Hydroponic gardening and successful indoor gardening requires the right grow lights to meet your plants specific needs. The four most popular types of grow lamps are MH, HPS, fluorescent, and LED. All grow lights are not the same, and it pays to learn a bit about the similarities and differences among them so that you can get exactly what your plants need to thrive in an indoor garden.
Metal Halide Grow Lights
MH stands for metal halide, and metal halides are a type of high-intensity discharge grow light. Like all HID-type grow lights, they produce a lot of light for their compact size. They also have a long life and run efficiently based on the amount of energy used. A grow light is designed to produce different color spectrums, and the particular halides in your grow lamp will determine the light frequency, or color. This is important to an indoor gardener, because plants need different light color frequencies at different stages of growth. Blue-spectrum light is needed by young plants in the early stages of growth, while older plants ready to produce fruit or flowers require light in the red/orange spectrum. MH grow lights produce blue light. Like all HID lights, you will need to use a MH bulb with a ballast, to control the electrical current flowing to and through the grow light so that the grow lamp works properly.
HPS Grow Lights
HPS, or high pressure sodium grow lights use sodium to produce their light. HPS grow lights are a type of high-intensity discharge lamp, and also run through a ballast for a steady stream of electrical current flowing to the grow light fixture. Like the MH bulbs, HPS lights offer long life and efficient use, saving on replacement and energy costs. HPS grow lamps produce light in the red/orange range, which is useful when a plant is at the correct stage for reproduction, dormancy, or root and tuber development.
Fluorescent lights are a type of gas-discharge lamp. Like the aforementioned grow lights, they also require the use of ballasts for their proper function. This type of bulb does not allow for dimming. Fluorescent light bulbs produce less light intensity than do HID lamps such as the metal halide or high-pressure sodium varieties.
LED Grow Lights
LED stands for light-emitting diode, and it makes an excellent grow lamp, among its many other uses. It is based on a semiconductor, or a solid material that conducts electrical current. The color of light emitted from LED grow lights depends on the kind of semiconductor used in the bulb, and this allows for the flexibility of specific colors to be rendered in the LED light. This is a very high-efficiency grow lamp, more efficient than both fluorescent and HPS bulbs, and does not generate the heat commonly associated with these other grow light solutions. HidHut is the leading innovator in LED grow lights and offers the UFO and SuperNova LED grow lights.
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