Growing crops indoors allows those managing the operation to exert an unprecedented level of control over the plants' environment. Indoor growers can control everything from light intensity and duration to CO2 levels in the air, but that's only a benefit if growers know what to do with all that extra power. Before considering more advanced methods for improving plant health and increasing yields, take a moment to learn how to choose the best lights for indoor plants. Lighting is one of the most important investments indoor growers will make, so it's worth the extra effort to find the right ones.
Know the Intended Use
Different plants have different needs when it comes to lighting, so indoor growers should choose their crops before purchasing lights. Those interested in learning about different types of lights for indoor growing can learn more from Agron. For now, just note that choosing the right lights requires knowing what crops they will support, how large the crop will be, whether the system will run year-round, and whether the light can be mounted or will need to be mobile.
Consider Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is important to just about all indoor growers, whether they're cultivating one plant or running large-scale commercial operations. Since lights may need to be run for up to 24 hours per day, what seem like minor differences in efficiency can lead to exorbitant electric bills. Out of all the options available to growers, including HID, LED, florescent, CMH, MH, and DE lights, LEDs are by far the most energy-efficient option.
Look for a Full Light Spectrum
Plants grown outdoors receive a full spectrum of light, which most plants need to carry out photosynthesis. Growing plants indoors under the wrong lights can wind up depriving them of some of the wavelengths of light they need to photosynthesize with maximum efficiency, which can lead to stunted growth and decreased yields. Although not all plants require all wavelengths of light in every stage of their growth cycles, it's smarter to purchase LEDs that offer a full spectrum of light when plants need it most.
Buy Adjustable Fixtures
As plants grow, indoor growers will need to move their light fixtures higher up to prevent burns. Not all grow lights are designed to be adjustable, so growers should check to make sure they will be able to mount their fixtures at an appropriate height. Growers who don't plan on spending all their free time monitoring their plants may also want to purchase lights that can be placed on a timer to turn them on and off as needed so they don't have to worry about it.
Buy From a Reputable Manufacturer
It's not worth cutting corners when it comes to lighting. Poorly manufactured lights won't last as long and will cause more problems for growers. If they stop working at just the wrong time, they could even cost indoor growers an entire crop. Specialized grow lights can be expensive but they are a sound investment. Reputable manufacturers offer warranties on their products to add an extra level of security, so it's worth spending the extra money on decent lights.
The Bottom Line
Without light, plants can't survive, let alone grow, thrive, and produce heavy yields. Whether growers are just getting ready to plant indoor crops for the first time or they want to scale up smaller operations, they should invest in high-quality equipment, especially when it comes to lights.