How Do Plant Grow Lights Work?


How Grow Lights Work

  • Grow lights work by simulating natural light and assuming traits similar to those that a plant outdoors would experience under ideal conditions. These electric lamps are designed to be used indoors and to advocate plant growth, flowering and fruiting by casting out the appropriate shades of light from the electromagnetic color spectrum. Different types of lighting will emit various degrees of light and colors needed for the photosynthesis process.

Flourescent Grow Lights

  • Traditionally, fluorescent grow lamps have been utilized to start seedlings or to provide illumination for low light plants. Not only are they inexpensive, but they can be found at both hardware stores and garden centers and are easy to set up and use. The benefit of using fluorescent lighting is that the lamps can be situated just inches away from seedlings or plants without risk of scorching the plants, since the lamps do not emit significant heat. Newer types of fluorescent grow lights such as full spectrum fluorescent light systems are more powerful than standard fluorescent bulbs and allow for more concentrated lighting, which is helpful for growing herbs, houseplants and cacti or for providing supplemental lighting in a greenhouse.

Metal Halide Grow Lights

  • Metal Halide grow lamps provide white lighting that is the most similar to natural sunlight. They are also arguably the most popular type of grow lighting due to the fact that they distribute light evenly and the bulbs have a very long life expectancy. Because Metal Halide lighting has a strong focus on both the blue and violet spectrum, it helps to stimulate the growth of leaves and vegetation which makes them an excellent choice for houseplants and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and cabbage.

High Pressure Sodium Lights

  • High-pressure sodium lights, more commonly known as HPS lights, are energy efficient and create extremely bright light. This type of lighting draws mostly red and orange from the color spectrum, which means that they are best suited for promoting flowering and fruit growth. HPS lighting is extremely popular in greenhouse settings where it helps stimulate fruit production in flowering vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. It is also ideal for gardeners, farmers and greenhouse growers who are in the flowering houseplant or cut flower industry. While HPS lights can be an excellent choice for many types of plants, the main downside of their use is that they emit high levels of heat and, as a result, must be used in conjunction with a ventilation system. Another issue with HPS lighting is that it helps with flowering and fruit production but does not promote healthy, even growth of the entire plant as a whole. As a result, plants can sometimes take on a pale, uneven tone or appear as if they posses symptoms of a nitrogen deficiency.

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