Grow Lights for Indoor Hydroponic Garden – Minneapolis St. Paul, MN
Of the four basic things every plant needs: light, water, nutrition, and climate, proper lighting is the most important. Adequate light is the key to photosynthesis. Without it, plants grow weakly, are leggy, and may even die. Since our eyes automatically adjust to varying light conditions, what appears bright can be inadequate for plant growth. Natural sunlight is ideal for plant growth. For indoor plants to grow, it’s up to the gardener to provide plenty of light with the proper color spectrum to replace natural sunlight. Normal electric lighting just isn’t up to the task.
Learn How to Make the Right Choices for Your Grow Lights
There are only three basic types of lighting suitable for indoor and hydroponic gardening. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. On this page, you’ll find a very brief explanation of each type of lighting. Click the links for additional information on the individual lighting types and to check out the outstanding products in each category available at our Minneapolis grow light store.
Grow Lights are a special category of lighting. Normal household lamps simply are not adequate for proper plant growth. Plants need bright, high-powered lighting to thrive. Here’s a chart to demonstrate why the lighting you already have can’t give plants the growing power they need:
In addition, normal household lamps just don’t have the proper color spectrum for gardening success. The sun produces a full range of colors, and plants require parts of the color spectrum not present in typical household light bulbs. Also, different periods in the growth cycle of most plants require different parts of the color spectrum. For each type of bulb, the light output is centered on the color spectrum as shown in this chart, and measured in Kelvin Temperature. As you’ll learn, each type of bulb is best suited for different uses.
Three Basic Types of Grow Lights
Over recent years a great deal of development and research has created three different types of grow lights that have proven themselves. Each of these systems has specific uses. Choosing the right equipment is important for your high yield and productivity.
Metal Halide (MH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC) grow lights fall into this category. They are intensely bright and ideal for indoor plants. All require reflector housings and ballasts to operate. In almost all cases, the same Sun System reflectors and switchable ballasts can be used to for both MH and HPS bulbs. LEC bulbs require specialized ballasts and reflectors. The area covered by these powerful lamps depends on their wattage. Ranging from 150 watts to 1000 watts, a single fixture can cover a small self-contained hydroponics garden or up to 20-40 square feet. Large installations will require multiple fixtures. Since HID lamp bulbs create a great deal of heat, proper venting, ducting and fans are usually needed.
- Metal Halide – These bulbs produce intense light in the blue-white spectrum – excellent for vegetative plant growth. A plant grown under a metal halide light will exhibit increased leaf growth and strong stem and branch development. They are less suited for the flowering and fruiting stages of most plants.
- High Pressure Sodium – These lamps produce an orange-hued light, which simulates the autumn sun. This light spectrum is best for fruiting and flowering – flowers and fruit will be larger and more prolific when these bulbs are used. Many indoor and hydroponics gardeners switch between MH and HPS bulbs, depending on the growth cycle.
- Light Emitting Ceramic – These new lamps were recently introduced to the market, and are rapidly becoming a popular choice by serious growers. Highly efficient and available in two spectrum ratings, they produce more light per watt than MH or HPS bulbs, with longer bulb life. Special ballasts and reflectors designed for LEC bulbs are needed.
Since fluorescent grow lights produce just a fraction of the power of Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs, they are generally unsatisfactory for general use. They are useful for starting new plants and for some compact hydroponics planting, but must be placed very close to the plants. To cover a 2′ by 4′ area, you’ll need a minimum of four 54-watt 4′ fluorescent bulbs, placed as close to the growing plants as possible. Even then, results may not be satisfactory and producing fruits and vegetables will be difficult. Still, fluorescent grow lights are well suited for the very early stages of plant growth, and are often used to start new plants.
Grow lights using efficient LED sources are relatively new. Early versions had insufficient power to be effective for most growers. Research is continuing into using LED lights, and many companies offer products for growers who want to experiment with them. We now carries products made by Spectrum King and AgroLED. We also carry AgroLED 41-watt T5 bulbs which designed to replace fluorescent bulbs in T5 fixtures. Affordable and powerful for LED systems, they’re a great way to experiment with growing under LED lighting.
Essential Plant Lighting Rules For Indoor Gardening
- Create Your Own Seasons Indoors With Grow Lights – Outdoors, plant growth is based on the time of year. As the cycle of light and dark varies from season to season and from month to month, plants move from vegetative growth to flowering and fruiting periods. Indoors, it’s up to you to create a schedule that gives plants the signals they need. Using grow lights and timers, it’s possible to control every phase of plant growth by varying timing and the color spectrum.
- Controlling Indoor Lighting and Hydroponic Nutrients – One of the most powerful of reasons for growing indoors is control. With outdoor gardening, you’re at the mercy of nature. Indoors, you can control everything. From lighting periods and spectrum to hydroponic nutrients and CO2 levels, you can create an ideal environment for your plants. You’ll find everything you need at our Twin Cities garden store to achieve success, including our grow tents that give you maximum control.
- Choose The Right Amount of Light – When choosing a light source, the requirements of the plant you are growing are important. Most vegetables, herbs and flowering plants require high levels of light, while some tropical plants including orchids and African violets will thrive at lower levels. Tell us what you want to grow, and our experts will guide you in selecting the right setup.
- Have Enough Light for Proper Plant Growth – The biggest mistake growers make is not getting enough light. It is always possible to reduce the level by moving the fixture farther away, but it’s not possible to add light by moving the lamps closer, since the coverage area decreases. For most serious indoor gardening, 1000-watt fixtures and bulbs are our most popular systems. Let us help you with your selection.
- Maintain the Proper Distance between Grow Lights and Plants – Fluorescent lights need to be 1 to 4 inches from the plants. High intensity discharge lights should be 1 to 3 feet from the plant. Make sure you change your bulbs on a regular basis, too. Fluorescent and HID bulbs will last about 15,000 hours, but they lose 25-35% of their intensity after 4,000-6,000 hours. You eyes won’t be able to see this decrease because they adjust, but your plants can feel it. Count on us to have the replacement bulbs you need in stock at our Minneapolis store.
Grow Lights For Every Indoor Garden – Twin Cities, Minnesota
Nothing is more important to the success of your hydroponic indoor garden than the proper lighting. We’ve carefully selected the very best, most cost-effective products on the market for this crucial need. At our Minneapolis retail store, our expert staff can help you put together exactly the system and configuration you need for your indoor planting, and at low prices that are unmatched. You can also assemble your own system from individual components. We’re dedicated to meeting your needs with the best, most affordable system possible. If you’re not sure exactly what you need, one trip to our store will give you the answers and help you save on the cost.