Lighting for Growing cannabis
The growing space must have access to electricity since it needs power for the grow light, vent fan and other small devices. One outlet is plenty, but it needs a grounded power strip that has surge protection and will accommodate at least five to six plugs. Something that must be mentioned here is that both electricity and water are inside the growing area… and these things DO NOT mix. So it is very important that all electrical plugs are kept up off the floor so they are less likely to get splashed with water in case some is spilled while watering the plants. There have been more than a few growers who got busted because they had a house fire – either originating in the grow area or somewhere else in the home – and the fire department discovered the cannabis, then reported it to police. Good electrical practices help protect the grower from electrocution, fire, and the law.
Lights come in all shapes, sizes, wattage and type. A full indoor grow lighting kit should contain the following items. Bulb, reflector, ballast, timer and electrical inputs/outputs.
The grow light is probably the most expensive piece of equipment required for indoor growing. In the old days, the choices for grow lights were: large fluorescent, metal halide (MH) or high pressure sodium (HPS). These are the same types of lights used to illuminate large warehouses and gymnasiums. It is difficult to produce enough light with fluorescents, so most growers used MH or HPS lights. The problem with them is that they use a lot of electricity and produce a tremendous amount of heat.
Today, there is much better technology: LED grow lights. These use a fraction of the electricity, and produce a fraction of the heat compared to any other type of grow light. They are also much smaller and last several times longer. A 90-watt LED grow light, like the one pictured here, is perfect for any grow space up to a size of around 10 square feet. It even exceeds the luminous output of a 400-watt MH or HPS. The cost an LED grow light is currently around $100 to $200, which is actually less than a comparable MH or HPS set-up with bulb, ballast and reflector. Beyond that, the LED grow light will easily pay for itself through reduced electricity and longer life span. The high heat generated by MH and HPS lights can result in a fire hazard, and will certainly burn any plant that grows too close. Also, police in some areas have used infra-red heat detecting equipment to identify homes that are venting a large heat plume from high-heat grow lights. Police have even worked with power companies to determine whether high electricity usage may be patterned for running grow lights. All these issues are easily avoided by using an LED grow light.
Use a sturdy eye-bolt in the ceiling of the grow area and a small hanging chain so the light can be easily adjusted to the proper height. An electric timer is needed to adjust the length of time that the light runs throughout a 24-hour period. A conventional light source, like a reading lamp, inside the growing sanctuary can help with visibility since the intense red and blue colors of the LED grow light makes it difficult to see colors clearly. So a reading lamp helps the grower to see better when working on the plants. Just be absolutely certain to turn the reading lamp off when you’re done working so that it doesn’t generate extra heat or disrupt the light schedule during the flowering stage – this is very important!
The most popular choices
These lights are professional horticultural lights. They are developed by horticultural lighting companies and are tested to suit growing plants indoors. These lights are commonly called HID (High Intensity Discharge). Like the former lights these also come in kits with bulb, reflector, ballast and timer. They also come in different wattage and different shapes and sizes. If you want to grow good bud then you need a HID. A HID is the second most important purchase you will make next to choosing your strain.
Metal Halide (MH) and Mercury Vapor (MV):
The lights are HID lights and are used for the seedling and vegetative growth stages of your plant. They can also be used for flowering and are quite good too. They come in all shapes and sizes and range from 75W – 4000watts. These lights are very common and are a good kit for the indoor Cannabis grower.
Mercury Vapor is not as common as it used to be. It has almost been replaced byMetal Halide now. If you have a choice between the two it is best to stay with the new MH kits. MV also has a tendency to be slightly out of the optimal spectrum range.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS):
This is the lighting choice of many a Cannabis Cultivator. These lights come in all shapes and sizes and have a range of 75watts – 4000watts. These lights are in the perfect spectrum for growing cannabis and come highly recommended.