Grow Lights 101: What They Are and Why You Can't Just Use a Regular Light Bulb From Your House

grow lightsGrowing indoors can be complicated, especially when you're a new grower. One of the biggest obstacles that many growers face right away is the which type of lighting to use.

Unfortunately, the light bulb from your nightstand lamp won't cut it -- you'll need specific grow lights for your plants.

What are Grow Lights?

Especially in terms of growing indoors, a grow light is an artificial light source intended as a substitute for natural light. In a hydroponic system, these lights are invaluable because they give the operation the flexibility of being able to see growth in just about any type of light environment. A grow light works at a different wavelength than the lights in your home, which are usually incandescent or fluorescent lights.

Should You Use a Grow Light?

If you want to see growth, then the answer is yes, you should. A typical house light bulb doesn't produce the same growth-stimulating light like that of a grow light. There are two major reasons why a regular light bulb won't work: the light spectrum, and heat. If you've ever touched a regular 60-watt light bulb that's been on for awhile, then you know how hot it can get. Normal light bulbs produce a significant amount of heat during use, which the plants don't like. People often put regular bulbs closer to the plant since they don't produce enough energy, but in doing so the light bulb ends up searing the plant. Plants with a hydroponic light setup will need between eight and 10 hours of high-intensity light each day to achieve optimal health. So, a plant that sits under a regular light bulb for 10 hours is almost guaranteed to scorch. However, different plants also thrive under different colors of light. On the light spectrum, blue light is often used for foliage production, while the red side of the spectrum aids in the budding process of fruits and flowers. So the right light will need to be used depending on the type of plant.

When it comes to a successful grow operation, grow lights are only a portion of everything that needs to be taken into account. Proper soil nutrients, the right plant support, and things like efficient drain systems are all needed for optimal growth

Setting up a hydroponic system? Check out our list of products that can help you succeed.