Using LED Lights To Maximize Your Cannabis Grow

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Categories : BlogGrowing Cannabis

Using LED Lights To Maximize Your Cannabis Grow


Utilizing LEDs during the growing process can save money on electricity and water use and even speed up the growth cycle. LEDs can also increase the potency of your crop.

One of the best ways to maximize your indoor grow, as lighting technology continues to advance, is by using LED either as a substitute or in combination with other kinds of grow lights. The benefits of at least adding LEDs to your grow space are legion. This includes not only reducing your energy consumption and utility costs. It can mean increasing product quality, as well as overall grow efficiency.

Traditionally, growers have used two different types of lighting during the indoor growing process. During the vegetative cycle of growing, they use metal halide bulbs with a blue spectrum of light. During the flowering phase, HPS (or high pressure sodium) bulbs are used by experienced growers to create red spectral energy via an orangey tint to induce flowering.

That said, traditional indoor lighting approaches have several different disadvantages. The bulbs use a great deal of energy and also produce a great deal of heat (requiring proper ventilation). They also lose their effectiveness relatively quickly, forcing the plants to work harder to get the light they need.

Luckily for growers, LED lights can overcome these issues – creating not only better cannabis, but reduced growing time and overall cost.

WHAT LIGHTS SHOULD I USE?

CFL HPS LED

Choosing grow lights is a process that depends on several factors.

CFL grow lights are still the best option if the height of the grow room is limited, stealth is important and you are operating on a micro budget.

MH/HPS lighting is good for spaces that are at least 1.5-2 meters high and getting the largest yields possible is your biggest priority.

LED lights, however, are clearly a new alternative for growers who are willing to spend the extra time to research new alternatives, spend more money to set up the initial installation and want to improve overall quality, including potency, which is the most important goal.

SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES OF LED GROW LIGHTS

While LED lights are not “new” technology (they have been around for the last half century), however up until last year, they lacked critical ability to produce certain kinds of light necessary for indoor growth. These days, cannabis cultivators can purchase LED light setups that allow them to eliminate the need to change bulbs and purchase expensive fans for ventilation.

LED lights also use between 60-90% less energy than traditional HPS or CFL bulbs. That said, if you buy low quality LED lighting, you are wasting both your time and your money. You need to invest in lights that are capable of producing a light spectrum that can fully penetrate your canopy.

LED lights however are increasingly seen as being able to increase the potency of the crop because they seem to help plants produce more trichromes.

Many growers are now experimenting with a mixture of both HPS and LED lighting – which seems to create the best of both worlds – high yields plus high potency. This may be because the combination of the two different types of lighting most closely mimics the natural sunlight that cannabis plants are exposed to when grown outdoors.

LED lights last longer than other kinds of growing lights. They have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Compared to HPS lights, which begin to lose their effectiveness after 2-3,000 hours of grow time and are only expected to last about 10,000 hours, LEDs last about 10 times as long.

LED light costs are also rapidly decreasing and are expected to halve again within the next four years.

While there is still a great deal of debate about whether LED lighting produces lighter yields than other more conventional types of growing, LED advocates claim that in fact their use can yield greater results – but it depends on the quality of the LED lighting that you purchase and set up – and how effective the lighting structure you construct is at bathing your plants in the right type of light for the specific stages of the growing phase.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE LED GROWING

Cannabis low cost

Growing plants with LED lights takes a bit of an adjustment. This is based on several issues. The first thing is adapting to the new growing conditions. LED lights generate both less heat and no infrared light, which means that ultimately plants need less water. That said, because growers frequently rely on the added heat from more traditional lighting, your grow room might need additional heat from another source. Overall, however, because of the increased energy efficiency of LEDs, the overall costs of energy use during the growing process will be much lower.

Mounting height of the lights themselves also matters a great deal – which means spending the extra time on mounting your new LEDs at the optimal height about the grow. The reason? The right lighting can actually increase yield and quality. LEDs need to be placed to maintain a wide, uniform light distribution that even reaches into the middle of your growing canopy. Setting the lights too high might increase coverage area, but reduces intensity. Setting your lights too low can also stress your plants. Luckily, LED manufacturers also include mounting recommendations with their equipment. Start there – and experiment accordingly.

LEDs can create a targeted light output – which means you can actually target a certain section of your grow with concentrated beams from one lamp. That said, your crop is actually better served when you install multiple lights in your grow room or facility. This allows the beams to overlap, creating a maximum light distribution throughout the canopy. This strategy could also save a great deal of money. However, this often takes the help of a skilled lighting installer. Calculate that into your planning and budget.

LED Grow light

Setting light cycles, which sets the rhythms for your crop’s biological cycle, is also critical for getting the maximum yield from your grow. With LEDs, you can not only control the actual light and dark periods (much like other lighting), but you can also manipulate exposure to different spectrums of light. With LEDs, you can set blue, white, red and far-red spectrums at different stages in the growth cycle. Crafting a custom light recipe can actually speed up the flowering cycle and reduces your grow time.

 

         
  Guest Writer  

Written by: Guest Writer
Occasionally we have guest writers contribute to our blog here at Zamnesia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, making their knowledge invaluable.

 
 
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