For many growers, this season is when the planning begins for the next growing season. Cannabis grow planning for some might mean upgrading old lighting equipment; for others, it means learning some lighting tricks of the trade, aka canna-hacks, to improve your lighting and maximize your home cannabis production.
We all learned in middle school that light is the primary source of life for all plants; that includes cannabis plants. Therefore, growers won't produce quality cannabis plants and buds without plenty of light. Keep in mind that, on average, the cannabis plant needs twelve hours of darkness each day to flower. Therefore, growers must devote extra time determining optimal light conditions throughout the growing cycle.
In nature, cannabis adapts to the environment and the access to light it typically has, but when grown inside, knowing a canna-hack or two on how to manipulate the best light for your growing buddies will help your closet potentially produce loads of cannabis.
How Many Lights Do I Need?
The number of lights you need will depend on how many cannabis plants you plan to grow. Most states restrict how many plants can be produced per household. For example, some states limit home growers to as few as three plants, while some states allow up to twelve plants; the research shows that two lights should be plenty for six to twelve plants.
Your light size will depend on the number of plants you plan on growing and the size of space you are using. If you plan to grow in your closet or a grow tent in your home, you will only use one small light in smaller spaces. If you have a room in a basement, you could invest in a more considerable light instead of two small lamps.
They say that power equals pounds, and if you want big yields, you'd need to add the wattage. The professionals use LEDs starting at 200 watts and go from there. Using a high-watt light can do double duty over several low-watt bulbs.
How Much Money Are We Talking
The first thing you must consider will be the Benjamin's; how much are you willing to spend on your indoor cannabis crop. Growing technology constantly improves like all technology; it gets better and more efficient all the time.
When you start shopping, you will find lights under $100, but you must do your homework; many cheaper lights may be low quality and not produce the correct light spectrum. Some home growers spend as much as $2,000 on large LED lights. When doing your homework, be sure to read the reviews; you will get plenty of advice on lights and more; these reviews will be a great resource in your research and development. Considering how much cannabis you will be growing and how long it might take to pay off that investment.
Finally, the last thing to consider will be your utilities; all lights will add to your electric bill monthly, some will add more than others. For example, high-intensity discharge lights (HIDs) may be cheaper, but your bill will skyrocket. On the other hand, LED lights are more efficient and easier on the purse strings.
Keep reading to learn four lighting tricks to maximize your cannabis grow.
1. Bulb Maintenance
When running on empty, you aren't providing much value at work or home; the same goes for your lighting game. Whether you use standard lights or LED, you must check when they have started to no longer perform at a high level. In time, all bulbs lose efficiency, and if you don't stay on your bulb game, you might not notice the intensity has diminished; your lights should be checked every six months. A complete grow cycle with 2-4 grows will most likely require you to switch the bulbs after twelve months have passed.
If we are sharing canna-hacks, another rule to follow is to avoid touching your bulbs. Your fingertips can stain the bulbs' surface, which might shorten your lights' lifespan. If you are not careful, frequent contact with the bulbs might even lead to the bulbs exploding. So, take good care of your bulbs.
2. Adjust The Height
You will often have sufficient light but have a great distance between your low-reaching flower (depending on the grow stage) and your elevated light setup. However, there will be other times when you grow a tall plant, and it's too close to the lights, and the light will fry the top of the plant. If you plan to grow at different times of the year, it's wise to install a system that allows you to adjust the height of your lights to fit your different stages of growth.
Installing tons of lights won't improve your yield; it depends on your growing space. It is suggested to stick to around 500W (minus or plus 100W) per 10 square foot space. When using HID lamps, you may want to remain cautious when using these lamps as they emit more heat. Sometimes using just one extra HID lamp to grow will make all the difference with excess heat. It is also vital that every part of the plant receives sufficient light.
Using HIDs, LEDs, or standard bulbs will send shining light above your cannabis crop, but no matter what the reviews say, that overhead light is going to send beams of light in every direction. Of course, some will undoubtedly reach your plants and fulfill their intended purpose. However, the rays that fly upwards, well, that's a lot of wasted energy and money; money you spent on these lights, as well as what you are spending on that electric bill.
Utilizing reflectors divert that wasted light back down to your cannabis plants, increasing light coverage and intensity: the result better yields without wasting any of your already optimized lighting setups.
When you finally decide to bite the bullet and start your indoor cannabis cultivation, you will have to determine your top priority. For example, when growing, do you care about your energy bills, the environment, secrecy, or efficiency?
If discretion is the look you are going for, LED grow lights are the likeliest options. However, after efficiency, HID is probably the best grow light for cannabis available. That is, as long as you don't mind the hefty electricity bill.
As always, different options work best, and it might take time to find the right solutions; be sure to pick the lighting that is right for you and your home and work to its advantage. Then, once you have narrowed down the right light for your needs, you can start growing your closer cannabis soon after that!