With marijuana legalization on the ballot this year, plenty of folks are starting to get curious about the process of growing, and what that entails financially, as well as what types of equipment will be needed. Are you using the right marijuana grow lights? Do you need different lights for different stages of growth? What’s the best light for growing weed? Where can you pick these babies up? Here’s a bit of information regarding the stages of cannabis growth, and which marijuana grow lights will suit each stage’s needs the best. Check it out:
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A Quick Note
First and foremost, always be sure to follow and obey the cultivation laws in your state. While growing weed is fun and relaxing, it’ll be a little less relaxing when they confiscate your herb. Be smart, and be patient! Legalization is coming soon for just about everyone.
The Stages of Marijuana Growth
There are two main stages of marijuana growth: vegetative, and flowering. Veg and flowering both have wildly different needs in regards to light, due mostly to the fact that cannabis does best outdoors. The cannabis growing season starts in February and ends in the fall. The best indoor yields are produced by growers that focus on emulating the natural light cycle that is embedded into the genetic code of the cannabis plant.
There are 4 key growth stages overall, with mildly differing light requirements.
Germination – The germination stage requires no special grow lights. In fact, it’s best to germinate in a dark place.
The Seedling Stage – This is when the seeds have sprouted and have been transplanted. They are receiving light, and loving every moment of it! This is part of the vegetative stage, which does best having a light running for 16-20 hours in a 24-hour period.
Veg – The Veg stage is where the plants begin to grow their leaves and branches as well as spread out.
Pre-Flowering – This stage is where your plants will show their sex. They still need 16-20 hours of light per day
Flowering – Flowering is the longest and most satisfying stage of a plant’s life. The plants will start to produce flowers. They need a nice autumn light cycle, at 12 hours on, 12 hours off. This jump starts the plant’s flowering stage, and she will start producing buds quickly to prepare for death.
It’s of the utmost importance to keep these stages and their light requirements in mind when picking out your grow setup. Lights can make or break your grow, and it’s important to have the right marijuana grow lights at each stage to produce the best results.
Types of Lights
There are three main types of marijuana grow lights, and the best light for growing weed comes down to your time, space, budget, and energy needs.
The three types are fluorescents, LEDs, and High Intensity Discharge lights (HID)
- CFLs (Compact fluorescent lights): These are the energy efficient bulbs you probably use at home. They’re twisty, and they stay relatively cool. They’re great for veg rooms for this reason.
- T5 Lights and other tubes: You can find these puppies at almost every garden supply store. They’re super cheap and energy efficient, the light spectrum is great for vegging plants, and they’re nice and compact if you don’t have much space
- Metal Halide (MH): Typically used during the veg stage since the bulb produces a blueish light that baby weed plants crave. All HIDs get hot, so ventilation is a must and if space is a concern these may not be right for you
- High-Pressure Sodium (HPS): Perfect for the flowering stage since the yellow light reminds the plants of the autumn sun and jump starts their flower production. These lights are energy hogs, but the amount of bud they produce vs the wattage is always worth it.
- Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH): A weird MH light, CMH lights use ceramic as a main part of the light bulb like an HPS light. They are more efficient than MH lights but not as efficient as HPS lights.
- LEDs are an alternative to HPS lights since they’re smaller, run much cooler, and are easier to set up. They can also be used throughout the life cycle of the cannabis plants.
- It’s a rumor in the industry that sticky bud is grown with LEDs.
The Best Lights for Growing Weed:
If your plants are getting the right light spectrum at the right stage of their life, you can’t go wrong. There have been some very successful grows in the industry lately where they used both LEDs and HPS lights to give the plants the full spectrum. These grows have produced record amounts, but further study is still needed to prove or disprove this theory.
Despite popular opinion, you can grow marijuana with fluorescent lights from beginning to end. They will grow just as well, but your yield will suffer a small bit.
The type of marijuana grow light you choose matters very little compared to how much light you’re giving the plants at each growth cycle stage.
- These are the best fluorescents, since the warranty is great, and even with constant use for months at a time, the ballast doesn’t go bad. After over a year of punishment, the ballast in my 48″ started to go bad, and they repaired it free of charge.
- These are the best HID lights. IF your bulb breaks, they will replace it. It’s lasted me a very long time.
- These are the best LED lights. I haven’t used them personally, but I’ve heard great things!
Phew, that’s a lot of information to digest! There are so many options out there for marijuana grow lights, and it can be scary to dive into it without doing your research. Your light cycle matters just as much as your spectrum, and really, any light will produce beautiful flowers that you got to grow yourself. That’s something to be proud of, no matter what situation you may be in financially!
by Nicole Flanigan