How Grow Lights Impact Plant Growth
If you live in an area with a short growing season, then you will likely want to get a jump start on the gardening year by starting seeds indoors, then growing the seedlings on under lights. All plants need three items to thrive: water, nutrition, and light. Of these three, inadequate indoor light is often the one that lays waste the best laid gardener's plans for strong and sturdy seedlings. Grow lights impact plant growth depending on the amount of light they give and the quality of the light they emit.
Indoors, under artificial conditions, you are trying to emulate the useful parts of natural sunlight as much as possible for optimal plant growth, all other necessary ingredients being present. Since sunlight is much brighter than light from a grow lamp, you will need to leave the lights on for 12-18 hours per day to compensate for the lesser brilliance of the light from artificial sources.
The quality of light also plays a part in plant growth. improve overall quality with a digital ballast. Plants grow using blue and red light, depending on the stage at which they are. They use blue light for energy, stem growth and chlorophyll production, whereas they use red light for reproduction, dormancy, as well as root and tuber development. Since plants absorb a very small amount of green and yellow light, but instead reflect it away, this is the reason why plants look green. What this also means is that the green and yellow light a bulb puts out is wasted on a plant. It is more efficient to select bulbs that have greater blue and red light output.
Besides whether or not you have a hydroponic digital ballast, another factor to consider when you are using artificial lights is the age of the light bulb you are using. If the bulb has been used for nine months or longer, the light they produce after this time period is usually 30 percent less than when they were new. This means that your plants are receiving 30 percent less light, but it costs you the same amount of money to run the inefficient lights. It is much more cost effective to replace them at the start of each growing season.
There are different lamps available for growing plants indoors. HPS lamps are high pressure sodium lamps, and they emit red and orange light. This color light promotes flowering in plants. HID lights refer to high intensity discharge lamps and is a term used to describe both HPS lamps as well as halide lights. Halides produce blue light, which promotes plant growth. Both of these types of lights require the use of ballasts. A ballast controls the electrical current that flows through the electrical circuit. Grow lights are the plant lover's answer to growing great plants indoors.