Advanced Lighting Technology for Growing Cannabis

Posted by on Nov 4, 2020 in Blog, environmental industry, sustainable business | 0 comments

Advanced Lighting Technology for Growing Cannabis

If you’re familiar with outdoor cannabis growing, chances are you’ve at least considered bringing your operation inside. Indoor growing gives you more control over crop inputs, reduces problems with pests, and lets you grow year-round. It also takes some specialized equipment.

Advanced lighting technology can make a huge difference when it comes to crop yields and product quality. The average consumer doesn’t think about all the time, money, and effort it takes to produce a THC cartridge. Growers know better. They know that investing in quality lighting is the best way to get an indoor operation off the ground.

Whether you’re planning to grow a few plants in a closet or a full commercial crop, you need high-quality lights. You’ll find everything you need to know about the current state of lighting technologies to make an informed purchase below.

The Great Lighting Debate

Every grower has a personal preference when it comes to lighting types. There are plenty of options out there, and each has its unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Don’t get sucked in too deep. Instead of buying the hype, consider your individual needs and how each product might accommodate them. For now, let’s start at the beginning.

Here are all the types of lighting you might find at indoor cannabis grows:

  • Compact fluorescent (CFL) grow lights
  • High-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights
  • Ceramic metal halide (CMH) grow lights
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) grow lights
  • Choosing the Best Option for You

There’s no one right choice when it comes to growing lights. As long as you buy lights that are designed specifically for indoor crop cultivation, they should work. If you have a tiny space, a CFL bulb or two might get the job done. 

For larger grows, try a 400-600W led grow lights. Most large-scale commercial growers use either high-end LEDs or HIDs. Just keep in mind that the latter will produce a lot of heat. You’ll need to install a ventilation system.

Recent Technological Advancements

Not long ago, LEDs were considered prohibitively expensive. Only successful commercial growers could afford to buy these recently developed and technologically advanced fixtures. Thankfully, the price point for LEDs has come down significantly.

Since LEDs are the most recently developed lighting category, that’s where most of the technological advancements have been happening. That could wind up being a massive boon to cannabis growers. 

Ever-Increasing Energy Efficiency

LED lights are by far the most energy-efficient option available to today’s growers, and they’re getting more efficient all the time. These lights require a substantial initial investment, but they make up for it in reduced monthly bills. In places where local municipalities cap indoor growers’ power allotment from the grid, the trade-off is worth it. For the rare off-grid grower, LEDs are the only viable option.

Full PAR Spectrum Increases Yields

PAR, short for photosynthetically active radiation, is the wavelengths of light that drive photosynthesis. In simpler terms, that’s the light that plants use to facilitate vegetative growth and flowering. LED lights provide full spectrum PAR. 

Some technologically advanced LEDs give growers the ability to control the wavelengths of light produced within the PAR spectrum. Experts used to think cannabis plants needed more blue-spectrum light during the vegetative stage and more red-spectrum light during flowering. Professional opinions on this subject have changed in recent years. 

Now, experts believe that lighting intensity is more critical than a specialized spectrum. Plants can benefit from all PAR wavelengths. You just need to make sure you buy an LED that produces white light.

Matching Plants’ Circadian Rhythms

Every good cannabis grower knows that you need to change how much light the plants are receiving throughout their growth cycles. Seedlings need 18-24 hours of light. Plants in the vegetative stage can benefit from an 18/6 light-to-darkness schedule. Flowering plants need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness per 24-hour period.

Modern professional led grow lights make it easy to control light periods. You can just set them to a timer, then check the lights periodically to make sure they’re working as intended. That means no need for waking up at odd hours to switch off the lights in your grow room.

Some modern LEDs go one step further. They gradually alter the light intensity to mimic the conditions at dawn and dusk. Some growers believe this helps the plants maintain a natural circadian rhythm. The jury is still out about whether lights with this advanced feature are worth the extra money.

Vertical Growing

Some of today’s LEDs are more specialized than others. Commercial growers operating in urban areas where space is limited can benefit more from specialized fixtures than most. If you’re growing in limited space, consider purchasing LEDs designed for vertical farms. They’re compact, efficient, and designed specifically with vertical growing in mind. Using these specialized LEDs can help you get the most out of any space.

Smart Lights

By now, you’ve probably heard of smart devices. Smart devices are equipped with wi-fi or Bluetooth technologies that allow them to collect, transmit, and receive data. In the case of grow lights, people usually use them in greenhouses where they need supplemental lighting.

Smart lights rely on sensors. These sensors determine current lighting levels in the greenhouse, then send the information to the lights. If the light intensity is too low to support optimal growth, smart lights can tell using the sensors’ data. They’ll turn themselves on and off as needed to supplement natural daylight.

Choosing the Right Vendor Is Key

Not all LEDs are created equal. If you want to find the best indoor grow lighting products, you’ll need to buy from specialized led grow light manufacturers. The regular bulbs and tubes designed for household use won’t do it. They’re designed to produce a different light spectrum that’s more appealing to the human eye. 

Warm white household LEDs look more like incandescents, which is excellent when it comes to consumer appeal. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for plants. Cannabis plants need the blue light associated with white light LEDs to grow and thrive, especially during the vegetative stage.

When Aren’t LEDs a Good Fit?

The primary drawback of LEDs is their initial investment cost. If you’re trying to set up a large-scale grow on a limited budget, LEDs may not be the best option. They’re much more cost-effective in the long run, but it can be hard to find loans for cannabis-related business expenses. HIDs may be a better fit for your situation if you don’t have the working capital for LEDs.

Are LED Grow Lights Better?

Some growers prefer LED lights because they don’t emit as much heat. That reduces the need for ventilation and cooling in greenhouses or grow rooms. You can also place these lights closer to the plants’ canopies, helping growers with small spaces or vertical farms.

The Best Lights Create the Best Cannabis

Growing cannabis indoors comes with some challenges, even for experienced outdoor growers. If you’re just getting your first grow room or greenhouse set up, know that adequate lighting is critical. High-quality led indoor grow lights can help you increase yields and improve product quality. Not all LEDs are created equal, so make sure you buy from reputable manufacturers.

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