All elements of growing your own cannabis are crucial, but there might be none more important than lighting. Proper lighting can make or break your crop. Knowing proper lighting technique for growing cannabis is what will separate you from those who have tried and failed. Proper lighting technique is pretty straight forward, for the most part. Still there is a lot of nuance in the process. Here’s what you need to know about proper lighting technique, and what you might be doing wrong.
First, Why Grow Indoors Over Outdoors?
If you don’t want to mess around too much with proper lighting technique and/or it's your first time growing, it might be best for you to try growing outdoors first. However, there are several reasons to grow indoors.
There’s no question that growing cannabis outdoors is a lot easier and a lot less labor intensive than growing cannabis indoors. One of the advantages of growing weed indoors is that you obviously have much more control over your environment. Growing outdoors is more natural of course, but you are also left up to the mercy of factors beyond your control. Environmental factors such as the weather, the current temperature, and molds and fungus can all affect your grow. Of course other factors such as animals, law enforcement, or thieves should also be considered.
Hence, why many choose to grow indoors. This is where proper lighting comes into play. Growing indoors tends to have greater rewards, but it is a great deal more difficult.
Are You Using Proper Lighting Technique for Growing Indoors?
Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how indecisive you are) there are a lot of options for choosing indoor grow lights. Most work very well; it just depends on what your needs are. One thing you should know is that you must never ever use incandescent bulbs, such as normal light bulbs. This is not even growing 101; it’s more like remedial weed growing.
So, what are you looking for in a crop? What is your budget? How much space are you using? These are all factors that must be considered when figuring out your proper lighting technique.
You're on a Budget and Don’t Want to Use a Lot of Energy
If you’re on a budget and want to keep your energy costs low, your best bet is going to be using fluorescent bulbs. Most growers who use fluorescent bulbs prefer to use Compact Fluorescent Lights aka CFLs. You’ve seen CFLs before; they’re the twisty bulbs that are often referred to as energy efficient bulbs. Let me tell you, they are.
CFLs also don’t generate a large amount of heat, so they’re pretty great for small spaces. (just don’t pack too many into one place). Be aware though that fluorescent lights produce smaller yields than other types of lights. So if you’re growing to sell to a dispensary, or need a large quantity, these would not be your best bet.
You Want a Higher Yield in a Shorter Amount of Time
If what you’re after is a higher yield crop in a shorter amount of time, then your best bet as far as proper lighting technique is going to be High intensity Discharge or (HID) lights. These are lights you use when you want to maximize your yield. Let’s look at some different HIDs.
For the vegetative stage you’re going to want to go with a type of HID called Metal Halide aka (MH) lights. These emit a softer more bluish light than other types of HID and are best for younger plants. MH are the more efficient of the HID variety. Once you get to the flowering stage, in order to maximize your yield to its fullest potential, you will want to switch to High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights. When it comes to proper lighting technique, HPSs are beasts. They are very efficient, meaning they get you the highest yield per watt. They’re considerably easier to use than other types of lighting systems, in that you have a given distance from each plant depending on wattage.
The only downside to using an HID lighting system such as with HPSs, is that they generate a lot of heat. They generate so much that an additional cooling system is often required. If you don’t have the time or financial means, I would recommend going with another form of lighting.
Stay tuned for part 2!
Featured Image Source: Motherboard
What's your proper lighting technique? Tell us in the comments!