The first question many growers start with is, "What sort of light do I need to grow my plants?" One of the most crucial elements of your indoor garden is the light source. The perfect light will give you the best harvest per yield; the wrong light can lead to entire crop failure. With so many different light fixtures and grow light kits around, it's hard to know what sort of light is the best light source for your plant. Here we will break down the three major types of lights out there and their best uses: H.I.D., L.E.D., and fluorescent grow lights. H.I.D.
High-Intensity Discharge lights are the most commonly used lights around. They're as close to mimicking the sun as you can get with a grow light, in both color and warmth. These have the ability to be used from seeding through harvest without a problem, and when used with proper cooling equipment, have shown to grow virtually anything you can think of: vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, flowers- you name it, H.I.D.'s can grow it, and grow it on a big scale.
H.I.D's are great for grow rooms, grow tents, and warehouse grows. You don't want to limit an H.I.D. to a grow tent (or grow area) smaller than 4x4' area because these lights pump out some major heat. Properly cooled and ventilated grow tents and grow rooms are great because the heat of the light can be circulated throughout the area instead of focusing on the plants directly. Warehouse grow rooms utilize H.I.D.'s because of their coverage area and intensity. H.I.D.'s traditionally have a large coverage area, and that space has intense light within it. This is perfect for a warehouse setting because areas that large need lots of coverage, and the more intense the better. Best uses: Anything grown in grow tents, grow rooms, warehouses. L.E.D.
One of the most rapidly growing technologies in grow lights today are Light Emitting Diode (L.E.D.) lights. L.E.D.'s are cool to the touch and give your plant exactly what it needs. Unlike H.I.D.'s that give your plant every spectrum in the color spectrum (plants usually waste 30% of the light given from H.I.D.'s), these lights are made with the specific wavelengths of light plants thrive off. L.E.D.'s are becoming increasingly popular for the flavors and aromas they can produce out of plants because of the specific spectrum's they target within the plant. There are also L.E.D.'s out there that have IR diodes to help produce resin growth. L.E.D.'s also have a large size range. Unlike H.I.D.'s that come in 250w, 400w, 600w, and 1000w sizes, L.E.D.'s range from 13-1000w's and more with plenty of sizes in between. It is also cool to the touch, so you don't need anything but a fan to cool the grow area. This means that you can grow anything from flowers and clones up to vegetables and fruits starting from the sprouting stage.
Houseplant growers and hobby growers love L.E.D.'s because of the compact size they can be and the safety of the cool diodes when growing herbs, spices, chili's, and flowers. Growers in tents and large rooms love them because they can grow just as well as H.I.D.'s in that size area without having to cool the area down. They also enjoy them for the intensity of light in the coverage area when growing fruits, vegetables, and bigger crops. Warehouse growers tend to need more L.E.D.'s than H.I.D.'s in their grows because of the light coverage they give off, so while they may use L.E.D.'s to save money on electricity bills, they need to purchase more lights than they would with H.I.D.'s. Best uses: Anything grown in a grow tent or grow room. Florescent
Fluorescent T5 bulbs are also relatively cool to the touch and are perfect for growers of leafy plants like spices, herbs, wheatgrass, or to keep clones fresh. What makes these lights great is that they're intense without being overwhelmingly hot, and are the equivalent to a vegging bulb, which is the only bulb you need with simple plants. You can use these in conjunction with H.I.D.'s or L.E.D.'s in increase the coverage over your garden or pick up spots of your plants that aren't being covered with light. Fluorescents are great in grow boxes or simple grow setups because they are intense but low temperature. Nurseries use them to keep their clones alive, and hobbyists love them because they're simple to use and replace. Best uses: Herbs, spices, wheatgrass, clones growing in the open or inside a propagation tray and dome.