Lights
As mentioned above, there are technically three different types of lighting, but when it comes down to maxing out your yield either a high-powered LED or an old-school digital HPS is honestly the way to go. That is, of course, my opinion. And hey, what do I know? I’ve only been growing since you were a twinkle in your daddy’s eyes. Okay, not that long, but you get the point.
HID Grow Lights
Hello, awkwardly large bulbs that are typically screwed to a hood and reflects more light, yummy food, to your plants. HID lights are the best of the best when it comes to growing cannabis, but as I said, they get quite hot. Typically, you will set up a ventilation system (exhaust) to keep the temps at an ideal level.
LED Grow Lights
LED lights have become a thing. Cannabis growers are choosing LED as an alternative to HPS because they beat the heat. They run cooler and most lights have a built-in cooling system. You don’t have to move LEDs around as often as other lights like fluorescents, and they are very convenient to use: plug & hang.
Timing is Everything
Do not overlook your lighting schedule. This is a big newb mistake. Don’t be the guy that takes a decade for the lights to finally come on and realizes he can manipulate his plants into growing the way he wants them to by simply adjusting their lighting.
A typical lighting schedule during the vegetative phase is 18 hours on and 6 hours off. While a straight 12 on 12 offschedule is used during the flowering stage.
Here’s a juicy tidbit of information I’ll be you didn’t know: you can induce sexing in your plants faster by giving them a solid 24 hours of complete darkness right before you switch to the flowering phase.
There is no string of garlic that can protect your grow, but there are many little tricks you can use to max-out your yield-including lighting. Everyone has their own unique approach to growing. This is why you will always hear conflicting stories of which method works over another. Different strokes for different folks.
You could have the best lighting, the best nutrient program, and have mastered the art of low-stress training (LST), but the genetics of your plant and the grow medium you choose will affect your outcome. The never-ending journey to grow the dankest and densest buds will always keep you on your toes.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you understand the basics of lighting. While I can’t tell you the very best brand to choose, I can tell you that I’ve grown trees in my basement with HSP lighting for a very long time. Cannabis plants receive information by the type of light they are exposed to. Different types of lighting tell the plant to react in a certain way.
While we could go all Bill Nye and get into all the different bands of wavelengths in the light spectrum, the basics are as follows: blue lighting in the vegetative state and red lighting in the flowering period. Why? I’ll save that for a different article.