Up until a few years ago, Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting reigned as the industry standard for growing cannabis. Long ago, marijuana growers discovered the dual lighting systems covered the necessary light requirements for optimal cannabis plant growth.
MH bulbs emitting cool blue wavelengths provide an ideal lighting source for vegetative stage growth. However, they lack the necessary output from the red spectrum required for prime flower development. To remedy this predicament, growers switch to HPS bulbs when flipping the light schedule. These bright, high-intense bulbs cover the yellow, orange, and red wavelengths required to produce bodacious buds.
Several years back, LED grow lights manufacturers introduced a one-stop-shop for cannabis growers. Instead of switching from MH to HPS when flipping into the flowering stage, LED’s offer full-spectrum light for all phases of cannabis plant growth.
While early designers experienced some growing pains, modern LED manufactures are redefining systems to enhance plant growth development. Studying the intricate role of light’s contribution to marijuana plant growth, lighting designers have learned how to harness light control.
As LED lighting technology continues to unfold, exciting discoveries and designs are advancing cannabis cultivation. Read on to learn more about how to grow cannabis using LED lights.
The Science Behind Light Control
Light is an essential component in cannabis plant development. Shining down from above, the plant absorbs light energy and converts it into chemical energy through photosynthesis. Plants use the energy from light’s electromagnetic radiation at specific wavelengths most suitable for their development.
While plants absorb energy from wavelengths between 400 to 700nm for photosynthesis, different waves are necessary for specific functions. For instance, photosynthesis’s sweet spots for taking in enough light energy fall into two areas. Cool blue light wavelengths between 430 – 450nm drive vegetative growth, while longer red waves between 640 – 680nm encourage flowering plants.
The design of full-spectrum LED lights captures all of these essential wavelengths in a single fixture. By utilizing unique structuring, different light-emitting diodes can be strategically placed within a unit to encourage photosynthesis throughout the cannabis plant’s growth development. More interesting, the ratios between blue to red wavelength diodes within a fixture also promote plant growth.
LED Lighting Options for Cannabis Plants
Standard LED Panels
Some of the first LED lighting components introduced to the cannabis industry were panels composed of many small to medium diodes with compact lamps. These traditional fixtures showcased a combination of both blue and red spectrum wavelengths. While it took a few years of fine-tuning, these designs offer a mix of the wavelength spectrum, customized to a marijuana grower’s needs.
Chips On Board (COG)
This relatively new technology places an LED chip into contact with a substrate to produce LED ranges. COBs have a high lumen density, blasting the cannabis plant with bright white light. These powerful systems allow deep light penetration throughout the canopy as they mimic the sun’s rays. COB LEDs use a single circuit design, allowing for multiple diodes on a chip.