Whether your operation is indoors or in a greenhouse, here are some pointers to get you started.
The benefits of working with variable spectrum LED lights are huge. You can boost yields, create an even higher quality product, and drive profits through the roof.
This is the red spectrum’s time to shine, so to speak. Up until now, you’ve been shielding your plants from a blast of red light to prevent stretching, but now your plant needs all the photons it can get. Turn your red light spectrum—that’s red and deep red—up to 100%. This maneuver helps you get those higher-than-ever yields.
Here’s what a typical growth cycle should look like:
One last tip for greenhouse lighting: Make sure you choose supplemental LED lights that are designed specifically for greenhouse use. You want fixtures with a slim profile to minimize shadowing. If your LED lights are blocking your plants from the sun, there’s not much point in having a greenhouse operation, to begin with. We recommend checking out California Lightworks’ GH Pro 340.
Of course, this is all strictly indoor lighting. If you’re growing in a greenhouse, the considerations are a little different.
The rest of the channels in your variable spectrum can stay at 100% as well. It’s all hands on deck in the flowering stage. Too much blue light will divert energy to the leaves and away from the buds. This will give fluffy buds with a lot of leaves. Very high power in red with a low level of blue is the key to maximizing yield and dense flowers.
This is where you manage your potency and chemical profile. As you recall, blue and white light are the heroes when it comes to producing trichomes. Prioritize blue and UVB at 100%, and turn red down to about 50%. This is how you get those sticky buds everyone is looking for.
The spectrum you select tells your plants what to do when by guiding them through the seasons. If you’re growing indoors, you have to completely recreate the sun for your plants through variable spectrum LED grow lights.
With LED grow lights growers can mimic the light spectrum plants would receive from the sun in an outdoor grow. But it's a precise science. Learn more here.
It is also during this stage that many growers use manipulation techniques to shape plants to increase yields. But aside from the various plant manipulation techniques used by growers, there is one other vital component that prepares a vegetative plant for a strong finish: the artificial light source.
Another big advantage of T5 fluorescents is their heat dissipation. Fluorescents are cooler-running than typical HID lighting fixtures, meaning the lights can be placed closer to the plants.
The largest disadvantage of LEDs is their price. Although an increasing amount of LED manufacturers continues to bring the price down, LEDs are still more expensive than other commonly used lighting technologies.
First of all, always keep the light source as close as possible to the plant canopy. For vegetative growth, increased light energy equates to tighter node spacing and more robust stalks, depending on the crop.
Advancements in HID lighting technologies—more specifically, the design and construction of the lamps themselves—have created HPS bulbs with more full-spectrum outputs.
As this technology is developed more for horticultural purposes, it is plausible that sulfur plasma lighting will eventually become the standard light source for indoor horticulture. Like LEDs and induction fluorescents, sulfur plasma lights last for 10-15 years without significant depreciation of usable light energy.
Regardless of the type of lighting technology one chooses for vegetative growth, there are a few general rules of thumb that will help growers maximize their growroom’s light energy.
Gardeners looking to grow monster plants should definitely consider HID lighting for the vegetative stage. Other lighting technologies lack the punch to produce tight node spacing (shorter distances between branches) on taller plants. The HID lighting category includes metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS) lights.
Metal Halide – MH lighting is one of the most popular choices for vegetative growth among indoor gardeners. The high amount of blue light emitted by MH bulbs makes this particular type of lighting an attractive option.
Starting off with the appropriate vegetative light can make a world of difference when it comes to yields.