When grown indoors, cannabis plants need a lot of light, which is the most important feature compared to other plants. “A lot” means: in order for a plant to exploit its full genetic potential, more light is needed than is available in many parts of the northern hemisphere. In the UK, for example, both the light intensity and the light duration are lower than in southern Spain or Morocco. That’s why cannabis plants thrive much better there. Indoor growers therefore often prefer growing weed with LED lights.
The advantages of LEDs in cannabis cultivation
The number of cannabis growers keeps increasing, the quality of plants has never been better than before, so the trend has turned away from HPS lights in favour of LEDs. So what are the advantages?
First of all, the energy savings are enormous. If you use an LED grow lamp for the same purposes as an HPS lamp, you can save about 40 percent of the energy consumption with the LED light. LEDs also last much longer than other light sources. You can expect between 50,000 and 60,000 operating hours for an LED lamp, compared to 2,000 to 3,000 hours with an HPS light. This is because LED lights have no filament to glow.
For many years, LED grow lights resulted in the same yields as their high-pressure sodium counterparts but technology has considerably advanced in the last few years. The advantage of LEDs is that they operate at a much lower temperature, consuming less than half the electricity and giving more control over the plants. With LED lights, cannabis plants grown indoors will have a wonderful fragrance and exceptional flavour. The most efficient LED lights reduce power consumption by 60 percent.
LED grow lamps take up less space, shine faster, are more durable and more impact-resistant than HPS lamps. They also have much less heat generation, reducing the need to keep your grow room fresh, which significantly reduces the risk of fire. HPS grow lamps get very hot, but high-quality LED lamps still feel cool even after several hours of use.
LED grow lamps focus the light with lenses so that fewer reflectors are needed as with NDL grow lamps, which scatter the light without focusing and therefore require external focusing. HPS lamps require approx. 100 to 150 watts more power than LED bulbs because power management is integrated into the LED lamps. HPS lamps require external ballasts which also require electricity and thus increase consumption.
In contrast to HPS lamps, which take a while to warm up before they light up completely, LED lamps switch on and off immediately. LED grow lamps can even be easily dimmed. LED lamps classified as Class 1 are considered safer plant light. This is also because they do not contain mercury like some other lamps, such as compact fluorescent lamps.
LEDs also have the ability to deter pests and bacteria.
6. Disadvantages of LED lights
Although the light spectrum of new LED grow lamps is very well suited for the entire life cycle of a cannabis plant, certain NDL lamps are still somewhat better. However, this difference is no longer large and is therefore negligible for most growers. There are huge advantages to growing with LEDs over high-pressure HPS sodium bulbs, fluorescents and plasma lamps. LEDs work very well, use little electricity and produce healthier plants with great taste and aroma.
Of course there are also disadvantages associated with the use of LED. When using LED grow lamps, precise management is required. In addition, LED lamps have higher purchase costs. Apart from that, they are cheaper over a longer period.
Invest in LED lighting for growing cannabis
After selecting the marijuana seeds for your grow, lighting is the next important component of indoor growing. Investing in high-end G8 LED type lamps will pay dividends in the years to follow. You will be able to save money and enjoy impressive crops.
It’s not surprising that LED grow lights are predicted to become increasingly important to indoor weed growers.
Photosynthetic Photon Flux (PPF)
The PAR value describes the flux of photosynthetic photons, measured in micromoles (μmoles) per square metre per second. Photosynthesis is the natural process by which plants use light to synthesize food from carbon dioxide and water, leading to plant growth.
The number of photons of light sets the photosynthetic photon flux. Natural sunlight, for example, has a PAR value of 1200-1600 micromoles (μmoles) when the sun is directly overhead.
Efficient grow lights will have PAR values that range between 800 and 1600 μmol. Using lighting with higher PAR values can be counterproductive and cause stunted plant growth. The G8LED 600 Watt Veg / Flower lamp has a PAR value of 1480μmoles
LEDs that use most of the light spectrum
As the use of LEDs is aimed at reducing energy consumption, it is beneficial to grow weed with an ultra efficient grow light that optimises photosynthesis.
The best quality LED grow lights utilise six to nine varying wavelengths of the light spectrum. If there are fewer than six wavelengths, the light will not be sufficient for robust and healthy growth.
If there are over nine wavelengths, the light is comparatively inefficient as it emits parts of the light spectrum that plants don’t require —this waste leads to lower yields and excess heat.
LEDs emit ultraviolet light, which traditional bulbs do not. LED lights that emit ultraviolet light have the extra benefit of encouraging the formation of resin and also help repel pests in the grow tent. Cultivating weed with a grow light that has UV diodes will increase your grow volume.