Cannabis plants need light to grow. But not all types of lights are equal when it comes to growing cannabis. There are many different kinds of lighting available today, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some types of lighting do not produce any heat at all while others generate high levels of heat which can cause damage to your marijuana plants if left unchecked.

In general, there are two main types of lighting: fluorescent lamps and incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent lamps produce a bright white light which is ideal for growing cannabis outdoors. They provide the most amount of light without producing much heat. Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, produce a dim yellowish light that is perfect for indoor growing conditions but they have been known to burn out quickly so make sure you replace them regularly.

Fluorescent Lamps

These are the best kind of lighting for growing cannabis indoors because they give off very little heat and produce a bright white light. They’re also easy to work with and don’t require any special tools or electricity. These lamps come in various sizes, shapes, colors and designs so you’ll always be able to find one that fits your needs. You may even want to consider getting some extra ones just in case something happens to go wrong during the flowering stage!

Grow lights are also very easy to set up. They’re designed to hang from the top of your grow area or tent so you simply screw in the base, turn it on, and you’ve completed your lighting setup! All you have to do is find a way to adjust its height as your plants grow taller.

If you’re using grow lights indoors, make sure that only the tops of your plants are getting direct light. When setting this up, keep in mind that your light source should be at least several inches above the topmost leaves of your cannabis plants. After a day or two, you’ll start to see new growth appear. This means that your plants are absorbing all the light they need.

For the most part, these lights will keep your plants alive but they may not be adequate for the flowering stage. If this is the case, you can simply leave the lights on for about 18 to 24 hours per day to encourage budding.

Incandescent Lights

These types of lights give off a dim yellowish glow and they’re usually advertised as grow lights as well. This type of lighting does not provide enough light for healthy cannabis growth and it should only be used if you have no other light source available. Incandescent lights will also produce a lot of heat so they’re not as efficient as fluorescent lights.

Incandescent lights are most commonly used as a back up when the power goes out, or during the vegetative growth stage. They aren’t very practical unless you have no other lighting options.

HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Lights

These types of lights are also known as grow lights or HID lights. They produce a lot of light while producing a lot of heat as well. This type of light is generally not recommended for indoor growing unless you have a separate room just for your plants. They come in two forms: Flood and Bias.

Flood lights are best for a space no smaller than 4 feet by 4 feet. These lights work best for cannabis plants that are well established, at least a few weeks into the flowering stage. Bias lights are better suited for early growth and should be used for the first few weeks of life until your plants are large enough to need Flood lights.

Fluorescent Lights

You can get these pretty cheap at just about any store and they’re great for the vegetative growth stage of your plant. You’ll want to use these from when you first set up your grow area until your plants are large enough to need HID lights.

When your plants get to the flowering stage, you can make the switch to incandescent lights since they don’t produce nearly as much heat as HID or fluorescent lights do.

Lighting Summary

Here’s a breakdown of each type of light and when you would use them:

Incandescent Lights – Not recommended unless you have no other options. They produce hardly any light and put out a lot of heat! Best used as a back up when the power goes out or for the first few weeks in the vegetative growth stage.

Fluorescent Lights – Great for lighting your plants in the vegetative growth stage. You’ll want to get a few of these for your grow area and make sure they’re right above where most of your plants are growing. When they get to the flowering stage, you can replace these lights with incandescent lights since they don’t produce as much heat.

HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Lights (commonly called “Grow Lights”):

These lights come in two forms: Flood and Bias.

Flood lights: Best for a space no smaller than 4 feet by 4 feet. These lights are best suited for marijuana plants that are well established, at least a few weeks into the flowering stage.

Bias lights: Better for early growth and best used for the first few weeks of a marijuana plant’s life until it’s large enough to need flood lights. These lights are best for a space no smaller than 4 feet by 3 feet.

HID lights are generally the most efficient, but they’re also the most expensive to buy and maintain. They also produce a lot of heat so your space will need extra air flow and possibly even cooling if you get a lot of bulbs.

LED Lights

LED stands for light emitting diodes. These lights are much cooler than fluorescent or HID lights so your space will require less air flow and possibly even no extra cooling at all.

The only downside to these lights is that they don’t produce as much light making them less efficient than other options. The vegetative stage is not an issue, but these lights won’t be enough to keep your marijuana plants happy during the flowering/budding stage unless there are a lot of them and they’re very close to the plants.

LED lights are also the most expensive option.

If you do decide to get some of these, I would recommend getting the blue and red spectrum bulbs since they’re the closest match to the light produced by the sun.

Additional Lighting Options

Now that we’ve gone over all of your lighting options, here are a few tips to help you get started if you decide not to go with what I’m using in this tutorial.

If you’re using fluorescent lights, I recommend using:

Cool white (true cool white, not “cool white grow tubes”) for the vegetative stage.

Actinic blue for the flowering stage

T5’s are great grow lights and make a good choice if you’re using fluorescent lighting. They also conserve a bit more energy.

If you’re using HID lights, I recommend:

Metal Halide for the vegetative stage.

High-Pressure Sodium for the Flowering Stage.

HPS bulbs are more efficient than CFL’s and they produce a great light for your marijuana plants, but they also cost quite a bit more money. In fact, the bulbs are the most expensive part of running an HID light. If you can afford them though, they’re definitely a great option.

HID lights are also good at conserving energy since they produce so much light from only one bulb. The ballasts that come with most kits are not very efficient though, so you may want to seek out more efficient ballasts online if you go this route.

Whatever lighting option you decide on, make sure you get light sockets with chains and hooks so you can raise and lower your lights as your plant grows.

 

Sources & references used in this article:

Influence of short-term storage temperature and duration of canna rhizomes on subsequent greenhouse forcing by MG Blanchard, ES Runkle – IX International Symposium on Postharvest …, 2008 – actahort.org

Greenhouse Propagation of Ornamental Cannas Grown from Rhizomes or Seeds by J Verchot, A Webb – 2015 – shareok.org

Defect-assisted synthesis of magneto-plasmonic silver-spinel ferrite heterostructures in a flower-like architecture by …, C Cara, V Grillo, S Enzo, A Musinu, C Cannas – Scientific Reports, 2020 – nature.com

Canna plantBugle Boy by RJ Roberson – US Patent App. 08/226,211, 1995 – Google Patents

Summer Flowering Bulbs by L Sagers – 2012 – digitalcommons.usu.edu

Canna plant namedRoblibsca by RJ Roberson – US Patent App. 08/576,341, 1997 – Google Patents

Canna generalis plant namedRoblibcan by RJ Roberson – US Patent App. 08/985,237, 1999 – Google Patents

Pollination biology of Canna indica (Cannaceae) with particular reference to the functional morphology of the style by E Glinos, AA Cocucci – Plant systematics and evolution, 2011 – Springer

Methylated anthocyanidin glycosides from flowers of Canna indica by J Srivastava, PS Vankar – Carbohydrate research, 2010 – Elsevier

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