HID Lighting In Your Hydroponic Gardening
often find it essential to supplement the available light in
their growing area. This is particularly true when the growing
area is inside the home. Greenhouses offer more light, but this
is not always enough to produce healthy fruits, vegetables or
flowers. Grow lights take care of this need for added light.
It can be difficult for hydroponic gardeners to decide between
the numerous options available in the way of grow lights. Let’s
explore HID lights here and find out what they have to offer.
The letters HID is short for “high intensity discharge”.
These lights operate with a properly matched transformer, capacitor
and lamp, which consist of an inner arc tube possessing a chemical
mixture. Working together, these elements help provide a very
long-lasting grow light for any hydroponic garden. There are
two kinds of HID lights that I’d like to discuss today.
They are sodium and metal halide. These two offer different
benefits to the hydroponic gardener.
Metal halide HID lights emit a wider spectrum of light and can
include more of the blue and violet rays needed by plants that
do not get enough sunlight. These lights are very useful during
the vegetative stage of growth. Plants grown under metal halide
HID lights tend to grow shorter and stockier, this makes for
a stronger plant. Metal halide lights are also used more frequently
in foliage-only growing. An added advantage of the wider light
spectrum is that gardeners growing crops like flowers are more
likely to use metal halide lights because the resulting colors
of the flowers appear more natural in the less harsh light.
Sodium HID lights emit more red, orange and yellow rays, which,
when used alone can cause plants to grow tall and spindly. These
lights are used mainly when there is enough natural sunlight
present to produce the necessary blue and violet rays needed
by plants. Many hydroponic gardeners do prefer sodium lamps
to metal halide because sodium lights are more energy efficient
and often last longer.
Many growers use Metal Halide (MH) for vegetative growth, and
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) for budding and flowering. Only rich
growers can afford to run the two systems with their own shades
and ballasts, independently. Most growers use conversion bulbs,
which very conveniently use the corresponding system’s
fixtures. So if you have a Metal Halide system, use it for vegging,
then put in HPS conversion bulbs into the same system, for flowering.
What often works best in regards to healthier fruits, vegetables
and flowers is to use some combination of metal halide and sodium
HID lights. The combination provides adequate amounts of both
red and blue spectrum colors, both of which are needed for healthy
plant growth. Using a combination of the two will provide your
hydroponic garden with the best that both have to over. This
will translate into healthier plants and a more productive growing
Lights alone won’t guarantee bumper crops, but work together
with factors such as temperature and nutrition.