Basil and lettuce growing under T5 fluorescent lighting, unknown location.
Indoor lighting has evolved over the last 30 years. Back in 1980 all we could get was a gigantic Metal Halide bulb called the B-56. This beast was huge to say the least! Today we have a vast array of lighting systems to choose from starting with the traditional Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium, to DE (double ended) lamps, to LED lights, CMH (ceramic metal halide) and finally florescent bulbs of various light spectrum. All of these options can be customized for seedling, growth, and bloom phases of the plant’s life.
Examples Of Indoor Lighting Systems
Not sold on LED grow lights? Check out these studies!
Hortilux CMH 315
CMH stands for Ceramic Metal Halide which is a relatively new lighting choice for growers. The advantage to these units over traditional lighting system are several. They work by heating up a ceramic tube within the bulb. The higher temperatures create a plasma-like light source similar to that of the sun. For vegetative growth there really isn’t any other light source, other than pure plasma, that will produce better results. Electrical consumption is half that of the traditional 600 watt High Pressure Sodium bulbs with a far better light spectrum. A great choice for smaller rooms because of less heat output too!
Hortilux SE 600
This is an all in one unit with the ballast connected to the hood for easy grow room placement. This hood was specifically designed to be used with Hortilux bulbs and delivers 20 percent more light to the growing area. But the real advantage to this system is the fact that the ballast can handle 3 different types of lamps! That’s unusual. Being able to use either Ceramic HPS, Super HPS, or the Blue Metal Halide makes them stand out above the competition. This gives the grower complete control of the desired lighting spectrum throughout the growing season. Very cool!
Hydrofarm Phantom CMH
A great system producing the same great ceramic results similar to that of the Hortilux system but less expensive. A great choice for those wanting to run multiple lights. The reflectors can be set up for air cooling, which combined with the less heat from the 315 watt ceramic bulb, which again is equivalent to that of a 600 watt bulb!
Hydrofarm DE All-In-One
The DE stands for double-ended lamps. What? Traditional Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs screw into the mogul on one end only. That has been the standard in the industry until just a few years ago. With the addition of DE lighting we’ve found that the bulb being connected to two moguls, one on each end of the reflector, will produce a far higher PAR value. (photosynthetic active radiation), which is sort of hard to explain, but these types of bulbs far exceed that of traditional lighting sources. That translates to explosive growth in the flowering stage. The system is small and very easy to hang compared to some of the giant heavy reflectors of the past. These lights are the choice of almost all growers looking for the best possible yields and resulting quality of the final product.
Here is a prime example of what can be done at home with the use of inexpensive lighting and some imagination. Location unknown. Thank you to the photographer!
Now that you have picked the right lighting system for your garden, let’s learn how to install a grow light!