Getting the right lights for growing marijuana
When it comes to growing medicinal marijuana indoors, choosing the right grow light can be make or break for the success of your plants. If you’re new to the world of marijuana grow lights, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the myriad of options out there.
Getting the right lights for growing marijuana is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are a number of factors that need to be accounted for to ensure your garden flourishes. From the type of lights you require, to budget and spacing concerns, it is important you find a light that caters specifically to your needs.
Feeling like you don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry! At The Hippie House, we’re indoor growing experts and have put together this guide to help make sure you choose the perfect grow light.
Growing indoors offers a host of wide-ranging benefits when compared with outdoor gardening. Here’s a couple of reasons why we believe indoor growing is the way to go:
- Climate – not all of us are lucky enough to live in areas that provide the amount of sunlight our gardens need to thrive. With indoor growing, as long as you do your research, you’re guaranteed to be giving your plants exactly what they need.
- Control – your plant’s wellbeing won’t be subject to inclement weather or any unforeseen changes in conditions when growing indoors. Thanks to indoor grow lights, you’re given total control over your garden’s growing environment so that they see optimal conditions all year round.
- Legality – while it is still illegal to buy and sell marijuana in Australia, recent changes in the Narcotic Drugs Act of 1967 allow marijuana to be cultivated to supply government approved manufacturers. With these changes come a strict set of rules and regulations, one of which requires you to obtain a license (which can take up to four years).
There are so many variables when it comes to finding the right indoor grow lights for medicinal marijuana. What works for one grower might not necessarily work for you. The trick is to have a well-rounded understanding of what you need, as well as the requirements of your plants. If your plants are happy, you’ll be happy!
There are three main stages of growth that your medicinal marijuana plant will go through: seedling, vegetative and flowering. Different types of light will promote different growing stages, making the spectral light output of your grow light an important decision. Ideally, you will have a light that supports all stages of growth, such as a full spectrum LED grow light.
Full spectrum grow lights aim to mimic the natural light of the sun as closely as possible. This helps ensure the growing conditions of your garden are as close as possible to what it would experience in a wild environment. While some grow lights focus solely on specific frequencies, the best results will be obtained with a full spectrum grow light.
If you decide to go with HID or fluorescent lights, it is recommended to run a combination of bulbs that output different frequencies of light to promote all stages of growth.
It may seem like we’re stating the obvious, but by spending a little more money you’ll be rewarded with far greater results down the road. While top of the line LED grow lights aren’t cheap, they’re highly energy efficient and won’t need replacement bulbs as frequently as fluorescent and HID lights. This means you’ll save money in the long run.
On the other hand, if you’re just getting started with indoor growing you may not feel ready to splurge on a top of the line grow light. If this is the case, it’s especially important to do your research and ensure that your chosen light will give your marijuana plants the best chances of success.
Hot tip: you can’t go past customer reviews and recommendations when it comes to indoor grow lights. With the grow light industry and technologies rapidly advancing, choosing a light with customer-proven results is always going to be a safe way to go.
Spacing is important both in terms of fitting the garden and lights into your space as well as getting the right amount of light coverage. Before you purchase your lights, you should know the dimensions of your growing space down to the last centimetre.
When it comes to light coverage, this will differ on a light-by-light basis. A good general rule is 400-600W per m2. You’ll find all the information you need in regard to light coverage in the light’s specifications when making your purchase.
What types of marijuana grow lights are there?
Before you get flustered by the sheer number of options out there, it’s important to understand the three main types of lights typically used when growing medicinal marijuana indoors.
Light-emitting diode lights (LED) are the newcomers to the indoor growing scene. They are seeing a rapid growth in popularity thanks to their high efficiency and great yields. Utilising the latest technologies, you’ll have to fork out a little more for LED grow lights, but it’s worth the initial outlay for the abundant results.
- Save on money and energy thanks to their outstanding energy efficiency.
- Promote all stages of growth with a full spectrum output of light.
- Produce very little heat compared to other types of lights, meaning your plants don’t get burnt and you save on cooling costs.
- No ballast or additional setup required.
High-intensity discharge lights have been the go-to for commercial and home growers alike since the nineties. Recently, their advantages have been somewhat dwarfed by the new technologies of LED lights, however they’re still an excellent option when it comes to growing medicinal marijuana indoors.
When looking into HID grow lights, it is important to understand that there are two types: MH (metal halide) and HPS (high-pressure sodium). Serious growers will use a combination of the two to provide a wider spectrum of light output, with MH lights producing a blue light which promotes vegetative growth, while HPS produce a red light which promotes flowering.
- Lower cost compared to high-end LED’s.
- A combination of MH and HPS bulbs stimulate both vegetative and flowering growth, producing strong yields.
- Easy to setup and operate.
Fluorescent grow lights, also known as CFL (compact fluorescent lamp), work particularly well in smaller setups, making these lights a great option for those looking to grow one or two small medicinal plants at home.
They are typically cheap and simple to set up and use, however you will be restricted to growing only one or two plants. If you think you might want to expand your garden at some point in the future, these might not be the lights for you.
- Simple setup and low cost make fluorescent lights a good introductory option for beginners.
- Save energy with low electricity consumption.
- Bulbs are available in various colour temperatures and wattages.
Note: CFL lights have a shorter lifespan compared to LED and HID, meaning you’ll spend more money in the long run replacing bulbs. They also leave a little to be desired when it comes to flowering growth.
ok, so which are the best grow lights?
At The Hippie House, we believe LED grow lights are the future of hydroponic gardening. Here are some of our favourite picks:
ELECTRIC SKY 300 V3This 330-watt wideband grow light replicates the spectrum of the sun for rapid vegetative growth and heavy flower yield.
viparspectra XS2000All stages of a plants growth are supported with the XS2000's sun-like output delivering incredible results from veg to flower.
If you’re more of a traditionalist and want to go with HID lights, these options might be perfect for you:
GROWLUSH 1000W HPS + MH DIMMABLE ELECTRONIC BALLASTWorks for both HPS and MH grow systems and plugs into any standard household outlet!
PRO GROW 1000W DIMMABLE DIGITAL BALLAST
These ballasts have been engineered to handle the highest voltage loads from any power grid (180V - 265V) and operate seamlessly in the harshest, hottest and most extreme environments on the planets.
For beginners, or someone looking to grow more discreetly, fluorescent lights could be the way to go. Here is our top pick:
HORTIVISION T5 FLUORESCENT GROW LIGHT - 324WBuilt with 95% reflective aluminium interior to maximise light intensity and distribution - perfect for the vegetative growth period of your plants.
How about an all-in-one grow kit?
If you’re an absolute beginner, a grow kit could be just what you’re after. They come equipped with everything you’ll need to get started, so you’ll be able to put all the focus on growing!
One of the best features of a grow kit is having a grow tent to keep your garden in. This allows total control of growing conditions, providing an optimal environment for your plants to thrive. Like lights, grow tents can vary greatly in their size and specifications.
Buying your lights and tent in an all-in-one grow kit will take the guess work out of your purchase to ensure your setup is compatible.
Here are some of our best indoor growing kits:
MARS HYDRO TSW2000 LED GROW LIGHT KITThe Mars Hydro TSW2000 LED grow light kit features everything you need to get started with indoor growing. This convenient all-in-one package will have your garden flourishing in no time!
SF2000 LED GROW LIGHT KIT
Spider Farmer's full spectrum grow lights are some of the best on the market. This complete grow tent kit provides everything you need in one package, perfect for beginners and experts alike.
If you're still thinking you need some help making the perfect choice, feel free to reach out to our support team of indoor grow light experts who can guide you every step of the way!