Hydroponic Gardening – HID lighting

Hydroponic gardeners often find it necessary to supplement the available light in their growing area.  This is especially true when the growing area is inside the home.  Greenhouses offer more light, but this is not always enough to produce healthy fruits, vegetables or flowers.  Grow lights take care of this need for added light.  It can be difficult for hydroponic gardeners to decide between the many options available in the way of grow lights.  Let’s explore HID lights here and see what they have to offer.

The letters HID stands for “high intensity discharge”.  These lights operate with a properly matched transformer, capacitor and lamp, which consist of an inner arc tube possessing a chemical mixture.  Working together, these elements help provide a very long-lasting grow light for any hydroponic garden.  There are two kinds of HID lights that I’d like to talk about today.  These are sodium and metal halide.  These two offer different benefits to the hydroponic gardener.

Metal halide HID lights emit a wider spectrum of light and include more of the blue and violet rays needed by plants that do not get enough sunlight.  These lights are most useful during the vegetative stage of growth.  Plants grown under metal halide HID lights tend to grow shorter and stockier, this makes for a stronger plant.  Metal halide lights are also used more frequently in foliage-only growing.  An added advantage of the wider light spectrum is that gardeners growing crops such as flowers are more likely to use metal halide lights because the resulting colors of the flowers appear more natural in the less harsh light.

Sodium HID lights emit more red, orange and yellow rays, which, when used alone can cause plants to grow tall and spindly.  These lights are used mainly when there is enough natural sunlight present to produce the necessary blue and violet rays needed by plants.  Many hydroponic gardeners do prefer sodium lamps to metal halide because sodium lights are more energy efficient and often last longer.

Many growers use Metal Halide (MH) for vegetative growth, and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) for budding and flowering. Only rich growers can afford to run the two systems with their own shades and ballasts, independently. Most growers use conversion bulbs, which very conveniently use the corresponding system’s fixtures. So if you have a Metal Halide system, use it for vegging, then put in HPS conversion bulbs into the same system, for flowering.

What often works best in regards to healthier fruits, vegetables and flowers is to use some combination of metal halide and sodium HID lights.  The combination provides adequate amounts of both red and blue spectrum colors, both of which are needed for healthy plant growth.  Using a combination of the two will provide your hydroponic garden with the best that both have to over. This will translate into healthier plants and a more productive growing season.

Lights alone won’t guarantee bumper crops, but work in conjunction with factors such as temperature and nutrition.  With this in mind, you should check out the seven best-kept secrets of hydroponics and subscribe to the Advanced Nutrients newsletter at http://www.advancednutrients.com/newsletter/. Advanced Nutrients is the world’s foremost supplier of hydroponic nutrients to discriminating growers everywhere.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    cultiv8 said,

    Like you said, having both HPS and MH is ideal but pricey. That’s one of the ways the LED lights you mentioned beat the HIDs – they usually mix blue and red LEDs into each panel in just the right combinations to maximize plant growth.

    No muss, no fuss, no worrying about conversion bulbs or ballasts. One light to grow them all!

  2. 2

    Hydroponic gardening is a good thing and it can also produce healthy vegetables and fruits in the same way. though the light is the only source of they’re growing but I think it’s totally awesome to have a gardening like this way. Thanks for the post!

  3. 3

    I cant believe it would be possible to have a healthy garden without the sunlight but with hydroponic gardening is very much possible,because of its high intensity discharge that allow/supplement your garden a nutrients.very awesome thanks for the one who created this kind of amazing idea!

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