1

Grow Light Basics, Part 1: Bulbs and Coverage

5527702377_5cd17cedd1

 

Thinking about starting your first indoor grow? It’s easier than you may think.

In this first of a multi-part series on grow lighting, we’ll consider the different types of bulbs available and their respective benefits. In future installments, we’ll consider fixture and reflector types before moving to peripherals, including ballasts, timers, and controllers.

 

Color Temperature and the Plant Life Cycle

English: Kelvin Temperature Chart

Most plants go through a growth (also known as “vegetative”) stage and a flowering (also known as “budding”) stage. Each stage thrives under a different part of the light spectrum, represented by color temperature.

Lights with a color temperature of 5000 Kelvin or higher produce the blue part of the light spectrum and are ideal for the growth stage of your plants. Lights with a 2000 Kelvin color temperature, on the other hand, produce light in the red spectrum and are essential for the flowering stage.

HID vs. Fluorescent

To artificially create light within the right spectrum for your plants, you have two choices: HID grow lights or fluorescent grow lights.

HID lights are most common in grow lighting. To produce the red and blue spectrum with HID lights, you need high pressure sodium (“HPS”) lights and metal halide lights, respectively.

Linear fluorescent grow bulbs come in T12, T8, and T5, each more efficient and compact than the one before it. Today, T5 lights are used almost exclusively. Fluorescent lamps also come in a variety of color temperatures, so look for the right Kelvin rating before you buy.

Calculating Coverage

But how many bulbs do you need and of what wattage?

Coverage varies depending on the type of bulb and fixture you use, but at least as far as HID lighting goes, the “rule of thumb” is 50 watts per square foot. In lumens (the standard measurement of light output), that comes to about 1,500 lumens per square foot for metal halide lamps and 2,000 lumens per square foot for HPS lamps.

Fluorescent coverage is less precise and determined as much by the fixture as by the bulb itself. Unlike HID lights, fluorescent tubes run so cool you can place them as close to the plants as you want. This means the coverage of a fluorescent grow light is roughly the same as the dimensions of the lamp itself.

For more examples, check out our grow light coverage infographic:

Grow Light Coverage

Grow Light Coverage

Looking Forward

Next week, we’ll look at grow fixture and reflector types more closely. But if you just can’t wait, reach out in the comments section below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. We’re happy to answer your questions anytime!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Recommended Articles

How to Have Great Living Room Lighting As the place where you watch TV, read books, play games and entertain guests, the living room is easily the most dynamic area of the home. Therefore, ...
Gallery and Museum Lighting Art is in the eye of the beholder, but without accurate lighting the beholder may miss the brushstrokes. Whether it’s a small scale gallery or a full-...
Illuminating a Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt It's no secret that kids love to play in the dark; ask any child, anywhere. So why not host a fun glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt this year? Organizi...
The Best Lighting for Your Makeup Mirror It can happen to the best of us. You’re applying your make up in the mirror and everything looks flawless – or so you think. Just after you jump in th...
5 Non-Traditional Places to use Chandeliers In the past, it was unusual to see chandeliers beyond the “power” positions of a home, such as at the entrance or over the dinner table. It also used ...
Emergency Lighting Guide: Exit Signs Are you opening a new business or planning a shiny, new remodel of an existing place of business? One of the things you'll have to consider—whether yo...

1000Bulbs.com

Benjamin is a writer for 1000Bulbs.com.

  • Paul COPPAGE

    Go, Mr. Rorie, go!! – Paul C.