The science of hydroponics is slowly gaining popularity in the US. So what exactly is hydroponics? Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants without using soil. Plants are grown in a solution of water and minerals. Light plays a very important role as well. It has been noticed that plants do exceptionally well in this system. Since the plant receives its required nutrients and water directly, it can spend its energy on growth rather than searching for food. Also problems like weeds and soil growing pests are eliminated by using this method of cultivation.
Kinds Of Lights
There are many different kinds of lights used in hydroponic cultivation. These lights are normally used for indoor plants and plants that get absolutely no natural light. These grow lights are used with reflectors that help intensify light emissions and electrical ballasts that control the amount of current that is passed to the light.
One of the most common kinds of light used for large scale cultivation is the high intensity discharge lights (HID). There are two types of HID lights – metal halide and high pressure sodium. Metal halide bulbs are very efficient and have a broad blue spectrum that is essential for the growth of plants. It is because of this blue light that plants grown under metal halide bulbs look almost identical to plants that have been grown in natural light.
High pressure sodium grow lights have a strong yellow-red spectrum which helps plants to flower and fruit. Since they don’t have a very strong blue light, plants exposed to them at the growth stage tend to look a little unhealthy. These lights are also very efficient and can be used as a supplement to metal halide bulbs.
There is also a combination of metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs that are available in the market. These bulbs have the ideal light spectrums and, when used, produce high yields.
Conversion lamps are used to light metal halide bulbs and high pressure sodium bulbs from the same fixture at different times. So you could actually use a conversion lamp to light a metal halide bulb in the growing stage of the plant and high pressure sodium bulb at the flowering stage. The best of both worlds!
The other kinds of light used are fluorescent bulbs and incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent grow lights generally have a broad light spectrum, are cheap and have a long life. The downside to these lights is that they are of low-intensity and have to be placed very close to the plant for its effects to be felt. Fluorescent grow lights are good for house plants that already get some natural light.
Incandescent bulbs are good for lighting rooms but are the most inefficient grow light. They have a high red light but a very low blue light. Though they are the most inexpensive of all lights, it would be a better idea to use another option for grow lights.