Solar energy is the driving force of plant growth and is the energy used to power Photosynthesis.
During photosynthesis solar energy, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and H2O (Water) are converted into carbohydrates, which are used by plants for their energy and development.
Artificial electric lighting (Grow Lights) are used in hydroponics to stimulate plant growth by emitting an electromagnetic spectrum appropriate for Photosynthesis.
In all stages of plant growth, plants need spectral energy (light) between 400 nm – 700 nm (nanometre). This is technically known as “Photosynthetically Active Radiation” or “PAR”.
These combined spectral distributions provide all the light energy needed for plants and is the spectrum that Grow Lights focus on.
Grow Lights can be used as a primary light source when there is no naturally occurring light (e.g. in an indoor grow room), or they can act as a supplementary lighting source in a greenhouse to extend the daylight hours during the winter months when the available hours of daylight may be insufficient for an optimal level of plant growth.
Photoperiodism is the physiological response of plants to the length of day and night. Grow Lights allow growers to manipulate the Photoperiodism plant response.
Many flowering plants use a photoreceptor protein to sense seasonal changes in night length or photoperiod, which they use as a signal to flower.
For example some plants flower as the daylight hours get longer and others flower when the daylight hours get shorter.
A flower grower can therefore use greenhouse shade screens to reduce the daylight length and use artificial lighting to increase the daylight length in order to stimulate the flowering response.
This process allows a wide variety of plants to be grown out of season and contributes to the diversity of high quality flowers available on the market today at affordable prices.
Pure Hydroponics stocks lighting equipment to cover all growth stages and budgets.
Metal Halide (MH) Bulbs and Ballasts target the Blue end of the light spectrum which promotes compact and vigorous vegetative growth.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Bulbs and Ballasts target the Red end of the light spectrum which promotes vigorous flowering.
A Metal Halide bulb can only be used in a Metal Halide Ballast, and an HPS bulb can only be used in a HPS ballast.
Metal Halide Converter Bulbs are also available which can be used in an HPS ballast to save having to buy two different types of ballasts.
Vegetative Stage of Growth
In younger plants it is the region between 380 nm – 520 nm that is the most crucial. This region is commonly referred to as “Blue Light” spectrum. By having a lamp that targets the Blue light spectrum your seedlings become more stocky with shorter internode distances. This is especially important for flower growers who want a more compact plant with a dense abundance of high quality flowers.
If High Pressure Sodium systems are used for the vegetative phase, plants grow slightly more quickly, but will have longer internodes, and may be longer overall. It is therefore more preferable to use a Metal Halide Bulb and Ballast or a Metal Halide Converter Bulb in an HPS ballast during the vegetative stage to gain more of the Blue spectrum.
Many HPS bulbs already have an added Blue spectrum to allow them to be used for both the vegetative and flowering stages but for best results go for a Metal Halide Bulb during the vegetative stage and only use an HPS bulb for the flowering stage.
Pure Hydroponics stocks the German manufactured SolarMax lamps which deliver 30% more “nutritious” light radiation than standard lamps. The result is more vigorous, vegetative growth and stronger roots during the important early stages of a plant’s development.
Equipment available for the Vegetative Stage is as follows:
- Fluorescent Lighthoods for young seedlings – 8W, 15W, 20W, 30W, 40W (Single or Double bulbed units)
- Metal Halide Ballasts (Digital or Standard)- 175W, 400W, 1000W (Digital Ballasts are more energy efficient and produce less heat)
- SolarMax Veg Metal Halide Bulbs – 175W, 400W, 1000W
- SolarMax Metal Halide Conversion Bulbs – 400W, 600W, 1000W – These conversion bulbs are highly recommended as they allow a Metal Halide Bulb to be used in a standard HPS ballast without having to buy a special Metal Halide Ballast just for the vegetative stage.
All Metal Halide options can be sold as kits with a reflector, lamp holder, bulb, ballast and optional light rail mover.
For commercial greenhouse growers Lowbay units are available which have a built in ballast and are designed for greenhouse applications. Please contact us for more information.
Flowering Growth Stage
As plants approach maturity they require less “Blue Light” and depend more upon radiation from the “Red” portion of the spectrum between 610 nm – 720 nm.
A higher proportion of Red spectrum light will trigger a greater flowering response in plants.
The SolarMax HPS lamps have been engineered to constantly deliver 10% more targeted “Red Light” energy to the maturing plant to promote aggressive flowering.
Equipment available for the Flowering Stage is as follows:
- High Pressure Sodium Ballasts (Digital or Standard) – 400W, 600W, 1000W (Digital Ballasts are more energy efficient and produce less heat)
- SolarMax HPS Bulbs – 400W, 600W, 1000W
- Lowbay units with built in ballast.
All HPS options can be sold as kits with a reflector, lamp holder, bulb, ballast and optional light rail mover.
Please contact Pure Hydroponics for more information and pricing.