Hydroponic Lighting

As an avid gardener, I was always frustrated with the lack of light around my home. That's why I decided to start doing my research on hydroponic lighting to start growing my plants despite my darker area. I was actually quite surprised that there was so much to learn about the type of light and how exactly to use it!

I know how daunting it feels to learn about the different lighting systems when you plan to take up hydroponics. That's why I compiled all the research I did and how you can begin gardening the way you want to. So read on as I show you the bases of hydroponic lighting to help you out!

What Does a Hydroponic Lighting System Compose Of?

Hydro lighting systems produce artificial daylight plants need in order to grow. It consists of various components, with four major parts to look into when selecting the right system for you.

The System's Bulb

The bulb is the most important part here, which is what gives off the light your plants need. The popular and typical wattage for hydroponic lightbulbs is around 400 to 600 watts. Furthermore, most of the hydro gardeners around would use High-Intensity Discharge lights or HID.

These types of bulbs would produce light through sending arcs of electricity between electrodes encased in a glass combined with metal and gas salts. The gas will help create the arc, which would evaporate metal salts. As a result, there is a very bright white light that mimics the sun's rays.

There are two kinds of bulbs to choose from under the HID:

Metal Halide is an adequate all-around bulb that works for a lot of vegetable plants. If you can only afford or accommodate one bulb, I recommend MH. They're only about $100 to $150 for a 400-watt bulb, requiring replacement every two years or earlier, as it decreases in efficiency after a year or so.

High-Pressure Sodium bulbs are best for fruiting or flowering phase of all plants. While effective in helping your plants bloom, they're quite expensive! However, they save you money on both maintenance and replacement costs since they last even longer than MH lights, up to around five years. Sometimes, it can be about two years since it loses effectiveness as time goes by (around two years on average).

If you want the option of both lights, you can get a conversion lamp to switch between these bulbs.

Reflector Hood

Reflector hoods are the casing around the lightbulb, which helps increases both the effectivity and efficiency of the light. It does this by reflecting your bulb down to the plants and at different angles for a wider spread. Plus, it lessens the heat production of lights to save on both electricity and cooling expenses.

Remote Ballast

This is the power box that powers your light, either sold with your system or separately. These are best recommended for those who plant at home and are the most expensive component!

Electronic Timer

This is the cheapest part of your lighting system but crucial, especially with mixed plants. They need to have the heavy-duty construction and can be either electric or manual with ground dower.

What Does Your Plant Need?

Once you realize what a hydroponic lighting system's made out of, you also have to consider your plants. Not only do they have different watering needs, but they also require a certain amount of light to bloom.

That's why it's crucial to also invest in an electronic timer with your lighting system (if not yet included), especially if you're growing more than use one type of plant. There are general guidelines for the light exposure to plants, with some requiring shorter or longer times of "daylight."

Short Day Plants

Short day plants only require minimal sunlight, as they need darkness for photosynthesis and flower production. If you expose them to daylight for over half a day, they won't flower. When using artificial light, you can choose the short day cycle, which mimics environments based on springtime.

Plants that only require minimal sunlight or light are chrysanthemums, cauliflower, strawberries, and poinsettias.

Long Day Plants

Long day plants require the most sunlight for longer periods. They need up to 18 hours of light daily, mimicking the summertime.

This type of lighting is highly recommended for summer plants and flowers for them to bloom well. Long day plants include spinach, turnips, lettuce, and wheat.

Day Neutral Plants

These are my favorite types of plants since they're most flexible and don't have a set time of light required. These plants would produce flowers or harvest regardless of how much light they're exposed to. Day-neutral plants are roses, corn, eggplant, and rice!

If you plan to mix different day plants, then you'll need to consider their individual needs and schedule it. It's best to schedule the lighting in the middle, which is about 14 hours of light a day. It's enough for your long day plants while still ensuring that short-day plants get enough darkness to bloom.

Wrapping It Up

I hope this article on the basis of hydroponic lighting gave you an idea of what to invest in! So don't wait any longer and start looking into companies like Hydro World to invest in good lighting systems for indoor gardening now.

If you have any questions or want to share your own knowledge on hydroponics, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated.