As the marijuana industry grows, indoor grow lighting setups are also improving. Currently, the main changes we see are a huge shift from growers preferring LED grow lights over HPS lights because, thanks to today’s superior technology, they can improve your marijuana plants’ yield. They can also increase the overall quality and efficiency of your entire operation.
If you would like to start planning your setup, we have compiled a list of the six best ways to maximize your LED grow lights:
1. Changes in temperature
If you have recently switched from an HID lighting setup to an LED setup, then there will be a sudden shift in the temperature of the area where you grow marijuana. Many growers depend on the heat that comes from HID lights, which is why moving to LEDs can cause this surprising drop in temperature. LEDs save energy and don’t release heat in the same way. Therefore, keep an eye on the temperature, and adjust it as necessary when you change the lighting.
2. Adjust your watering habits
When you switch to an LED light setup, there is a good chance you will need to change some of your practices as well. One of these habits is your watering. Because HID lights generate heat and even dry out the soil and plants more because of their infrared light, if you watered your plants in the exact same way with an LED setup then you would likely be over watering them. LED lights simply don’t have the same effect on your plants as HIDs so you will need to make sure to pay special attention to your watering habits.
3. Use more than one LED unit
The most efficient lighting setups with LED lights have more than one LED unit. This lets the beams overlap, and the entire space be evenly covered. Don’t be tempted by the “divide and conquer” mentality, which would have you cluster your plants under one LED light each, as that is not as efficient.
4. Pay attention to the mounting height
Don’t short change yourself during the initial setup process of your new LED lighting system. If you rush and don’t take the time to perfectly mount your lights, then you won’t have the best results later. Generally speaking, your LED lights should be installed to spread their light evenly and deeply. It shouldn’t just hit the surface of the canopy of your plants, it should also penetrate deep into the branches and foliage. This can be achieved by lowering the LED lights. If they are too high, they will reach more plants, but it will be at a lower intensity. If too low, they could cause stress to your plants. Use trial and error as well as the manufacturer’s instructions, to figure out the best height for mounting your LEDs.
To truly maximize your LED lighting setup, you should have a proper understanding of marijuana and life cycles. You can change the amount of light periods and dark periods according to the “season” you want your plants to be experiencing. Don’t forget to use blackout curtains to help with the necessary periods of uninterrupted darkness. These, along with your lights, can be set to an automated system to ensure the lights are consistent and calculated.
Generally speaking, growers opt to have 18 hours of light, and 6 hours of dark during the vegetation stage. And 12 hours of light, and 12 hours of dark to begin the flowering phase. When in doubt, use these light cycles for best results.
6. Use the full spectrum
Not only can you manipulate the time your plants are exposed to the LED lights, but you can also manipulate what they are exposed to as well. In other words, you can change around the different spectrums (far-red, red, white, and blue) to hit your plants during strategic points in their life cycles. If you study deeply enough, you can learn how to shorten the flowering period, and do other useful things by changing certain habits of your plants.